Generational Divides

30

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So, looks like I get to share this milestone with a pretty awesome-or better yet, rad computer company. 1984 was a very good year. I am not too thrilled, however, about this milestone. There is a compelling urge to stay in the house hiding until the time machine model Civic is released in 2034 so that I can go back to “correct” the last thirty years. Here is how:
1. Go to Howard University. You got in…find the money wherever you can. You will NOT save money by staying home two years.
2. Do not change your major to music. You’re just going to change it back to biology AND it is a waste of a year.
3. Don’t date that guy you think is so nice. You were better off as friends. Keep it that way.
4. Apply to medical school, not, well…
5. DO NOT GO TO GRAD SCHOOL! see #4
6. Tell that guy you kinda like and think is cool but nerdy you think he’s cool but nerdy. He’s gonna leave your congregation and you will never see him again.
7. Keep contact with your mentors. They believed in you.
8. Take the risks. You really must. It won’t kill you.
9. Laugh. Be silly. Who cares what “they” think. “They” have more hang ups than you realize.
10. You really will want kids by this age.
11. You really will want a husband at this age.
12. Two cats do not make you a cat lady…but stop.
13. Your parents will still nag you about…everything. Agree and keep your mouth shut. And do not move back home.
14. Believe it or not (I’m walking on…) everyone is going natural!
15. Yes, you lived to see the first Black President.
16. …twice!!! Woot!!!
17. Worry less. I mean it. It is going to nearly kill you.
18. You are way smarter than you think you are (and “they” think you are).
19. You are stronger than you think you are. Really.
20. Call your friends more…and stop sending them to voicemail…
21. Finish your book. The world has been subjected to Twilight. Please, finish your book!
22. Love again.
23. Keep moving forward. No matter what comes against you; no matter how dark it gets; no matter how uncertain the future seems, keep moving through the fog.
24. Keep health insurance. When you lose it you will need it the most.
25. Hold on to your faith in God’s love for you and plan for your life.
26. Not everyone who looks like a bear will maul you.
27. Teaching will teach you more than you have ever learned in school.
28. Don’t answer the phone…yeah, forget #20…let it go to voicemail and screen all calls with a 9__ area code.
29. Save coupons and use judgement.
30. Believe in yourself. You will find you have the greatest surprises your heart will delight in. Why? Because you are a pretty awesome girl.

Here’s one to think about: I took this snapshot of the Apple website featuring the Macintosh timeline using my iPhone. It’s saved to my Macbook.

From: We the People/To: Our Representatives

 

Just do your darned job already.

 

 

In January of 2011, I began working as an adjunct at a community college. I have taught anatomy and physiology, general biology, and tutored students in physics, chemistry, and biology. As an instructor, it is my responsibility to teach my students and deliver the material in a way that facilitates their understanding. There have been nights that I’ve stayed late to ensure my students understood the material, mornings I’ve come in early to work around my students’ schedules, and I’ve gone three days on a few hours of sleep just to get grades in on time. By the way, adjuncts do not get overtime.

Adjuncts also do not get benefits. Nevertheless, this was part of the job and my boss made sure I was aware of the drawbacks going in. So, I purchased insurance out-of-pocket. This is something I have done since my parents insurance dropped me at the age of twenty-three when I graduated from college. I am still in search of the privilege offered in a full-time job with my B.S. degree and now fifty-two hours worth of graduate level training in the hard sciences. Even so, I am still responsible for maintaining my premium no matter the cost (even when I went broke after our state could not pay us last summer).

Yet, this is not about my experience as an adjunct, my lack of benefits, or health care reform. This is about responsibility.

It is my responsibility to pay for my coverage. I keep this responsibility due to the health care costs I will incur should I let my coverage expire. I simply cannot afford the effects of going without even basic insurance coverage, even if I am only twenty-nine years old. Unfortunately, I really understood this when my parents rushed me to the emergency room a few weeks ago with stroke symptoms. The bills that have come as a result nearly sent me there again. I have health insurance and still owe a substantial amount of money for something which I don’t even remember all the details. Here again, I am responsible for paying my bills.

