Playful Experience

To me, the Generation X experience consists of snickering at all that’s wrong with the world. It’s being paralyzed by idealism — unable to participate in a system so flawed. And all the while, the joke’s on me — I’m the straight-man unaware that he’s part of a comedy act — my genuine deadpan makes others roar with laughter.

But pessimism is a one-way path with no way out. When everything looks wrong, there’s no right ways left — everything’s a trap, a disappointment waiting to happen. So the challenge for the Gen X mentality, is in developing a faith in goodness. It’s trusting that blue skies actually exist beyond the ceiling of gray clouds.

The challenge also deals with finding an appropriate role to play. How can a naysayer invest in a flawed facade? “Life’s a joke! And those that pour themselves into it are deluded fools!” But sitting on the outskirts of the performance and hurling insults at the actors is ultimately an unsatisfying position.

And so, the Gen Xer must find a way into the fray, convincing himself that his initial impressions are misguided. The constant stream of negativity must be reined in. “The world is as it should be: an adventure filled with all sorts of activities and challenges — and I too will play my part in this epic escapade.”

It’s not a horrific quest after all: the deletion of derision, the cessation of scorn — putting an end to mockery as a way of life. It’s accepting that there’s delight to be had in the genuine experiences provided by this world. It’s an absurd endeavor as my character attempts to take life less seriously while engaging wholeheartedly in the act of play.