A Generation Xer

This is my biographical wrap-up or summary that I will keep public.  My more detailed biographical posts have served their purpose and I have taken those private.  I think that a self-analysis within the context of our current construct serves as a means to reflect on our culture, a generation, and to understand oneself.  My assumption is that I am unfortunately not unique, rather I represent in some shape or form Generation X or Generation 13.  I am merely an event of a sample of that larger population.  If you have studied statistical theory you will understand what I am arguing.  Certainly I made individual decisions (some against my inner being) and possess personal characteristics (some good and some bad) that have defined my path and current predicament (discontent, member of the long-term unemployed, bankrupt), but I am more interested in the broad strokes.

My broad views or thoughts are really nothing more than a snap shot of my generation’s consciousness.  I have a deep concern over environmental destruction.  As I have mentioned on recent high-level posts on the soul, I am making the argument that we are destroying the environment (overpopulation and consumption) based on my sense perception as opposed to a scientific methodology.  Another broad sentiment is a feeling of disfranchisement from established constructs and goals that all seem to be tied in or heavily influenced by a hyper-focus on capitalism and economics.  This economic system is dependent on a growing population which simply creates a circular reference.  I fear that the world-wide economic system is swamped in debt and casino-like investing resulting in a house of cards that will one day collapse.  If we think about all the other major additional problems including poverty, ignorance, religious and cultural differences, nuclear threat, terrorism, limited oil, and scarce natural resources, it seems we simply keep borrowing on future generations and pushing our problems outward without solving them.  I experience a sense of paralysis when confronting seemingly insurmountable problems created by humanity.   You will find these same types of broad perceptions and descriptions when researching what defines Generation X — but the key hint regarding Generation X is that it is undefined, disoriented, confused, disfranchised, and directionless as a whole.  Individuals within Generation X will find their way and some won’t, but the whole doesn’t have a unified or general agreement on a direction.  The want or desire is there, but the answer is amiss.

My struggle to make my way given the above framework has revealed a key personal characteristic — a fear or a feeling of dis-contentment with the idea of committing to a single purpose or cause.  I had the potential to be a professional athlete, but felt like that was too restricting and narrow.  When I looked into becoming a landscape photographer I became disheartened when photographic institutions recommended wedding, portrait, fashion or product photography to earn a living.  My decade plus in business was marked by several company and job changes due to dis-contentment and further internal and external observations of corruption, greed, and layoffs.  I left my marriage because I was discontent with what it had become versus what I expected love to be.  And money, the bedrock of our current construct, has never commanded my respect.  I used money to live and enjoy life, but I never saved for a rainy day nor had any concern about making money.  This broad personal characteristic (among others) combined with no passionate belief in a direction led to my train wreck.  There has been no fear of change, but certainly a fear, or boredom, or dis-contentment with commitment. 

My observations, education, and life experiences have not enabled me to find a purpose or meaningful direction for myself or that of humanity.  I can only discuss purpose through abstract ideas or ideal Utopian constructs.  I crave a passionate personal purpose; I desire to join my fellow humans in energetic momentum towards noble and worthwhile goals, but I find no concrete answers to my quest.  I contemplate the expanse and wonder of the known universe and then turn my lens on humanity and myself only to find a wasteland of potential purposeful energy.  A few rare human examples or cultures have risen above the waste-heap and they offer rays of hope and potential.  But for now I find myself in pure survival mode with a goal to help raise my son.  I can look outward and inward to explain my current deplorable condition, but the only means to climb out of my hole is inward for the outward simply moves along through its own meandering momentum – a momentum that I fear is leading to a catastrophe of monumental proportions.  I therefore must retreat to the bowels of the economic construct to survive.   If I can pull myself out of my current hole then I can pursue higher personal aims like capturing beauty with the camera lens.  But the odds and time are against me.  All I can do is work hard to dig myself out and hope for a little luck.  If not, there is another alternative.  I really don’t have the answers, but I have never understood the alternatives.  Do you?

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14 thoughts on “A Generation Xer

  1. You are so eloquent that it humbles me. Your crisis of soul is so frustrating to me because on one hand I whole heartedly relate (me GenX too) and have already passed through this test once. I imagine it is the human experience to watch change for the worse in our surroundings, that it is not just one generation. If I could truly explain the need to make art I would probably not need to make art but the best I can say is that it has a magical effect on my soul. The constraints I put on why I cannot create are nonsense and purely driven by fear of failure. No matter how the photograph is taken or what it is taken with, once taken, it frees you. It answers questions that you can not put words to (well YOU can). So yes, for me the alternative to such heartache is painting, writing, creating. Sometimes it’s better than any drug I’ve taken (me?) any sex, any experience that gave me hope as a creature.

