AVICII’s Wake me up lyrics recently spoke to me while driving my car on the way to work. Time stopped and I saw this girl about to turn 29, trapped in a traffic jam, her nemesis, and listening to her default life story unfolding in a radio tune. AVICII’s song might not be transcendental for everybody, but at this point in my life, it was for me. I believe its simple lessons apply to my generation, the Y’s, on a level that is quite deep, as we all believe we are…on the surface. I wasn’t even aware of the artist up until the song started. But by the end I understood it communicated something fundamentally millennial: we seem to be a generation in-waiting.
What are we waiting for?
“Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can’t tell where the journey will end,
But I know where to start”
Wedged in between this new freaky Generation Z of iPhone savvy babies (i.e. our children) and the conservative X’s, we still have to deal with baby boomer parents and bosses, and veterans unwilling, or unable, to let go. It seems as if we are, as a generation, in a standstill with time, our heads turn to movements and causes, our eyes stuck to their Facebook pages’ updates.
Indeed, we have passion. We have the accumulated memories of the 60’s and 70’s, we have taken ownership of rock & roll and we have embraced the mobile products that sprung from the future envisioned by the 90’s tech visionaries , nevertheless, we claim authenticity with inconsistency, we are a subculture of followers.
What will be our legacy?
The end of our journey? Some of us keep holding on and romanticizing our adolescent years, magnifying our struggles and still staking our childish claim to immortality. And to that last point, we are succeeding. Every day, multiple times a day as a matter of fact, we are carving the trail and planting the seeds of our legacy here and now, on a virtual web which is constantly, and independently, evolving into a big maze of profiles, tweets, posts and pins, which translates into a virtual representation of who we are becoming as a society, and what we are adding to the mix. We are the living net.
So, should that be our starting point? Should we take on the social movement and dominate it to its core? Should we feel entitled to that technology? After all, wasn’t it created for us?
What exactly have we been doing in our 20’s?
For one, I’ve been exploring my thoughts, wandering through the expected route, always on the margins of subversion, but never quite going over the edge. Growing up in times of relative social peace, with working parents and after school schedules jammed with multiple activities, where could we go to learn different, to see different? Most importantly, did we really want to? As a generation, we seem to be comfortable and content, stuck really, with the baby boomer’s definitions of whom and why we are. Why are we remaining passive on the face of the imposed identity our parents, and now our bosses, are fixing on our Millennial “self”, just because they had the vantage point of watching us grow up sitting on our sofas, planted in front of the TV, walking over to the fridge every 5 minutes expecting some food would magically appear or waiting for something amazing to happen in our lives, just because?
“They tell me I’m too young to understand
They say I’m caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don’t open my eyes
Well that’s fine by me”
Passivity and inactivity won’t get us there!
Long gone are our days of sucking air in and releasing CO2 waiting for something to happen. Now we have a wide array of tools, connectors to what’s in, what’s trending, what’s happening…yet, we remain passive, remain witnessing reality from the comfort of home. We must not be satisfied with a life where we are forever fans. Now more than ever before, the same tech tools that the people we follow have, we have at our disposal. Our eyes are open daily and tired of watching other’s tweets, posts and pins…we are active, yeah, actively promoting the legacy of strangers, cementing their authority, spreading their words and ideology…but they are not our own. How are we being true to ourselves and not prolonging the picture of laziness, irresponsibility and immaturity our parents have fixed on us? It’s not about saying something back, is about doing something period! We should not be fine with the status quo; we should not look the other way meekly as they underestimate our potential and our worth.
“I tried to carry the weight of the world
But I only have two hands
Hope I get the chance to travel the world
But I don’t have any plans”
Overwhelmed is a common symptom for me. The scope of the task seems to hinder many from actually taking the time to explore alternatives and look for ways to realize their ideas. Being in such close proximity to what’s new, and unable to filter the negativity that comes with it, makes it extra challenging to move beyond self-doubt and into action. Why should I bother to create this or start that if someone already has [probably] done it? Google it first! Then have a sincere conversation with yourself. Is this idea something which triggers your creativity and ignites your passion? We need more of that in our lives.
We cannot make any difference in our world if all our projects stay in la-la land. Hope is a great tool to have to make the mental shift needed to embrace positivity and change. However, concrete matter-of-fact plans must be designed. And the best part is that our favorite companions, our devices, are designed to make planning entertaining.
Indeed, we want to be entertained first and foremost. We are the generation that’s fully used to and comfortable with watching the world on our computers, tablets and phones, movies and television have taken us places that our parents and grandparents worked and sweat to get to see. We don’t want to deal with lines, with traffic and with people…and the wonderful thing is that we can avoid all that stuff and yet contribute to the world in a significant way.
We must forge a new identity
My fellow Millennials, “adult” life doesn’t have to be boring; we have the power to re-define what it means to be men and women. But to do so, we must embrace the tools laid down for us.
So, the start for me is re-invention, and the tool is social media; a seemingly dark place of unknown possibilities to generate a bigger, better version of your authentic self, in an online world that’s becoming more and more enmeshed with the reality of everyday life. Let’s fulfill the prerogative of an immortal legacy in the form of an online presence with offline significance.
“Wish that I could stay forever this young
Not afraid to close my eyes
Life’s a game made for everyone
And Love is the prize”
I never used to let this thought in my head: “I will never be this young again”. But as our parents are aging and we see this global population, the greatest boom of people before us, on which we have come to depend for most of our lives, fight for more years and more health to get through those years, we are no longer allowed to fight and forgo self-awareness. We are getting older. I, on the eve of another birthday, struggle to come to terms with this reality every time I look at a reflection of my face in the mirror and see someone very different from the girl I used to be. But do I want to be that girl again? I don’t think so. Now is the moment where my body and mind are on their prime, yours too. So, are we going to waste these precious resources lingering in denial, or are we ready to make every breath we take and every tweet, post and pin count toward a whole life experience worth remembering by someone else besides ourselves.
We must get our heads in the game.
It’s no longer, when will something happen, is how can I make that happen right now! We must have a sense of urgency to start living the life we should be living. Following is a must, to stay current, to stay connected, however, we must remember, we were the generation expected to lead, and now we must wake up!
“So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser when I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost”
We are wiser now, we are older now. Now is the time. We must understand and accept that, we must believe and wake up to find we have been waiting our whole lives for this exact moment, searching for this exact opportunity. Let’s take it!
Gabriela Gotay, is the founder of Entrespective.com a blog for young professionals looking to expand their careers and turn talents into businesses. Her main focus is to generate self-empowerment by the implementation of entrepreneur’s perspectives, as the way to re-define the workplace and re-design lives as Personal Brands.
Image Credit: vimeo.com