I know it. You know it. Scantily-clad, beer-soaked witches know it.
We are boring.
I discovered the truth this weekend, during the annual San Luis Slutty Nurse/Schoolgirl Convention – I mean, Halloween. During one party, deep into the spirit of All Hallow’s Eve and Pabst Blue Ribbon, I stumbled into the following conversation:
Glittery Witch 1: I’m so glad we’re partying together. It seems like we never see each other anymore.
Glittery Witch 2 (hugs GW1): I know. I can’t believe we’re graduating.
GW1: We work so hard.
GW2 (nods with ferocity): Soooo hard.
GW1: I don’t think we should. We’re not enjoying our youth, you know? We shouldn’t worry about success. We should have fun while we can.
GW2 (swigs entire contents of red cup): Totally. Like, why do I want a big job right now? It’s so stupid. I’ll never have fun if I’m working all the time.
GW1 (with brief, inexplicable Jamaican accent): Yahhhh, we should take it easy. Other people do. They have more fun.
Slight wording may have been altered (due to the author’s insobriety), but the conversation went as such. It was kind of charming – a chat so evangelistic and earnest could only be exchanged by college students, and only after visiting the bottom of a keg.
But more than being a soiree anecdote, that talk encapsulates a widespread idea in our generation today: that the world will wait for us. The attitude goes that work will be around forever, so we shouldn’t jump into its bleak beginnings – while we’re beautiful with all our teeth, the party doesn’t have to stop. Forty is the new 30, after all. Conversely, 16 is the new skanky 25. Why rush to finish college, get an entry-level job and crappy apartment, and start the slow ascension up the ladder?
“Cosmopolitan” magazine recognized this youth phenomenon last month, in its classily-titled article “What the Hell Is Happening with Guys?” It asked why our boys are directionless, lazy and eagerly moving back with Mom. But it’s not just the men; I have smart, beautiful friends who are graduated and aimless, floating along with dependent relationships and depleted ATM accounts. You have friends like this too, who sit and dream of their futures instead of attacking them from the ground floor. (Or they spend afternoons as I do, drifting hazily through M&Ms and whole seasons of “Sex and the City.”)
This lack of ambition is really what makes our generation totally uninspiring and really, really dull. Blame it on the sit-and-score computer mentality, blame it on George W. Bush, blame it on your dog, whatever, but this procrastination is chipping away at the years when we’re most vital and poised for real revolution. Think it’s a coincidence that the radical 60s were dominated by folk and rock, and the freebird 70s by punk? And that many of the most influential artists of the genres were 20-something kids, fighting hard to be heard? Or that the greatest protestors were yelling from their college campuses? We don’t have a clear voice rallying us to an uprising – no united front. We even only have a half-assed anti-war effort, despite the multitude of reasons for our demographic to be really mad.
Being young means being idealistic – it’s seeing what we dislike about the world, and offering solutions in unaffected optimism. But it seems no one is affected enough, riled enough, to move past a complacent dissatisfaction. I say it’s time to get bored with being bored.
That same “Cosmo” article theorized that we current seat-cushion savants will morph into ambitious but laid-back hybrids by 2015 (how they derived this date, I don’t know). By then, most of us will have left our 20s and entered the pleasant neuroses of our 30s – and by then, we’ll have lost that whole daunting decade of our lives, and all the riotous accompanying emotions that make for restless dissatisfaction. And when we feel that is when we are most frantic, and genuine, to change our surroundings and tap that passionate idealism.
Maybe this time will come when we start following our instincts and place confidence in our grand ambitions, because we’re not on a defined schedule, and it feels late already. So if we see we want to change, the biggest obstacle is apathy, as well as the idea that we can enter the race at the glamorous finish line. We can’t, and wanting the instant gratification we’re used to only makes us tediously immobile. The Glittery Witches may have made an argument for easy fun, but that won’t make our 20s an inspiring place of action, and it won’t make us the type of people who are impossible to deny.
Let’s take a page from the past and get going now. Hey, you say you want a revolution, but we all want to change your head; I’d rather believe that our hearts and minds are in the right place, and there’s a whole world waiting for what we’ve kept inside. So let’s start planning today, moving today and stop being a generation that reaches out with its eyes wide shut.
Stacey Anderson is a journalism and music senior and a KCPR Dj. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.