    I don’t know TC. I am a cynical optimist. I have faith, I have a deep spiritual path that has no need to be defined and this makes the bleakest of days beautiful.

    One last boring thought- I had a rough weekend. Emotional, confusing, utterly beautiful and hideous all at once. I had to force myself to hold on to one moment to make it all okay. So I went back to the orange my friend had given me for breakfast. We both ate our oranges as if we had never had one before and it was exciting. No, I wasn’t on anything. It was a choice to believe that even the orange was important. It’s the little things TC. They are as important as the big…sometimes more so. Go make a collage.

    Oh and yes, if I ever come to your neck of the woods I’m kicking you in both shins. Fucker.

    • Remember Walter, my shins are delicate…but I do have some padding on my ass that you can kick 😀

      Yes, fear of failure is a good one. I might go with fear of success and what it takes and what it does to the successful one. Failure is a learning curve and once one thinks he or she is successful then he or she has a problem. One must always push on. Improvement is infinite. Beethoven didn’t stop after his fifth symphony…he pushed on to the 9th.

      I side with your argument. I think art is probably our highest aim and a healthy culture that supports and norishes it.Glad you enjoyed that orange. I find myself appreciating food more in my impoverished state. Talk to you soon!

      And “eloquence”…your praise is a bit high my dear 😉

  2. TIncup,

    I have greatly enjoyed this series of private posts. Not only are they incredibly eloquent and heartfelt, they are very helpful for younger readers. I know I personally have found them didactic. However, more than the “mistakes” you’ve made, what stands out to me is your attitude when faced with adversity. You have turned everything — hardship, suffering, change — into a learning experience. You aren’t afraid to confront your choices. I know that you are a better person for all of this. Thanks.

    Beverly

  3. You are a unique individual despite the uncanny characteristics that are aligned with any kind of generation. The troubles one may encounter in life are simply personal tests in nature. Like the laws of physics, our life is most harmonious when we simply “go with the flow” of the universe. The attitudes we project onto ourselves and others marks an aspect of our individuality, and we can only choose to see things in an unproductive and self-destructive manner or a hopeful way that gives rise to something greater than our being in the future. It is the resistance to believe in ourselves as radiant creatures that keeps us from thriving. We consequently dwell in our ego rather than within our higher self; and many of us, including me, must work to culture self-power after being hurt. But I already see greater light in you – the desire to make something of yourself greater than the norm. It is easier said than done, but we will all achieve happiness over time as long as we do not veer away from that lit path. One day, you will get what you’ve desired for a long time. It is something that must be nurtured and adopted into our being before opportunities can be available. Albeit our kind pollutes nature, my love and attention goes out to those who work to reverse the damage! Perhaps there is an opening in the future for your photography and other abilities to reveal the truth to others about life!

    • Wow, that was quite a comment. I enjoyed your word choices like “radiant creatures” and “higher self” and follow the “lit” path. I agree with you we could achieve these realizations by holding true to the “lit” path. The diverged path is a costly and time consuming one indeed. And the idea of going with the flow of the universe…the free momentum of an ocean wave, a powerful river, the etheral clouds, the awe powering stars and gigantic dust clouds that are so huge and dense they create not thunder and lightening but stars…these things we should learn from indeed…rather than becoming like a bunch of ant colonies spread throughout the globe. We need to find and chase after the angels!

  4. I am touched by you honesty and willingness to stare tough circumstances in the face. I think some of this might be brought on by external forces largely outside your control. For example, in a different economy there might be more lucrative career paths for people with artistic tendencies. Who you meet and marry has many elements of chance and the decision-making process is not entirely rational. Some similar points were brought home to me in a book called “Drunkards Walk” on randomness and how it affects our lives. Parts are a bit technical but one of the basic points is that unforeseen events take us all in directions that were hard to predict.

    • How did you find this post? It was deep in the archives…lol. I am pleased that it touched you…if writing isn’t honest or probing then it isn’t worth the space. Yes, under a different economic construct…things could be different. I have written extensively on this idea…thus the utopian impulse. And it really isn’t just art that I am interested in for myself and humanity…it is more than that…and I believe Goethe coined the phrase…”The Art of Living”. Thank you for the reference…”Drunkards Walk”…lol…love the title. And I agree…there is chance involved with Love…and other things that are very random…how you were born into the world and where and under what circumstances…it goes on and on…but…an individual…who is educated in a grand sense…may have a better chance in the right environment to blossom…as would more humans in a different structure and momentum.

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