We (Generation X) are informed by different messages than most. Our parents were content to explain religion and also Donahue. We were as likely to listen to Michael Jackson as Metallica. Our “playlist”, which was found in a big case containing cassette tapes, might include Prince and Madonna, Ozzy and Dio, Queen and Led Zeppelin, or Depeche Mode and The Cars. We carried around Run D.M.C. and N.W.A. in the same car as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, David Bowie, and Van Halen. We heard U2 sing of one man coming in the name of love, Rush sing of today’s Tom Sawyer, while AC/DC celebrate Hell’s Bells. Our parents worried that Motley Crue worshiped the Devil and The Cure fell in love on a Friday.
Our high schools had Hoods, Preps, Hippies, Pre-Goths, Jocks, and outcasts, but mostly, just kids figuring out how they fit in to a world they had not seen. For the most part, we all moved through these circles with ease. We went to churches because our parents went to churches. We had to balance the racism of our grandparents with the hope we saw in our parents inclusiveness. Our educators had just come through the beginning of the Aquarian age and the birth of the ideology of free love.
Please understand… gaming systems were just coming on the scene in our childhood. We watched as cell phones were huge, then small, and now growing again. Radio was dying and MTV was beginning to emerge. We began watching our music. Synthesizers were being used in heavy metal music. Our middle school dances included songs like, “Stroke Me”, “When the Bullet Hits The Bone”, and other hits that some teacher may not have understood.
Television began offering more choice, but The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Solid Gold were coveted in my house. Movies were silly and patrons did not demand such high brow graphics and CGI. We heard stories of Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman. There was no social media and no Google. We are admittedly slow, even now, to catch on to what these might be used for in a real way.
Our epidemic was HIV/AIDS and our response was fear also. Wars were both cold and those fought in the Persian Gulf. Our presidents included an old movie star, a peanut farmer, a Texan turned philosopher, a boomer who fancied himself a hippie. We struggled to accept LGBT and participation trophies before they were hot button topics. We heard about equality and wondered what it meant. A college education was the ticket to a job that lasted a lifetime.
All of this to say… we are as screwed up as anyone. What I know is this. We are all screwed up. Generations blame other generations. People love labels. So here I sit, before sunrise, offering some words, that may or may not help. Before I wax philosophically, please let me say… any number of songs will contain as much or more truth than I have to offer.
Quit With the Labels
Nobody likes it. Everybody does it. I do not blame the average person, but all of this “generation this” or “generation that” all started when companies got serious about market research. If you find a trend and want to market a product based on what you find, do it. If you want to find out how to engage an employee, spend more time talking to that employee, rather than reading a book on how to reach people in a certain age group. And if you have been labeled… offer a loving thought, or even a middle finger, and keep moving on.
Quit With the Fear Mongering
The world is scary enough without using fear to get attention. Sometimes I see the media, in all forms, as some crying infant, only satisfied by its mother retrieving a bottle… not the bottle itself. Changing the world is important, but if we do it with fear, only the fear will remain. In my very Gen X way, I most always want to ask… “what the hell, Karen?”
Quit With the Constant Drive
Everyone is driven constantly to change something. Whether it is always wanting more, more, more, or whether it is criticizing corporations, governments, friends, family, businesses, religions, the media, just quit. Just for a minute or two a day. There is no good way to say this and it be fun… most of what you are receiving is what you have created. Most of the despair you see is a result of what you decided to focus on. Yes, we need help. Yes, there are people who will help. I happen to be one. Perhaps we take a nap instead of drinking some high priced energy drink.
Quit With the Quitting
In a moment, I will follow my own advice. The three previous pieces of advice are not what I like to do. Anyone can advise to quit this or that, but what about the offering of solutions? Better still, what about a discussion that leads others in the discovery of their own solution? What about coaching others to make them better at co-creating with the universe instead of making them dependent on co-creating with a coach? And if you cannot quit this or that habit… just enjoy whatever that habit is for a time until you are better able. Sometimes self-improvement is the addiction from which we need to be free.
What We Can Do
Give ourselves and others a break. Be the grace you need. Take care of each other. Be just a little more patient and kind. If you must look for God, start by asking what it is inside you that creates such a desire… you will likely find what you seek there. Be industrious, productive, abundant, and enjoy luxuries, but also help someone, in some way, every day. Understand that how many years you have been around, are not enough years to be an expert on anything. We are all beginners every day.
I am just some dude with a keyboard and a permanent marker. I am just some dude… trying. All that I can offer is my experience.
That experience is filled rubbing up against some girl on a church bus while listening to Prince sing about wild horses running free. Also, it is filled with offering others religious teachings while I struggled with what sense it made that Sundays were the most segregated days in a nation that claimed to be diverse. I still like Ozzy and Dio… but I also like Paramahans Yogananda. I enjoy searching for God, but I also like throwing a football with a thirteen year-old boy. My days are as likely to be filled with appreciating the beauty of the bloom on a random flower as they are analyzing markets and determining how to increase revenue. I have never been perfect… but perhaps perfection is not what is required.
Think the Good Thoughts
Enjoy anything. Be positive. It makes a difference. Before you have any opinion on the life of anyone else, make sure you are correct in your assumptions about yourself (you will never have another opinion on the life of anyone). If, as they say, your glass is half full, do as they also say, and get a smaller glass for now, and quit moaning about what your glass looks like. There are many more glasses for you to fill. You are as timeless as the ages, for the ages have only, like you, existed one day at a time.
I am for you. If you need help, use the contact form. If you need some quick encouragement, visit our Facebook page. It is filled with drawings and positive thoughts. We will figure all of this out… together. Whether we know it or not. We will figure it out together.
If you want to spread peace and love and light through art… check out our prints on a variety of commonly used items here.