Sunday, 15 June 2014

A Generation of Dreamers

While I had intended to wax lyrical about Holland's recent triumph (slaughter?) over Spain in the World Cup (1-5!!) and go on about rock concerts in the Grote Markt (Bløf!), another thought struck me today. It is Father's Day, and naturally my thoughts turn towards my own, and it goes without saying that I think he's the best. I also thought, however, about all the other fathers who are equally great. I look around at my generation and begin to notice a trend. Our parents are pretty cool!

My peers and I are nearing thirty and most of us have been in (and out) of quite a few jobs, been through higher education, moved around, loved and lost, travelled. All before thirty! Someone once said to me when giving an account of my adventures, "But you're so young - how can you have done all that?"

Because our parents encouraged us to dream. I am not saying that other generation's parents didn't, but I do rather think we've changed our mindset. More and more of us are picking ourselves up and saying, "No, no, I'm miserable in this job/city/relationship. Why am I doing this again?" We have always been taught to question; most importantly we've been told over and over again: Do what makes you happy. So we are. We aren't afraid to start over again and again (and again). It makes me so glad to see people living for their passions.

This may be the key: this strive to be happy; this refusing to settle. It can overwhelm us, of course, but I am seeing more often the positive effects of this. No longer is it this 'Mad Men' ideal of a career that will see you into retirement, with a house in the suburbs with 2.5 kids and a Golden Retriever. There is nothing wrong with this either, but I just think our priorities have changed. We want more from life than ever before. We want to live. By making decisions that a few generations ago would have been seen as ridiculous and foolhardy, we are taking charge of our own personal happiness.

Our poor mother and father's have had to bite their tongues and smile in the face of hearing, "I'm off to India for two months...", "No, I'm going to quit; the money's great but I can't stand the job...", "I think I should move to New York so I can play music..."

We've taken the first step by even saying, "no, we want to be happy."For that we have a lot to be thankful for.

Parents of course want the best for their children, and it is only natural that stability and security are a part of this. So far, we're making it though. By the time we are thirty, my friends and I will have had more jobs and seen, and possibly done, more than our parents ever did. It must terrifying them; certainly terrifies me. Stability sounds nice! But goodness me, how exciting it is to live for one's passions and dreams. When I think back to my graduating classes of high school and university and look where my friends and I are now, I am pleased to say that the majority of us have followed our passions. A rare thing perhaps in a world dominated by money and power.  

Yet this positive energy coming from young people being happy and passionate about things is causing a stir. We want to change things, make things better. Young people always have such enthusiasm for change, and I realise it isn't always a possibility. But we want to try anyway - just think what might be achieved! Ours is a generation that knows and has tried lots of different things in life. I like to think we are living with gusto. There's no point otherwise, is there?

So, thank you, brave parents, fathers and mothers, who have allowed your children to dream!