by Cody J. Elms
Four years in the making, and I still am learning.
As I approach my son’s fourth birthday, I can’t help but think about the old adage of how time flies. However, I feel like flies is an understatement these days. More like time moves at the rate of the Millennium Falcon making the Kessel run in under 12 parsecs. If you’re not a Star Wars fan, that is really really fast!
Nevertheless, while viewing the ever so dangerous section of Memories on Facebook the other day, I was pleasantly surprised to see a video of when my son still had a solid collection of binkies. He would fire these binkies out of his mouth one-by-one over Grandma’s couch, and then run back to gather them up and do it all over again. He shot them out like Nerf darts. Ironically, for his birthday this year, we will be having a Nerf Battle Party. New projectile, new launcher, same maniacal laughter.
The upcoming foam dart assault aside, the video brought forth a realization of how odd time seems to work when raising a child. Children in this country are extremely blessed with the benefit of innocence. From binkies to Nerf guns, they are, in most cases, able to grow up to the age of adolescence without having anything to worry or stress about beyond where a lost toy is or why we aren’t allowed to watch PJ Masks until 11 o’clock at night. Most may hear bits and pieces of current headlines, political chatter, or sporting events, but ultimately, they lack the real capacity or responsibility to comprehend the affects that any of those things have on the day-to-day lives of people.
Couple this with the fact that my son has literally no concept of time and you have the perfect definition of living one’s best life. He understands tomorrow, unless he takes a nap, and then that even becomes a little dicey. His basic understanding comes down to whether it is light or dark outside. In a way, I envy him. A day, a week, or a month means nothing to him. He’s just living life. An innocent, worry free life. If he has a bad day, it isn’t a bad day, it’s just a bad time that magically goes away after he wakes up. Us, however, we tend to let bad days bleed into one another and quickly they become bad weeks, and more often than we’d like to openly admit, this accumulates so much that we chalk it up to a bad year and come January assume the new year will be different.
But is it ever truly different?
It is an optimistic approach we have gotten into the habit of having, but the actuality is that if we don’t change how we view one day, how could we possible expect to change how we handle an entire year?
No one can predict the future with detailed accuracy, but some aspects are always true. You will always face adversity. You will always encounter individuals who do not have your best interest in mind. You will always struggle at some point, whether it be financially, physically, mentally, or socially. The who, what, when, where, and why of the future is not as important as identifying, or better yet admitting, that there will be more bad days ahead.
Where we can learn from our children, is by not allowing a bad day to create a bad week, month, year, or lifetime. It is vastly more difficult for us, as we have responsibilities well beyond that of a child, but if we view each day in isolation, as a singular entity, as often as possible, the task does not seem to be nearly as daunting.
I think it is important to reflect frequently and not avoid the negative parts of your day. So many components that make up our days can be better dealt with or corrected by us personally, yet we far to regularly revert directly to feeling helpless or encompassing the role of the victim. Not every day has or will be great, but there is great in every day if you are looking for it. When you find those moments, remember them. They are your hold points of the past. Even if time for adults moves at a rapid pace, if we have these points, we have the ability to slow it down, even briefly to appreciate what has come and gone. My son doesn’t remember whining or crying last week, but he does remember that game we played, or that book we read. He is doing what adults struggle to do without even trying. Day by day, positive moment by positive moment, and before you know it, you’ll have a good year. Hell, maybe even a great one!
So, for me, the last four years has flown by yet these frozen moments have kept me feeling like my own Doomsday clock was just moved seconds from midnight. Since my son came into this world, I left one job for a new job and somewhere in there stopped writing for a local newspaper. I became an uncle for the eighth time, saw a couple women come and go, gained a little weight, lost a little hair, socialized a bit more, became a Mason, and learned how insanely uncomfortable turnout gear is to wear. I had a very bad year, followed by a not so bad year, and then a couple of pretty good ones. I’ve seen people live longer than you’d expect, and for that I am thankful that the world got to enjoy them a little bit more, but I have also seen some pass away far too soon, and for that I am grateful for my own health and continued opportunities.
