I was brought up to have a “can do” attitude, my psyche was developed with the thrust that I am an individual who can and should take care of myself. And I believe this experience is something that is shared by people from my generation. And that is where some of the issues we face come from, as discussed by Arlie Hochschild in his essay Gen (Fill in the Blank): Coming of Age, Seeking an Identity. Hochschild postulates that “the recent double trend toward more choice but less security leads the young to see their lives in more individual terms.
Big events collectivize, little events atomize. So with people facing important but private problems, and people thinking in individual, not collective, terms, the coast became clear in the 80’s and 90’s for the marketplace to stalk into this cultural void and introduce generation-defining clothes, music and videos. ” Growing up with both parents working, we were left to mend for ourselves. This independence meant for most of us, being able to prepare food from boxes and ready-to-cook packs or dialling a fast food delivery number.
Answers to any questions we have are just clicks away courtesy of the wonderful world of cyberspace. We entertain ourselves with the myriad of computer games and TV programs offered by production companies. Communication is oftentimes accomplished by e-mail or using mobile phones. Real personal contacts only occur in schools or in the workplace but even then a line drawn between groups depending on the clothes one wears, the techie stuff owned, level of intellectuality and the music genre chosen.
We seldom touch others in fear of trespassing on their personal space, or being sued for harassment. We don’t share much about ourselves the world is a rat race and a slip may cause one his/her career or social status. Oftentimes, this scenario makes the individual to isolate the “real person” inside and show a different, less vulnerable facade to the public. So the phrase I like you because you “know the real me” can be heard every where. People still need to talk, to express themselves, to share their thoughts, so we consult our psychologists and therapists.
Others find release by writing internet blogs, journal or chatting on the internet but this only temporarily assuages the void because one of human’s basic need is to find his/her identity and be part of a group. My generation came up with music further interpreted through videos, cartoons/animations that are three dimensional and astounding visual effects in cinematography that sometimes it is difficult to know which is true and which is computer generated. We have video conferences and web cameras that allow us to have face-to-face interaction despite any distance.
But these improvements also reduced the probability of us being held, being touched which is part of a person’s need, regardless of his/her state of independence. This becomes emphasized when we get sick, advancements in medicine and social services allow patients to leave the hospital days or hours after surgery (Hochschild, 76). Let’s assume the patient is Joanne, a 23 year old, female yuppie who got her appendix removed, and she got released from the hospital Thursday night.
She goes home to an empty condominium unit and immediately opens the TV to break the silence. Since it’s a minor thing, no need to bother any of her friends or colleagues who are most likely enjoying the night partying, she prepares her own medicines She receives no special treatment, was prepared to expect none but behind the mask of self-sufficiency is the longing for care like the time she was a kid with mom holding her hand while she’s sick. These are her thoughts before she dozes off to sleep in preparation for another busy day tomorrow.
Joanne wakes up to the incessant ringing of the alarm clock and for a second before rushing to the bathroom, utter a prayer to be able to experience waking up to the sound of chirping birds and rustling leaves people had 20 years ago. She takes a quick shower, dresses and off to the office without waving a hand or speaking to anyone. She stops by Starbucks for her daily doze of coffee and confidently walks into the office with no trace of the sick, lonely girl of the previous night.
Joanne’s story is the story of Lucky, the character in Britney Spear’s songs, and the millions of faceless successful individuals crying out to belong, to be known, and not be thought of as having a perfect life. ” This is a story about a girl named Lucky… Early morning, she wakes up Knock, knock, knock on the door It’s time for makeup, perfect smile It’s you they’re all waiting for They go… “Isn’t she lovely, this Hollywood girl? ” And they say… She’s so lucky, she’s a star
But she cry, cry, cries in her lonely heart, thinking If there’s nothing missing in my life Then why do these tears come at night Lost in an image, in a dream But there’s no one there to wake her up And the world is spinning, and she keeps on winning ” ( My generation, whatever name it might be called, have flourished with the millions of choices and opportunities we are given. We benefited on the leaps in science and technology and the improved lifestyle.
We are transient individuals determined to reach our goals, because our value is no longer determined by marriage and employment but by our perceived “marriageability and employability” (Hochschild, 75). Because of this, my generation suffers from lack of deep rooted relationships only a small, constant family life and community can provide. We grew up not being to hold onto the value system previous generations had, thus losing a sense of history. And I totally agree with Jerald Wallulis, that this loss is the battle that my generation faces.
The sad thing about it is it’s a phase and does not pertain to a specific historical event. It is a conundrum of events like the increase of divorce rates, the reliance to media, and dependence on technology. When the time comes for me to raise my own family, I would like my children to be free with their emotions and believe that the family they have is bound to last and will not be taken away by divorce or separation. I will inculcate in their minds that independence does not mean not crying or asking for help or being part of a real group.
I will not want them to hide their fears and pain and depend on a stranger, however learned or skilled that person may be, to analyze their situation and emotions. My generation is a gifted generation and we owe our parents and predecessors to that. But my generation experienced growth too fast, moved too fast to be able to process our shared experiences as a team. That I believe is the crisis of my generation and it is what I hope will be answered now. REFERENCE Spears, Britney. Lucky 6 November 2006 <http://lyrics. astraweb. com/display/186/britney_spears.. oops_i_did_it_again.. lucky. html>