Look. The world you will grow up in is not the same one that Grammy and Papa & Nana raised me in. This is true for every generation, but I hate the reality of it.
You are growing up in a world over saturated with information and connectivity. You’ll think social networking is the norm. Your life will have a digital profile… one that I contribute to by posting your photos. You’ll have a cell phone most of your life. You’ll never know a crank window in the car. Video games and movies will be surreal and full of mixed messages. Daytime television will have replays of adult shows. Really adult shows. You won’t get books in school, but you’ll have iPads. You have Miley Cyrus and twerking. We had Madonna, but she was badass. There is a whole lot of sensation for sensation’s sake happening these days. And it is getting the attention it is fishing for. There will be live video of the world’s horrors and triumphs… but mostly horrors. Captured by camera phones. A mobility that didn’t exist when I was young. Your news will be painted in a certain picture and not arbitrary. And frankly, days like today, I don’t know if I can hide the worry I feel when I turn on the news and see a shooting in the Capital.
As much as I hate to admit it, the world has gone a little crazy. Whether it was always this way and we grew up simply sheltered… I don’t know. But this year… this calendar year hurts my heart. Newtown, the Boston Marathon Bombings, a government shut down, and today a shooting in the capital. All of this compiled with the natural problems we face (floods, tornados, droughts), the good fights (living wage, civil rights, equailtiy), and the run-of-the-mill bad people floating around (robbers, predators, punks). For all the wonderful in our lives… there lurks some scary stuff around the corner.
I don’t know the answers to the world’s problems. I don’t expect you to either. All you can do is be a good person. In the end, we simply have to hope that it is enough. Use common sense. Spend time with those you love. Give your friendship freely. Be strong enough to take it back from those who don’t recipricate it. Judge people by their actions and not their appearance. Take care to pay more attention to what a person does– instead of what they say. Trust your inner voice. If it feels wrong, don’t do it. Love your body. You are beautiful. Don’t doubt that. Help others. Speak up. For yourself and for those who can’t be heard. Don’t let bad things just happen. Do your best to stop them. In the end, the fact your tried is what will matter. Donate your time. Work hard. Do the things you love. Keep it in your pants. Have a tantrum, cry till eyes ache, curse the world– and get over it. We all lose hope, our tempers, and our faith in the world. How you react in these moments will define your character. Apologize if needed. Forgive yourself if it wasn’t a great moment. Try to do better next time. You are loved. You don’t have to be one way or another. Love who you want. Just make sure they deserve your affection. Everything else (their color, their gender, if you can wear heels) is secondary.
In a world that’s out of balance, the only things you can do is try to anchor yourself. Be as bright a light as you can be. If the world is out of control darlings, you have to be in control of yourselves.