Why has responsibility become something that is debatable? Bills must be paid and paychecks must be given for work that must be done. If I do not pay a bill, I will either have service interrupted, something will be repossessed, and possibly a third-party will intervene. This is what Sponge Bob’s grandmother meant when she told him going to work late would not be the adult thing to do. You are an adult. And adults must meet their responsibilities. However, what I have witnessed from my beloved country is exactly the opposite of what responsible adults in positions of leadership must do. We watched as you, the leaders, slaughtered the basic fundamentals of a fully functional government, only to sacrifice principles on the altar of selfish pride and obscene political theatre. Well, since I see that you missed this when you left your home states, you all represent ONE nation, indivisible—not your parties, divided to conquer.

At some point, you will answer to the people who live in this nation. I know that many of you say you understand us, but let me remind you of the real people who you all represent on Capital Hill:

My uncle, who lives in a personal care home because he cannot stay on his own, and my grandmother who has lost the ability to care for him;

My cousins and two dear friends, who have devoted their lives to defend our great nation from harm;

My two sisters and I, who without federal student aide, would not have gone to college (and finished with honors);

And my parents, who both work for our state government.

We don’t care for your reasons of not working together. We don’t want to hear the excuse you will give us in the next few hours for the crude word vomit you threw around in your respective chambers. We don’t want to hear the reasons you don’t agree with a bill, a law, or even parts of a law. What we want, we may not even get until you decide to finally do the job for which you were elected…I mean hired. We want you, the should-be responsible leaders, to get your respective acts together and leave the extreme sides of the aisle. What we actually get are Sith Lords that hide in the shadows of political buffoonery. You seem to think that sound-bite issues and hate-filled speeches equate to actual legislation. As Yoda would say, “Forgotten your purpose, you have.”

Many of us may remember that Article I, section 1 of the Constitution states that legislative power is vested in Congress. Vested. Trusted and secured. Hmm, do you think you’ve understood and remembered that in the last three years? Well, there is something else, my dear leaders of this nation, that you have forgotten; Generation Y is coming of Article I age. When we read that we are members chosen […] by the people, and elected by the people, we will take our respective offices with the humility that we are servants to this nation, not to portions of our political parties. In other words, we can now run against you. So, just as you tell us when you do not offer benefits for our part-time jobs that have full-time hours: Do the job or get replaced. It is your responsibility and we the people have grown tired of your long, non-working lunches.

Signed,

We, the (younger) People

Leave Your Yesterdays and Look Ahead

Last October I attended my ten-year high school reunion. I reconnected with old friends and we shared pictures, laughs and stories from what now seems like a fading dream. Many of us had not seen each other in years but it began to feel as if it had only been a few weeks. Understandably, I began to think about my past.

Later that night I flipped through my senior yearbook. As I looked through the signatures, sweet notes, and photos, I began to feel a mix of nostalgia and guilt. There I was at seventeen, staring back with a slight smile, an awkward build, and naïvely awaiting the possibilities of life ahead. I thought of the dreams this seventeen-year-old version of me had and I began to realize that I let her down. The goals she fought for have not come to pass and many seem to have stalled out along the way. What would she say if I told her she was still broke, single, childless, trying to earn a degree and a little socially awkward?

As many of my friends and I draw closer to this impossibly frightening milestone of thirty, there is the temptation to compare ourselves not to each other, but to our former selves. It is very easy to look back and think, “I wish I could have…” or “Why didn’t…?” However, what we always miss in these questions is the present purpose of our life. It is true that we must run our race without looking to others, but I believe we must also be careful when comparing our present to out past. We do not wake up one day and suddenly we’re adults. Growth and maturity is a gradual process cultivated through the trials that we have endured along the way without giving up.

