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Friday, June 21, 2013

The Millennial Meltdown. Part 2...

Token Millennial drink.

Continued from here.

With the connections we have in this generation come expectations that were placed upon us by those who came before us.  We are taught to act in a certain way and at the same time not to settle for anything but the best in our lives.  Unfortunately, the world is not kind enough for us to live in a presumptuous bubble of a dream-world reality.  I started writing in detail for the first time during the height of Myspace popularity and carried it over to Facebook, then to the blog you are reading now.  Having a positive outlook on life was my general theme and was fairly well received by everyone until I was sent an anonymous message from someone I have most likely never met.  Anyone who follows me on Facebook or is my friend may have read this before:

"U need a realty check i dont no u, but u dont have a clue bout how life rlly works the world isnt a nice place, ppl r ******* n u cant change it sum1 like u wudnt make it far if u had com up in a place were u didnt hav evrything given 2 u. U must b a cray-z repulicin christin Go kill urself ******!!!!!"

That is supposed to be English;  I think...  But putting aside the headache spawned by having to read such a message as it was written, it did make me think a little bit harder about how people I do not know in person perceive me.  I began pondering then and even to this day am realizing how insane a succession of collectively happy notes/blogs/status updates must look to those on the outside.  People who know me on a personal level understand my character and are aware that I try not to act like a pillock, but that sometimes everyone does.  Those from the outside looking in probably do think I am insane or somewhat occult.  This is where my original idea of expectation I mentioned earlier comes from.

Sometimes we have characters that were developed due to the environment we were brought to maturity in and sometimes our characters are situational, while other times a life event is what makes up the fiber of our being.  What I have figured out is how perceived happiness and actual happiness seem to differ in very dangerous ways from each other.  You see, I personally have an outward personality with a preference for acting composed and fairly upbeat as well as positive, but I can turn that off in a split second when need be.  If someone I care about comes to me with a big issue, I will undoubtedly be their biggest defender, no matter what that entails; no question.  There are people in my life I would die for and people in my life I would go to jail for, considering the situation merits such a thing.  The issue would need to be of significance and not silly drama that will not make a difference within the next twenty-four hours, but you get my point.  I am protective when I need to be and nonchalant or a calming listener when such is within merit.  Realizing people thought I was some happy-floaty, unperceptive hippie-type made me realize I should probably begin writing in touch with reality just as much as I write about the more positive aspects of life.

I grew up around this certain person who was always happy, always joking, and always in a good mood and trying to spread it to everyone.  She was was always a joy to be around.  Encouraging, funny, and looked out for others;  that is who she was all the way to the core, or so I thought.  After more than a decade of knowing her as nothing but this incredibly, unnaturally pleasant woman to be around, for no perceptible reason, she fell apart.  This lead to me considering her situation and digging a little deeper into who she was behind the scenes of what I saw, and the breakdown began to make more sense.  The outside that I saw was a facade covering something else inside of her.  Watching someone go from one of your favorite people to an entirely depressed, completely broken down shell of their former self is devastating.   She knew that everyone had her back, but was not willing to accept anything offered.  Believe it or not, for a while she was actually dangerous to be around.  Sometimes you sense everything is happy and butterflies with a person, when it can just be a very realistic character they are playing.  Her case was pretty extreme and I am sure she had other issues lingering around besides who she wanted people to perceive her as, but it made me think about how many other instances just like this one I had been around.

Sadly, I have seen similar issues happen with other people I know, not to the point of a full breakdown as above, but for some reason those I perceive as the happiest also have the most chaos when they do finally snap.  Sure, we all fly off the handle a little every now and then, but doing so can be healthy.  From what I have noticed, however, the people who seem a little too happy also tend to be the same people who are repressing or ignoring thoughts that would be better when expelled from them somehow.  I think of an example as the college student who goes away with enough money in his college fund to pay all tuition and basic living expenses, but two years of partying, spring breaks, and meaningless spending deplete it all.  Carefree happiness over a span of four semesters quickly flipped into a panic and anger;  they are never the same person again when an instance like that happens.  

This is the rug-pulled effect.  Everything is great and life is wonderful, but once something unfavorable happens, the person cannot handle the outcome.  This happens too often and many Millennials are unprepared for how to deal with the consequences and instead shut down as a defensive avoidance.   As a generation, we are often told to run and do what we want, but I know too many who have fallen into a psychological hole because they were also not taught how to deal with the realities of life.  We were always told to follow our dreams and I agree with that entirely, considering we also keep one foot on the side of reality.  Very few of us were ever told that we should do the things we are passionate about for no reason other than passion, not for a paycheck or to be frivolous with our lives.  Occasionally, the lucky ones do get the opportunity to put their passions before their careers with a huge future ahead of them, but most are not given this gift.  Eventually, for the unprepared, the reality catches up to their dreams and they fall apart.  The latter is the effect for most I have seen, and the results are usually drastic.  The few who are strong and survivors end up doing great things and find other ways to invest their energy into something they grow to love because they are willing to be realistic with their expectations, but finding such a person is rare.  

Some of us went into the world unprepared for whatever reason that I cannot seem to place my finger upon.  Some of us saw the realities of life early on and knew that while the act of living is something to be cherished in and of itself, it is also full of potholes and setbacks we must effectively confront.  

I have found this gap and separation in my generation concerning reality and those unprepared to join us.  
Is this elementary and applicable to those who came before us?  I have no idea.  
Are we a generation of sheltered beings tended to by false impressions?  Possibly some, but not all.
 Sometimes we need to be sure that we keep our passions within our grip of wellness, to laugh, to strive about being a good person;  yet not be afraid to admit we are human while at the same time be aware and prepared for our world to fall apart at any moment.  
Would you be able to handle it?


Grace and Peace, 
    -Drew




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