Anger is a powerful thing. We feel it when we believe a line has been crossed or an injustice has occurred. It courses through our veins and if we’re not careful, it takes over. If we take it too far, it can be crippling.
As a member of the Millennial generation, I’m angry. Enraged might be better word. Like so many around me, I’m fuming with rage and all too often it’s hard to contain.
I’m furious when I think about the future. I’m livid with the present. When I consider all the hurdles our generation is being asked to jump with all the handicaps of stagnate wages, student loan debt, and job insecurity, I begin to see red.
And like many others, I sometimes direct a fair amount of this anger at those I’ve deemed responsible: the Baby Boomers. As the hate wells up in me, astounded by what I see as their complete disregard for other generation, I find I am almost paralyzed.
But then I stop myself. I step back and I look at the war between Millennial and Boomer and recognize that I want no part in it. I don’t want to add my voice to the echo chamber of twenty and thirty somethings condemning the Baby Boomer generation for leaving us a supposed wasteland – a chorus that, the longer we sing it, only reinforces a victim mentality. I don’t want to read another article listing off all the reasons why Millennials can’t get ahead in today’s world. Nor do I want to see another story outlining the faults of my generation and why we should grow up.
It’s very easy to get caught up in who’s to blame for certain issues we face. But the first step is not deciding who is the cause of the problem; it’s admitting that there is a problem. At this point, I think all generations can agree that there are many problems.
How can we create an economy that restores living wages for those working full time? How can we solve global warming? How can we ensure that the internet remains unhindered and is always a place for the free flow of ideas? How can we fix politics in America so that we’re no longer dejected by ongoing corruption? How can we educate future generations to think critically and not just answer test questions? How can we make sure that older generations grow old with dignity and not stare into the abyss of poverty? How can we come together and have a rationale conversation about the very real issues that plague our society?
The answers lie on a new path, a path that moves past assigning blame. As the younger generation, we need to dust the chips loose from our shoulders before the weight of the world comes down on them. We can’t keep focusing on condemning the Boomers. Did we get the short end of the stick? Yes. But we still have to find a way to do something. We have to move past our anger and focus on the future. And we have to do it in a way that doesn’t pit us against each other while we ignore the needs of others.
As unfair as it may seem, this is where we are. This is our lot in life. And soon this will be our time. For now, though we need to find ways to work together. We must channel our anger away from the Boomers and into developing real and workable solutions to the problems we’re facing. The new path to a better future starts with finding commonalities among ourselves and between generations. We can’t focus on the things that divide us. Instead, let’s consider what brings us together. It can be as big as federal campaign finance laws or as small as local community projects. But we need to start somewhere and we need to start now.
So, let’s move from assigning the blame for why things are the way we are. Let’s get on with picking up the lessons we can learn from it all and using them to create a better world. Because if we don’t, our own children will inherit a world worse off than this one. And they’ll have a good reason to be furious with us.