Youthful Angst…

Written a couple days ago in response to the riots in London and elsewhere…non-work Internet has been down for a while…

In many respects, I fear we may be the lost generation.  We have greater access to education and information than any of group that has come before us.  We are more mobile and connected to the world around us.  And we are constantly proving through our ideas and actions that we are definitely much smarter than our parents.  And yet, we are inheriting a world in such flux with such dynamic insecurity that even the basic task of finding our place in it seems to be our greatest challenge…

With more knowledge of the opportunities enjoyed by others outside our communities and with and higher demands for our own quality of life we are constantly finding ourselves disappointed and unable to meet our expectations.  While our education is strong, our economies lack the jobs necessary to fulfill our newfound skill sets and our very prospects of settling down and raising a family amid such uncertainty appears for many of us to be a fleeting dream.  While we live in a truly multicultural society, the walls we have built around us appear to only be getting higher and higher as we are constantly finding ourselves stuck more and more within our small, ethnically homogeneous communities while trying to find our way. Thus, armed with our sense of entitlement and desire for something more, we find it necessary to riot in the streets and make our social protest known whether it be in London, Athens, Damascus, Cairo, Casablanca, Dublin, Gaza, Tel Aviv, or New York.  We are restless, impatient, fatally idealistic, a bit too full of ourselves, and determined not to let the system of our fathers control the course of our lives…even if it means breaking down some of the very systems we have benefitted from through the course of our youth…

It is true that every generation goes through this period of youthful angst, yet the scale and the magnitude of our challenge seems much greater than any that has come before.  As we grow older and try to find our place in this world I deeply wonder whether it will continue to have any space for our dreams and our ambitions.  We will surely push every envelope and take on any risk with the blind audacity that only comes with youth, but how many of us will be fatally disappointed by the realities we come to see?  How many of us will be so disheartened by the setbacks we face that we will give up on our ideals and withdraw from the world we hope to build?  How many of us will fall along the way to building our dreams, overcome by the walls we just cannot break down in our time? And what success, if any, will we enjoy from the fruits of our pure determination and desire to change our world?

Being young gives us the pure ability to dream, untainted by many of the cold realities and commitments that come later in life.  It is this which makes us such great catalysts for change.  And yet, as we lack the maturity to fully see the consequences of our actions we are often deeply mislead by our own ideals and ambitions.  As we move into a time of great protests and riots led by our peers throughout this world I only hope that we can come to grips with our own reality.  We need ambition and audacity, but we also need to overcome our youthful angst and impatience in order to see the world we wish to build and, more importantly, the path we must take to get there.  While it’s always easy to rise against the injustices of our world, actually solving its problems requires a bit more foresight and patience…

Given time, I hope we can build the world we must for the sake of our children.  We have far more tools than any of our parents could have possibly dreamed of at this age, yet in many ways, we have much greater odds stacked against us.  Rebuilding our world will take time, sweat, a good amount of blood, and a great deal if patience and yet it is the only way we can truly move forward at this present time.  While many of us will fail to realize our personal dreams of financial security, a stable family, and personal enjoyment and self-fulfillment, we can at least get a little bit closer as a generation than our parents before us.  And given time, we can rise out of our personal darkness and the ashes of our decaying societies and develop the sustainable systems and structures we will need for the world to come.  Despite all the hardships and stress we must endure, with good work we can at least promise that our children’s generation might not be quite as lost.

As for my personal mission, while I currently enjoy a rather comfortable and secure existence relative to many of my peers thanks to the decisions I have made during my youth, the sacrifices I have dealt with, and any number of great strategic coincidences that have occurred during my life, I cannot retreat from my overall mission of building the world my children deserve—as that is truly the only great purpose I have found in this temporary existence on planet Earth—and trying to lift up my peers to the best of my abilities. While I will always be a pure American, I cannot remove myself from the problems of my world and must keep an open mind in searching for their solutions.  While I have overcome most of my youth-driven angst and adolescent stupidity, I am still no stranger to bad decisions and must do what I can to overcome my own personal insecurities.  Life’s journey is all about finding your own wayand realizing the full potential of your own talents and in that respect, my initial work is far from complete.  I only hope that as I continue this work that I will continue to find enough good people to come with me…if for no other reason than I have come to realize both the fragility of my existence on this planet and the limits of my own resources and experiences.  In the end, we are all in this game together…let’s try to build something that lasts.

Here’s to the magic of youth…May God help our generation and though you may be struggling in the streets, find peace in the understanding that you are not alone.  We’ll figure this out together…



12 AUG 2011, 2100 AST, Orgun-E, Paktika, Afghanistan



About briangdonnelly

I'm pretty much a random traveler and free thinker. Right now I live and work with the Army in North Carolina. I grew up in Missouri but am from the northeast US and have traveled a lot with the Army and life in general so I can't say I really have a "home" except where I chose to catch a few hours or rack each day. Overall, life is pretty awesome and I'm looking forward to changing the world. Hit me up if you care... Peace, Brian
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