Generation 911 - Thank You and Goodnight by Asia Moore
I’m about to turn 20. As far as my young eyes have seen, the days have gone by with a manic crescendo. Not to say that I didn’t use my days with care, but that’s not the point. Point is, I’m feeling sentimental.
It has come to my attention that some elders in the larger world view me as an apathetic observer of issues they deem important enough to worry about. They’re right. But being as both rebellion and patriotism have become fashionable, the question becomes, who’s right? In either context, we are all parading around wearing our suits of difference (or in my case, indifference), organized (yes, even those who won’t admit it) into groups and cliques, and yes, there’s always someone to exclude. We’ve all done it, and I think that’s sad.
Personally, I’m kinda tired of people getting on my case to care about things that I don’t care about. If they care more about what I don’t care about than what I do care about, why should I care? It just seems weird.
It’s hard to commit to more than one circuit of thinking at a time, yet I do try. Because what’s the point of being just one way, when there’s more than one way? I’m done with people being really adamant about one thing, missing the whole thing. So I try to see both sides. But at this age in my life, 20, when things should be so easy, or at least all figured out (as though the manic teenage trip is over), I find myself both fighting against and breathing in responsibility and control. It’s a fleeting notion, it won’t last forever, but this struggle against the actual thing that I am doing works for the time being, I guess.
It’s hard because sometimes I just want to act my age. But when I do so, I get criticized for ‘acting like a teenager.’ Where’s the justice, where’s the slack? I am no grown up just yet, thank you.
A friend of mine told me once that the days are getting longer and the years shorter. I am finding this to be true. Odd to watch myself change ideas and thought processes like I change socks on a rainy day. Of course, I have my underlying principles and beliefs that rarely stray from course through out the years. But I’m slowly finding that I am not even taking these core pieces as seriously as I once did, and I blame the conditioning of my generation, the pressure to “grow up” (in not necessarily good ways) for it.
Why, you may ask. Simple, because kids are losing their childhood abilities to stay free from this “growing up” starting at earlier and earlier ages. Allowing the criticism of modern culture to really get under their skin. Kids’ dreams and hopes have been marginalized, and their own ideas of real beauty cheapened by patriotic pop culture, advertising, and classroom regimes, i.e. those forces that mold young people into the cookie-cutter “normal” in our crazy society. What’s so great about lost childhoods? I realize that I am speaking only one side of the spectrum. The rebels on the other side can be just as brutal but in a different way. We still find ways to exclude people based on perceived differences, as if being different is a form of being better. Or worse, depending on your point of view. Rebellious forms of pop culture include Black Metal—but if you don’t know about certain bands, then you’re not with it. Or the punk rock scene—but if you don’t have the half-foot Mohawk and the perfectly studded vest, you’re a poser. Or if you’re a crusty kid but you haven’t hopped trains, then you’re not true crusty.
Give me a break.
So, I’m about to turn 20, and all this is going through my head. And all the days and years I’ve spent worrying about things and social dilemmas have gone by, giving me some insight but no real outcome. It didn’t get me anywhere doing all that worrying about it.
It’s all temporary, all the time.
Impermanent to be exact.
But still I find reasons to grasp for that last bit of childhood hope, that ability to just exist, without being hassled for it. Without being pressured to start caring about things that I don’t care about.
Sometimes it’s really hard to summon that last morsel of courage to get out of bed in the morning, and it’s not because of lack of sleep or a hangover. It’s because I’m sentimental, for that childhood excitement for life that I’m afraid I won’t be able to get back again.
Asia Kindred Moore currently works and lives at Breitenbush Hot Springs. She can be reached at [email protected].