When you trawl the internet for interesting words and opinions as much as I do you can often be stuck for what to write or what to say because there are so many other people saying it for you, often better, but as I was reading Fringe preview articles in The List this afternoon I came across the following phrase, stated by Ella Hickson, young female playwright responsible for "Eight" and this years Fringe offering, "Precious Little Talent"...
"My generation is having to face up to its own mediocrity pretty quickly. We were told, “Get a good education, a degree, and your life will be sorted”, but that’s just not the case anymore. We’re a generation fighting not to be forgotten and I wanted to address that."
The last half of this statement really struck me. It made me start to think about the notion of the "twenty-something" and expectations...thinking in a sort of rambling way so if this post never actually reaches a logical conclusion they I do apologise (do you see what I meant by doing it better!)
It's probably fairly safe to say that not everyone is an ambition-addled over achiever who know what they want to do and are fixated on having this achieved, and perhaps even have it peak and level out, before they turn 30. In fact people like this in the "twenty-something" bracket are few and far between. Those who know me well will be the first to say that I fall under this banner, and they wouldn't be wrong, but even I lack faith in what is going on and where I am going sometimes.
Are we a generation fighting not to be forgotten or are we in fact drifiting along in a confused state until we hit a signpost that will point us down the right path to achievement?
In my opinion a lot of us spend the first half of our twenties not worrying greatly about what is around the corner, and quite rightly so, because it's too early to think about. We're young, practically children in the grand scheme of things, what's the rush? We'll figure it out when we get there. Just follow the formulaic 3-step programme, as detailed above and all will be fine; good education, degree and then good job - sorted! Win!
Hmmm, well, I did that...checked those three (well, 2 and a half!) boxes...so why do I not feel any closer to being where I want to be?
Well first of all there are no jobs, in the main this is down to the economic climate, something that is outwith the control of us mere mortals. Yet the flow of graduates is not decreasing, industry can't sustain the volume of qualified clever clogs looking for high-paid and rewarding work in their chosen field.
What we are getting are call centres full of over-qualified, gradually becoming apathetic, "twenty-somethings" with their aspirations dwindling. It's very difficult when you've got student loans to repay and the cost of living in the real world to contend with to throw caution to the wind and bin the 9-5 in search of the dream job which may be just that, a dream.
Perhaps we aren't facing up to mediocrity but trying desperately to find a way to fight it as it closes in on us. Money certainly isn't everything and shouldn't be the facilitating factor in ultimate happiness, for most people anyway, but then again living below the poverty line and receiving post-interview rejection letters is pretty fucking miserable.
Second of all, the time when just leaving Uni, getting a high paid job of any description - it didn't matter what as long as it paid well and embodied a certain element of power and/or responsibility - before getting married and pumping out a few kids equalled satisfaction has long since passed. There's a certain element of pressure to have a goal beyond this, specialise in something and do everything you can to acheive it.
As a generation we do want more, we don't want to be forgotten and we want to be able to do what we want to do and be rewarded for it. Where the challenge lies is figuring out how to do that.