Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Generation Y bother:

Our generation is fucked. Really, we are. Our generation being Y. Let me explain. Generation X riled against growing up with grunge and slackerdom. They made being nothing into something to be. The iGeneration is at the other end of the spectrum; these kids know who they are. Artistic persuasion is no longer for slackers, it is a viable career path that one can realistically make money from, make a life out of. There is no shame in deciding to write or blog in your spare time, study fashion, study film, become a part of a performing arts troupe. Or going on reality TV. In fact the things that were once considered the hallmark of the slacker, the 'zine or the band, are now not only the norm, but almost required to matter. Everyone blogs, everyone makes music on their Mac and shoves it onto Myspace, everyone has an opinion and everyone let's you know on youtube. There's never been a better time to be you, as long as you are good at being you.

Problem is though, for those just on the cusp of either end, we're conflicted, we're guilty, our confidence is shot to bits and we keep oscillating between going for it and holding back. The constant outsiders. For the duration of our late teens and early 20's we were told to work hard, be sensible, rile against our artistic notions and get a degree, because there is no way to get ahead in life without one. Anything else makes you a slacker. But we come out the other side, where the kids behind us are so confident and self aware, who already know not only what they want to do, but that they can do it. They don't need no convincing. They have access to the same entitlement rich kids and Americans have, simply from being born when they were, where regardless of wealth (for the most part) everything was available. I'm from a four TV channel house, a no mobile until you're 16 house, an an-hour-on-the-internet-at-the-weekend house and still sometimes I feel disabled by access. That now it is all around me, I can't feel the urgency anymore - getting to surf the web at my friends house for a night! The hectic printing off of websites as my two hours on a Sunday raced towards its close. By the same token, the most rebelling I ever did was making a point of going to a school and college where I could study Drama, but I'm still at odds as to how I fit this into my life and not be a big fat failure.

No one wants to grow up, and before you had to pick a side. But now the the game has changed. Tying not wanting to grow up with not wanting to be a failure. You can see it being done. It's funny now I get to saying that, I start to realise how the two feelings could be mutually beneficial. I'm starting to think about a pattern among people I know.  The girl who taught me all about drugs, she got her head down, she's working in a nice, warm European country, teaching kids Spanish, but when I spoke to her the other day on Skype, she was on her morning spliff and it seemed as though she was doing the same as always, except rather than snaking it into her life, the two things were united. I have a friend who has just completed her history degree and jumped into the second year of a fashion course. Another is speeding towards a music career, after five years of struggling through an education system that favoured those who were willing to tongue it's arsehole. And I'm the same- a faggoty art queer who was just totally overwhelmed by trying to fit the circle of peers that I ended up totally lost - these people I went to college with were hard workers, they were sociable. I think those are two things that I excel at, and yet I was so repelled by their attitude. To be me, who at the beginning was naturally inclined to push the envelope, and to not find kinship should have pushed me to do it on my own, but it didn't. It paralysed me. Made creativity a chore. And now I need to recover.

Even writing this blog post, something I did for years until the last two left me cold, was a chore, but I'm coming to relaise you have to push. That the go getters get becuase they go and get, and they are tough competition. For me to want to push boundaries takes ten times as much effort as it does for my ex class mates to succeed. Because if I don't do that I'm not succeeding. And the thing is, if I was pushing boundaries, and working hard and feeling switched on, I wouldn't feel as old as I do. I would not be growing up. I'd be growing out, and that's the goal really. When I was 10 years old I thought everyone had a kid at the age of 30. and that all mothers were the same age as mine, and they all cut their hair when they got married. Now I am shagging 30 year olds, and some of them aren't even married. Redefining the idea of what a successful, driven adult is, in my own head, is something that I need to do, and something that many people I know seem to be doing. For those who have been failed by the education system, where they have felt backed into a degree or haven't found a college that can support or nurture them, the process of rediscovering your love begins again. I'm glad I'm not the entitled kids who are only figuring out that their chosen paths may not lead where they presumed, be that because of the profession or the recession. Education already knocked that out of me, so here I am, starting from scratch, with an overly serious first post on my blog, realising that it will take a lot before I am good at it again. But at least it's the first step. So says Rumi or someone, I'm sure. Doink.

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