Monday, June 4, 2012

Generation Impatient

Now. Everything has to be done now. This person must be contacted now. The e-mail must be sent now. The SMS must be read now. The pot noodles must be cooked now. The multi-GB file must be downloaded now. The photo must be snapped, edited and uploaded now. This must be watched now. This must be read now. This must be shared now. We must be heard now. Generation Y has become one very impatient generation. It all has to be immediate or we do not waste our time with it. We want things to be done 'yesterday before today'. We have such high expectations with our own personal productivity. Because of all this instant access and connectivity are we able to finish a multi-page report in one day. Imagine what it would have been like having to search through library catalogues  and books to get information and actually having to write things down…..! We don't even search for information anymore, we wait for it to come to us. Even worse still is when we believe everything that lands on our Twitter or Facebook homepage. We rush through our lives and get thrown from one phase of our lives to another so violently we forget to just live.

(Comedian Louis CK on Conan O'Brien a couple years back, talking about just how spoiled and demanding we have become as a human race. One of those that-is-so-true-I-feel-pathetic moments)

Our beloved Middle Eastern societies almost do not allow the youth to be young, almost as if it is taboo. Why can’t we be young and foolish? Why can’t we just take life day-by-day and just live out our days without much care or concern? Yes, we will fall. Yes, we will fumble. Yes, we may even get lost. But we will eventually get back up and fumble our way back. Pushing us from one huge decision to the next will not create resistance (yet), but we will always feel like we missed out on something. One day we will look back and realize our youth has been squandered. That is the case especially if one has decided to marry a little too soon. Funny thing is, thanks to the very little change in the judging minds of our kin, instead of allowing our children to experience what we missed out on, we just let the cycle continue. 

I will be fair here and say sometimes it is the young and foolish who rush into marriage with very little external pressure or force (if anything they encounter pressure not to marry!). True to the forms of this generation it wants to find love and marital bliss NOW. I have seen more than a few marriages where all I can think of was ‘would it have killed you to wait just one year?!’ (when hopefully by then they would have realized that perhaps they were most likely going into it for the wrong reasons?). There are even those who I actually believe are perfect for each other, but the timing just was not right and they faced many hardships because they got married too soon (rather, too young). After all, what’s one extra year to get your bearings straight when you’re considering a life together? Marriage is definitely something that cannot be rushed into, regardless of what century we’re in. We are not living a Midsummer Night's Dream; there is no magical potion that makes us fall in love with the first thing we see. Our kids don't need that potion, they do it all on their own! Let's think reasonably here; can you honestly believe you struck it lucky with the first girl/guy you just so happened to get along with?

I found that sometimes the problem occurs when being swept away by the long-awaited marriage. Ideally, pre-marital relationships are seen as taboo. So when something official comes along the horizon, the young and foolish rejoice at the chance to finally hold hands and call each other 'baby' with parental consent! They get so caught up in this whirlwind romance that they do not adequately address the necessary issues one should when considering a life partner. Either one or both sides put up an act - a performance deserving of a gold statue or globe of sorts - as to not jeopardize their chances at finally hitting the societal jackpot of marriage, the epitome of success (at least right up to the wedding, then you're a failure again unless you start cranking dem babies). Very little thought is given to what happens beyond that, once people stop applauding your marital accomplishment. And that is why some people believe that 'traditional' marriage is flawed. Marriage will be flawed, regardless of how you meet, if you do not approach it with the right frame of mind. The battle of traditional marriage vs marriage for love in our society seems to get worse, but I want to bring peace in the Middle East regarding this battle. Perhaps this point I will expand on later in another post.

Patience, my fellow Arab youth, patience. Don't get antsy and restless when you see those around you getting married one by one. Don't let a moment of weakness or two lead you to rush into something so life-altering. Your time will come when the universe decides you are good and ready, if that day should ever come! Don't waste away your days waiting for that day, hopefully it will come in due time. All you need to do until then is just continue on your merry way, experience what else life has to offer beyond a wife/husband and kids, discover who it is you are and what it is you really want out of life. You will be a better spouse and parent for it. The more you experience of life, the more you see of the world, the more you can give back. The more you know what you want in a life partner, the better spouse you can be to your partner. The more decisive you become in how you would want to raise your children, the better you are able to raise them. Focus on loving YOU, raising YOU, become YOU, before you can think to give your love to others.

Have faith. Live. Laugh. Love.