A couple of nights ago, I was feeling nostalgic. It might have had something to do with the range of videos I watched on YouTube, including Van Halen, Phil Collins, Guns N’ Roses, The Bangles, and Rush.
I consider my taste in music quite diverse. Over the years, I have been a fan of hair metal, rap, grunge, and country. Looking at you, Bon Jovi, NWA, Nirvana, and George Strait, respectively.
Against my better judgment, I also admit to listening to New Kids on the Block. Don’t judge, we all did back in the day. Besides, here’s a fun little fact: Donnie Wahlberg and his wife, Jenny McCarthy, live 4 miles from my front door.
I feel bad for every person who did not grow up in the ’80s (and early ’90s). It was hands down the best time to be alive, and it’s not even close.
It’s hard not to look back and think that the ’80s were the best and that the ’90s truly were the last great decade. Because, in my opinion, they were. (Don’t @ me.)
As I type this, I am listening to These Are Days by Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs, reminiscing on my high school days. And while it’s late, I am tempted to watch The Breakfast Club. Or The Goonies. Or St. Elmo’s Fire.
Perhaps I’ll throw on Singles, which arguably has the best motion picture soundtrack ever recorded. I mean, what other album includes songs performed by Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, and Jimi Hendrix?
What’s my point in all of this? Well, it’s a simple one.
The Internet and social media are prime examples of why, sometimes, we can’t have nice things. At least that’s the way it feels.
I am forty-five years old, and I can assure you that never in my lifetime has our world experienced the kinds of things we are currently going through. Honestly, I can’t even right now.
Let’s not fool ourselves: 2020 has been a terrible year, and it started when Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and seven others were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in a remote field in Calabasas, California.
A Glimmer of Hope
Our family has thankfully made its way through the COVID-19 pandemic healthy. Our small town, St. Charles, was unaffected by local riots that occurred in nearby towns. And for those wondering, I vehemently stand against racism.
But even though it feels like our world is going to hell in a handbasket, I stare out my window while writing these words and see something: a glimmer of hope.
Maybe it’s the romantic side of me, or perhaps it’s my personality type. I am, after all, an ENFJ. A little about that below, for you Meyers Briggs fans:
A Protagonist (ENFJ) is a person with the Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging personality traits. These warm, forthright types love helping others, and they tend to have strong ideas and values. They back their perspective with the creative energy to achieve their goals.
Protagonists are genuine, caring people who talk the talk and walk the walk, and nothing makes them happier than leading the charge, uniting and motivating their team with infectious enthusiasm. (Source)
Every generation is dealt with its fair share of low blows. One could argue—and I might agree—that this generation, in particular, has seen plenty of them. And I have an uneasy feeling that we aren’t entirely done yet.
In his first presidential inauguration, Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed our nation with these words:
“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
“Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.”
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
. . .
I belong to a generation that is often forgotten: Generation X.
I am proud to be apart of that generation, mainly because I grew up in the last great decade. I mean, let’s face it: today’s music isn’t exactly on the same level as the legendary magic that Kurt Cobain created.
I admit that I am biased, and every one of us should believe our generation is the best. And while I acknowledge that today’s noise isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I realize that it is for hundreds of millions of kids.
Art is a vehicle for expressing universal emotion, and we should set forth and do so unapologetically. After all, it is our responsibility to stay true to ourselves and create with authenticity.
I love the energy and enthusiasm that our younger generation has. I love the ideas and risk these kids are willing to take as they start new ventures and look to become the next Steve Jobs or Elon Musk.
I love that they wake up each day and want to change the world. Because I assure you, there is plenty of room and need for change.
What I love most about them is this: they honestly feel that they are living in the last great decade. And I will not stand in their way. Because deep down, I have faith they will do the unthinkable and make believers out of you and me.