I look back to my twenties as I approach this threshold with the knowledge that everything I have experienced has only served to prepare me for this next decade of life. It is in this coming age that I truly hope to get married and have children. Of course I could have been married, had a child or two and settled by now. Sure I could have begged on my knees for a guy to stay with me. Maybe I could have surrendered not only my intrinsic values but sacrificed the fabric of who I am all in hopes of “keeping a man.” There is even the slight shame of explaining to one grandparent why I am not in a relationship, what I plan to do about it, and when will someone please give birth to a male great-grandchild in her lifetime.

However, if I listen to all of this and internalize it without a frame of reference, I lose the lessons my twenties taught me. Yeah, I could have even become desperate and gone out with a guy that I knew was not my type, actually liked my sister, and really only wanted one thing all in the name of “saving my eggs”, but I did not and I never will.

And neither should you.

Fear has a way of forcing us into a corner and making decisions that will hurt us much more in the future than the present. Fear can magnify an insignificant bump into a large mountain that we think is the end of our journey. Fear can make a last resort seem like the only option. Fear is real, it is powerful, and should not be taken with flippant pride. Looking at these options from a rational mind paints them in the radical and extreme lights in which they are shaded. I do not regret the detours because they help us to avoid large potholes, road construction, or even worse, an unfinished bridge. Should God bless me with a family, I now have more patience and love for those future children, not resentment that they will keep me from something I think is greater or better. Should God bless me to reach my career goals, I have more compassion and understanding for the people coming behind me to help lift them to my level. I would like to think these lessons would have come no matter what road that seventeen-year-old had taken, but I am not wise enough to make this statement. The sun has already set on yesterday and we do not know if the sun will rise tomorrow. We only have this present time in our possession. Learning from our past is advantageous, but we cannot become consumed with thoughts of regret and wishes for former futures not reached. If that seventeen-year-old had done everything her way, many of the lessons learned and people who crossed her path through the past twelve years would not have come. The road ahead will present itself with enough to tend to. It is all that we can do but to move forward and stay in drive. The rearview mirror is for looking back and unless you are in reverse, it doesn’t do anyone on the road any good for you to continue watching what is behind you.

“We are Living Single”

There was a discussion yesterday evening I had in a bible class that lead to this topic. I love this message because it gets lost when we become anxious and nervous about things yet to come. We begin to look around and we often lose our focus on the present time we are in. God calls us to live without worry, without care, and without want for anything. If you are still single at a certain age, be of good courage and continue to serve God in Faith without despair or want for another human being. It gets tough at times, but don’t live in despair because what you see and want are not coming “fast enough” or you feel like you are “running out of time”. And to my wonderful fellow “single ladies” of our generation: please remember that you are single until marriage, no matter how boo’d up you think you are. This is a time of preparation, so be sure you are using it wisely. Let go of the fear and be sure that you prepare your life, your mind and your heart to not only love that person, but to allow them to truly love you in turn.
Peace and love
-KTE

The video above is from http://www.youtube.com/user/chaseGodtv. Check out his channel, it has some great nuggets of gold.

Things ain’t what they used to be…

When I was younger, I developed a love for jazz. I know very few twelve-year-old girls that spend their Saturday afternoons looking for Duke Ellington music for fun. However, I was that girl in the mid-nineties BEFORE my parents invested in Internet access. I would listen to my dad’s CD collection of everything from Duke Ellington to contemporary jazz. It sounds rather archaic when you consider how easy it was to find the video below. Thinking of that young girl reminds me that things really aren’t what they used to be. The life we knew growing up 15-20 years ago is vastly different from the world our children will experience. If I could write a letter to my past self, I would warn her of the road ahead. I would tell her of the pitfalls, dangers and potholes she would encounter. I would tell her to make a hard left at a bad relationship, to go to another school and to be more patient in deciding her future career. I don’t think letters written by some of my friends would be very different. We all seem to be nearing a crossing of two roads. The intersection for many is at “Adulthood” and “Regret”. I sometimes wish for a time machine to fix the past and erase my mistakes so that I may wipe away the memories that haunt my dreams. I wish for more time in the present to prepare for a future because of those things I failed to do in the past. However, what we fail to see is that the past has taught and shaped our adulthood, whether for better or worse. My past has taught me to be patient and how to recognize the seedlings of a relationship just not worth the trouble and time I will never recover. The trials I have endured and the setbacks I have encountered have made me stronger and wiser. So, although things are not what they used to be, remember they could be worse; we could be at this time of life without an iPod (or Zune) to fill in the soundtrack.

