Youthful Exuberance

The Declaration of Independence served as formal separation from old ways. Youth and newness were to replace the stodgy conservatism of the aging and antiquated. Thomas Jefferson himself was in his early thirties at the signing of his handiwork. Progress was not fast enough and the exuberance of an emerging nation could not be contained. And so it was, over two centuries ago that the United States of America was born by the passion of a rising generation.

And the lesson I take from such a significant event: whenever tradition hinders progress, it should be thrown to the fire. Ways of doing things are only worthwhile when they advance mankind. And what should we consider progress? “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Anything that moves us closer to that ideal is progress.

Though it seems absurd that a country so enterprising in oppression and servitude should express such an ideal, it is exactly those lofty and seemingly insurmountable goals that America is famous for achieving! We can also be sure that such an ideal WON’T be attained through a government created in antiquity and populated by elderly statesmen. The “new world” in this digital age exists online obviously — and it is in this realm where the brashness of a rising generation will take its place at the helm.

As everything moves online, those stuck in an immovable conservatism will persist in an unchanging world as vitality happens in the cloud. And in time, that liveliness will spread to the static domain as it plants itself on the remains of what was. So on this day, July 4th, I celebrate an end to the old while welcoming in the new. As John Adams wrote to his wife after the signing:

“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

So you see dear friends, it is the American way to usher in change before we’re ready then somehow deal with the consequences. Therefore, even though we’re not ready, we must embrace a new era and all the change that comes with it — and we should do so with unrepentant optimism, ever heading towards the ideal so stated above: that all of us are born with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Unknown Variable

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Solve For X.

We were at war with adults. Parents, teachers, the government, corporations — every adult was suspect. Our movies, our music, our way of life all said we were on our own.

Through the Vietnam conflict we saw the young shipped off to die. We viewed the government as a corrupted enemy of the people. The war on drugs was a war on us. We saw corporations sell our livelihoods out from under us, the lifestyles our parents enjoyed were shipped overseas. We weren’t the consumer, but the consumed. Our cities became post-apocalyptic crime-ridden cesspools. This was the world we inherited. And so we were aptly named, Generation X, the unknown variable.

But what would we become, this angsty skeptical generation of loners fending for themselves. We have no unity, no loyalties, no voice, no power, forgotten between two giant generations. But in our undefined state we find definition, a world weary wanderer seeking a peaceful home. As a disenfranchised generation longing to fit in, we seek comfort and calm within a turbulent world.

And so we, the generation left to its own devices, raise our children with an attentive eye. No tear goes unwiped, we nurse, we hug, we discipline with care. We provide our children the warmth we lacked. We stumble of course, being a gruff and grumpy group, but from our failings we try harder, obsessed with not repeating the ways of our parents.

Blessed are the peacemakers, so we will find our place in this world. Still the middle child, we have yet to bloom into full maturity. We are needy for love, and with nothing to lose we are willing to give every bit of ourselves to find it. Through our tribulations we’re adding resiliency to our brittle toughness. Our part in this equation has only begun.