Monday, February 6, 2012

The Planners

Basic education done by 22, work for the next two years, Grad school over in a year plus,  marriage at 26, baby by 28 and time for reading, travelling, chilling and the occasional adventure.
This generation wants everything! And all of these subheads come under a more ambitious header called “Life’s passion”.
I fear for them. 

Even though I have lived my life by the dictum that attitude matters more than facts and that the mind can bring about anything it visualizes strongly enough, I shudder at the audacity of the young life planners today. Are they being too wishful and unrealistic? Are they off mark in agonizing so much over discovering what it is, their heart hankers after? Are they right in trying to cram everything into one lifetime? What are the odds that they will lead their lives with a reasonable measure of happiness with so many conflicting needs? Are they setting themselves up for a lifetime of frustration with their ‘instant gratification’ theory? Is it them who have it wrong or is it us, with our jaded, apologetic and fearful tales?!

I can’t help but stoop to pick up my jaw every time I stand across a twenty something, holding forth on the milestones they see very clearly on their life’s journey. The predominant sense is of a worldly wisdom far beyond their years. It is as though life has fitted them with far seeing binoculars that ruthlessly filter all romance and airy, bubble views.
My response to the fifty year plans I hear is a mix of admiration, concern and a shade of what they call ‘blah’. Why this heart breaking awareness; this excessive need for a sense of control and order? While I marvel at their courage to follow their heart, I wonder if there is just that misstep between the plausible and the possible.

Of course we have a role to play in this ‘all or nothing’ theme song when we offer unconditional support to our young. It is we who bring them up to think all paths are smooth when we do not allow them to bear the consequences of their actions. Perhaps we spoil them by always standing by. There may even be an anxiety born of a relationship so open with parents that everything is shared, including misgivings and insecurities. And with so much generic alarm and mess around them, is it any wonder so many young people suffer from insomnia and depressive disorders. 

What an industry of guilt around parenthood we have built up, we dare not be anything but the most appeasing, reassuring, understanding, accepting, deep breathing Moms and Dads. I now believe there might have been a sense of reassurance, even security in our parents’ non-committal ways!

This generation ought to be whooping with joy. They are path breakers in that no other lot had their brand of educated, supportive and aware fathers and mothers. They are enviably poised to be able to have their cake, eat it and take some home too!

So grab it all with ten fingers, two hands, arms and toes kids, will you? And do us proud, in the passing.

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