Twelve 20-somethings chronicle their lives for WBUR. Learn more.
What about that thing — “the future”?
In five years, I see myself in some position of political activism. Having just gone through an election, that idea may seem like the idea of moon aliens attacking: really, really dumb. But, I see myself doing something beneficial, and something worthwhile, in political activism.
Maybe that means redefining the idea of lobbying, or even of being an activist, or undoing the damage done by Super PACs. For now, I want to focus on my education and on learning about how political marketing works. Most people I talk to about this either have an emotional response or they ask if that stuff is even legal (yes, it is). To me, that all says that people don’t know how a substantial part of our political process works, and the actual impact is has on society. That’s what motivates me to try and do something about that.
In ten years? Who knows. If I’m successful in that first five years, maybe I could keep at it, work in some elections. That all depends on how life goes, but the absolute dream that I have for where I would like to be is the owner of an independent tea room, not a coffee shop, but a tea room in some smaller city where people can escape from the broader, louder world. I’ve been playing with the idea of running my own small-scale tea business for over a year now, but life keeps getting in the way.
And about that whole life thing. I have no idea if I want to get married or if I want children. I have no
idea if I aspire to the standard ideal of a successful adult with a glorified home in a glorified suburb with a glorified school and a glorified sense of self-entitlement that, from my perspective, has done more
damage to this society than anything you hear from a single politician.
I don’t want a life of privilege or entitlement. I would prefer to help other people and use any success — if I ever get any success — to help even more people.
I know this all sounds confusing. I literally do not know if I want to be a glorious success with wealth and privilege or a little hermit in a tea room with a book and a cup of tea — or is that the glorious success? A time frame is difficult, since it’s all heavily dependent on more education, more experience, more time with the right people in the right circumstances. It’s a complicated task to predict the future.
For now, I’ll try not to be disappointed, or optimistic, about a future that I can’t see yet.
Every generation talks about how they live in the end-times for their society. Every pundit talks about the fall of U.S. hegemony or the “rise of the rest.” Either way, everyone agrees that us twenty-somethings won’t have the same quality of life as our parents. I feel like we can have a bit more say than that, and, even more than that, I feel like we’re perfectly poised to tell the pundits and other talking heads of the airwaves and blogosphere that their little corner of privilege in the world isn’t so insular, and not to discount us.
If you tell us that we’re going to fail, and really hammer it into our heads for a decade or two, then sure we’ll fail.
I could quote Nietzsche or someone more elegant, instead I’ll go with Einstein here: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”