The Saddest Catalyst

by on Jun.23, 2009, under Uncategorized

On the morning of September 11, 2001 I awoke groggily just before ten in the morning. The picture of my generation, I fumbled for Diet Coke, that blessed source of energy, and popped the can open while pressing the power button on my sleek G4 Titanium Powerbook. Then came the most important event of any normal morning … signing onto e-mail.

But this was not any normal morning. A stark message read: TURN ON THE TV NOW!

Grabbing the remote control, I flipped on MSNBC and had an image indelibly seared into my memory. The twin towers of the World Trade Center were falling right before my eyes. The Diet Coke dropped from my hands and with all respect I uttered a stunned, “Oh my God.”

Thus changed the very fabric of my generatAion’s character.

I am a member of the sometimes-called “Generation Y,” the group of young people now in college and following the much-hyped “Generation X.” We were raised with computers in the classrooms since kindergarten and now tote everywhere with us slim laptops. Our parents were the baby boomers—the first generation that enjoyed widespread higher education. We have reaped the benefits of educated elders and we’ve enrolled in college en masse. We classically “work hard and play hard,” seamlessly easing out of Abercrombie cords and cable cardigans for school and into BCBG dresses and Diesel pants for partying. We were raised on Starbucks, shopping malls, and stock portfolios.

We have been a generation of privilege, enjoying in our schooldays the longest period of economic growth in American history and benefiting radically from that boom in business. Thanks to this comfort zone, we have been able to focus on our own goals and shape our own lives with great alacrity. Steven Brooks, a noted cultural commentator, has called us “organization kids.” We are young people with drive, ambition, dreams. Thanks to our upbringings, we have the resources to achieve our lofty career goals.

But along with this life has come a lack of generational unity and purpose. Peace and prosperity have allowed us to focus on what we find personally important, and with that focus on the self we have never developed a sense of unity, patriotism, and purpose. While “Generation Y” maybe culturally well defined, we aren’t united. It’s easy to conduct market surveys and determine what we will and won’t purchase in our next foray into on-line shopping. Yet it’s terribly difficult to rally us around any universal value or uniting purpose.

Will continued…

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