We Need A Hero

“We Need a Hero”

Back in November, the Occupy/99% movement gained momentum on the campus of UC-Davis. Although a movement with political roots, the face of this movement has been generation Y. Even if one does not agree with the protests, the vast majority of those involved are peaceful and nonviolent in their actions. With this in mind, the events that occurred on the campus of UC-Davis were seen as unacceptable.

Eleven protestors (all college aged) were pepper sprayed in the face and on the body for reasons unclear; they were not resisting arrest, they were non-violent, and they were not disturbing the general peace. Although not every protest has been as peaceful in its intentions, this group was not blocking a major intersection or interfering with bank business. These were simply fed-up members of generation Y taking a stand.

Why am I bringing up this “old news” now? Because no one else is and it is Super Tuesday. Over the past few months, political gun shots have been taken at everyone from those on public assistance, those in college, those that went to college, those that didn’t go to college, minorities, women, and just about anyone that does not represent the person making the comment.

It was last week, however, when obscene comments were made by Rush Limbaugh about Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student, that the gun shots turned to grenades. (I do not wish to repeat the words or the story here, so if you are unfamiliar, running a search for “Sandra Fluke” will get you an ear full).

Listening to the conversation that has been generated in the media, there is a bullet point that stands out the most: who will be the leader for this generation? It is only within reason when one takes a deeper look into the issues surrounding the elections this year that this would be a question asked by generations above us. Reproductive rights and student loan debt are hardly the issues a fifty-something man would be best equipped to discuss with passion. However, this is what we see when we look out to the political landscape; middle-aged, financially stable men telling a generation of young people how best to live their lives and attempting to make such advice law. As I continue to listen to the rhetoric, I am oddly reminded of the original Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. Yes, I said it. If you are a member of this generation you should remember this campy, feel good show and its wonderfully catchy tunes such as “We need a hero” by Ron Wasserman. (uploaded here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kapmx8Ecza8)

It is in the words of this song that I see the reasons behind generation Y’s passion for these movements and issues.  We are looking for a hero to change the world into the nostalgic dream of good triumphing against evil that we remember from our comics and superheroes. We see ourselves on the threshold of leadership and the realization of this dream, yet we are constantly met with opposition. It seems that we continue to reach out to the generations above us for recognition and reassurance only to pull back an empty hand. I can only hope that as we age and get closer to the time when we can take offices such as Senate and even President, we will find a hero that will understand this fight. I hope that we let not age bring arrogance, but wisdom and understanding of the generation behind ourselves. For now, we must keep dreaming of this world where all is good.  However, instead of looking for a hero, it is time for us to become the heroes for the generations behind us.

For those to lazy to listen to the link, here are the words:

“We Need A Hero” by Ron Wasserman

No, we cannot see/Who are we to look to         

No, we cannot hear/What is to believe in        

And we keep dreaming of a world where all is good     

So we were told, “We need a hero”  

And we keep dreaming of a time

Where good is all that we can find

We need a…hero

 

No we cannot tell/Who’s the one to lead us

But you know that we’ll be there

Waiting for them to find us.

And we keep dreaming of a world where all is good

So we were told, “We need a hero”       

And we keep dreaming of a time

Where good is all that we can find

We need a…hero