Generations Seeking

lonely

When I look around at my peers, I see a great deal of confusion, insecurity, instability, and/or non-commitment. I first thought that this had to do with comparitive opportunities: where our parents might have had relatively few choices regarding what they might do with their lives (limited by finances, education, family, etc.), my generation(s) seem to have fewer, if any, barriers. Education is relatively easily accessible and affordable, the Internet makes information pervasive and instantly available, and the cost of learning continues to decline.

I began to think that, if we are unable to decide what we want to do with our lives, it isn’t because we don’t have the opportunity to do what we like. Rather, it’s because we see and experience so much we enjoy that we can’t settle on what we want to do. Despite this initial conclusion, however, it didn’t seem to fit. We could do a little of everything, or settle on something, and enjoy our lives, but I don’t see a lot of people who are satisfied. Rather, most everyone I know continues to yearn for something else, usually something indefinable.

While conversing with April about this topic, we came upon an interesting thought. Our parent’s generation (labeled as the Baby Boomers, from which both Generations X and Y really sprung) were a group of independent, centralized small families. Following World War II and especially the Vietnam War and subsequent political fallout, there was a move away from the larger community, with a greater a focus indoors on the household, on the family, and on isolationism.

I believe that growing up in this setting has instilled in our generation a deep and abiding desire for community that we might neither understand nor acknowledge. We know that we are unsatisfied, that we want something more, but we’re not finding it in money, materialistic goods, education, careers, etc. We want a family, but we want more than the nuclear family of our parents.

For a lot of people, though, I think that desire has been associated with negative experiences from our childhoods to the extent that people are hesitant to seek out the community they desire. A dislike of “organized religion,” or organized-anything for that matter, leaves people in a place where they cannot get the satisfaction and help they need. And so people remain unsatisfied, frozen, and insecure.

And if one isn’t put-off by an organized group (and let’s face it, someone has to bring people together for there to be a community; there has to be a core before anything else can form), their hesitance tends to come from other insecurities. We become afraid to invest in people because either we might leave or they might. College-age students in particular struggle with this, because their time in any location is limited: once they graduate, get a job, etc., they’re gone and those relationships are left behind.

Or, in perhaps the most self-destructive state, we do not seek out community because we feel selfish doing so. We don’t feel like we’re worthy of friendship, or we feel like we’re imposing on others by seeking them out. We are hurt by our loneliness, and then hurt ourselves further because we cannot trust others to help. We do not seek help and so degenerate into self-imposed isolation and depression.

Those of us who are secure, and have found our communities, have an obligation to reach out to others and alleviate their loneliness. Some people might not know what they are seeking, but they will know when they have found it. All we have to do is welcome them with love and the rest will take care of itself.

Image by: mrjamin

Until then…

I spent the evening playing around and getting nothing much accomplished, though I have about 20-25 hours worth of writing to get done in the next week and a half just for the current project I’m working on, let alone the other billion or so I have the desire to be doing. And tonight, just as I was going to sit down and write a blog entry that has been on my mind for a few days, April called, which takes first priority.

As you may or may not know, she is currently in New Orleans on a mission trip with our college group, and things have been somewhat lonely here. Also, I often get busy and forget paltry things like food when she’s not here to set plates of edibles in front of me, so my entire schedule is off. Suffice it to say that, without her here to bounce ideas off of and talk to, I feel like a large part of me is missing, making accomplishing anything a bit more taxing.

Ironically, she’s often a distraction when she is here. I think I’m doomed to a life of procrastination.

April will be home on Friday (which I managed to get off work o/  ), and I would not be surprised if we go to the new library Saturday evening to hang out and read/write. I’m really excited about my next piece, and I need to spend a lot of time thinking and developing the two that will follow it.

Once I get these seven introductory, campaign setting stories done, I can start expanding on each one in turn and writing more about the cultures and the world. It frustrates me how incomplete and inadequate my current work is, but I only have so much time. In a way, though, my frustration is greatly encouraging to me. It means that my primary desire is to be doing the work, and to see it done well. My feelings reaffirm the ideal that I want to write, rather than to have written, and it makes me feel good to have finally reached that stage after so many years of writing with the goal of having (past tense) created something decent; I just wanted to be able to look back and say “I did that.” Now, I want to develop and dream and craft. What remains is to find the time and right combination of circumstances and environment that is most conducive to my actually being productive…

Speaking of combinations, something I discovered tonight: Grey Goose + Double Stuf Oreos. Just trust me on this one and try it. Not mixed together, mind you… but drink it over ice and be eating Oreos at the same time. You’ll thank me.

The Mudhouse

Clear cups stacked at the edge of the counter
are untouched, though caressed by every gaze.
Interlocking within an inch of copulation,
they reflect waves of I’ll do anything for you
from the unseen speakers.

While dehydration consumes their purpose,
the counter is cleared. The cups remain,
turned over as dust settles
on their surface.