A lot has been written about Gen-Y and Millenials and the culture of entitlement and self-esteem padding with which many of us were raised. For a long time I had a pretty distant relationship with this whole idea. I had a comfortable upbringing, but I was raised by overachievers and don’t recall ever having the “oh honey, you did your best” platitudes tossed at me when I didn’t deserve them and, frankly, I succeeded at nearly everything when I was young. If I got praised, it was because I legitimately did well at something, but I never got the kind of rampant fawning and pandering that some of my friends did. I never once got paid a cent for my grades, even though this was something of a common practice in the community where I grew up, nor do I recall getting more than a “good job” and maybe dinner out or something for any other achievement. That said, I sat through plenty of “let’s all love each other, ‘kay guys?” seminars in school, especially in middle school, and, just as an example, I vividly remember a girl who was so incensed at not being invited to take a special honors enrichment class during early period in the seventh grade that her parents paid for an outside assessment company to do an IQ test and petitioned the school to let her into the class. A couple weeks into school she was let into the class and, while everyone was perfectly nice about it, I remember thinking even then that her parents had done her a disservice by encouraging the idea that she deserved to get whatever she wanted and that throwing a hissy to the school administration over a slight that was, in the grand scheme of things, pretty minor was ridiculous and out of proportion. I was lucky enough, I suppose, to be pretty outgoing when I was younger and had a lot of varied interests that I was eager to explore, so I never had to be bribed or weedled into doing things the way many of my friends were forced or paid off to continue with softball or band or church groups or whatever other extracurricular activity their parents deemed important that my friends were no longer (or maybe never were) interested in. Continue reading
Category Archives: growing up
“Every experience is a paradox in that it means to be absolute, and yet is relative; in that it somehow always goes beyond itself and yet never escapes itself.”
– T. S. Eliot
One of my favorite quotes and ridiculously fitting given the bizarro world I’ve been living in of late.
I spent spent most of my twenties in the same long term relationship in which I was really pretty middle aged old-married at far too young an age. When that relationship ended, I spent the past year and some change making up for my dissolute twenties being not so dissolute with some wonderful friends and some silly but ultimately harmless bad decisions and generally the kind of stories one expects to get out of their twenties. And then, well, I met someone.
Not just someone. I met an amazing man who called me even though I told him I absolutely didn’t expect him to. Who voluntarily started what was basically a long distance relationship, temporary as it was. And suddenly I find myself with the boy-thing and his adorable four year old son and a dog and a gorgeous condo in Potrero Hill all waiting for me, should the cards fall correctly. Nearing the end of my twenties I suddenly find myself spending Friday night flipping through a copy of Real Simple while sipping a chai latte with a friend at a bookstore cafe after a quick phone call to check in with the boy-thing. If geography were no issue, I have a feeling tonight would have entailed dinner and watching the Giants game on the couch, or maybe at The Connecticut Yankee.
I have to admit, I like the look of that scene. And that’s more than a little paradoxical.