Four years may feel like four minutes ago, but at times it feels like forever ago. It just depends on the days I think back on as I mentally travel through time to January 29th, 2016. So, for his fourth birthday, I only wish for him to have a good day. Which I know he will, because he has unknowingly taught me, happiness isn’t defined by time, but your approach each day can define your time on earth.
by Cody J. Elms
We are surrounded by and consumed with numbers. They are truly universal. Most of the time these numbers are what they are. A numerical value or representation of something very black and white. However, occasionally, there are numbers that have more depth to them. The signify something meaningful, powerful, and sometimes tragic. They carry more weight. They hold us up, break us down, push us forward, and help us remember. With Kobe Bryant’s passing, some may believe that it’s just another athlete or celebrity leaving this world too soon, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
8 & 24 – Kobe Bryant dawned the number 8 upon his entry into the NBA. The 8 Kobe was hungry, he was young, and he was determined to prove that despite coming into the league as an 18-year-old kid fresh out of high school, that he didn’t just belong in the NBA, he was there to make an impact. This Kobe had doubters about whether he could do it. Then this Kobe, number 8 Kobe did it. The number 24 Kobe was a different animal. He was growth and leadership. This Kobe was not going to be defined by making it, he wanted to be defined by owning it. Kobe Bryant while wearing the number 24 was determined to be one of the greatest to ever play the game. His new doubters said he couldn’t win it all without Shaq, then he did…twice.
Both versions of Kobe Bryant carry a different meaning and a different message. This is why so many athletes and people in general find inspiration from Kobe. Few players have been able to have a hard line between their different eras of play, but Kobe managed to not just do that with the number change, but with his character development and growth as an athlete. Today, both numbers are retired by the Los Angeles Lakers.
81 – In a comeback victory over the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant scored 81 points to be only the second NBA player of all time to cross the 80-point threshold, behind only Wilt Chamberlain who put up 100. The performance was one that has only become more incredible and impressive with time. It’s been over a decade since that game, and yet no one, not even Lebron or Curry have put on such a show. The accolade itself is something of legend, but it was Kobe’s mindset during the game, that was always who he was.
Recently Kobe Bryant told ESPN.com, “It’s really a testament to the power of imagination, honestly. There’s a log of players who come up now who don’t think 80 points is possible. You think 50, and if you’re really hot – 60. I never had that limit. Ever. I never, ever thought that way. I always thought 80 was possible. I thought 90 was possible. I thought 100 was possible. Always. I think that game is a testament to what happens when you put no ceiling to what you’re capable of doing.”
When people ask why is this player, this celebrity, so different, that quote would be your answer. All a young kid, whether he or she wants to be an athlete, a doctor, a teacher, or the President, needs to see is what allowed Kobe to mentally overcome all of the imaginary barriers. For decades, no one did what Kobe did that night in 2006, and for potentially decades more no one will again. There was no guarantee that Kobe Bryant would accomplish what he did, but he know from day one that it was possible, and that was all he needed to get to work. That was all the younger generation watching then and those re-watching now will ever need.
13 – As far as deeper meanings, this may be the number that is affecting people the most. Gianna “Gigi” Bryant was Kobe’s second oldest daughter, and what some would call his basketball heir. She was just 13-years old. Few in the public would be able to responsibly explain the details of their bond, but from what the public has seen, it was much more than basketball. Just a few months after Kobe’s 81-point game, Gigi came into this world. Just days after that same 81-point game’s 14-year anniversary, she has left it. It was no coincidence that in her lifetime, her father developed from a player on the Lakers into an icon around the world. It was never because of what he won; it was because who he had become. Becoming a parent will change you forever. It adds an unexplainable element to your very existence. This is the case for so many incredible and driven parents that I have been fortunate enough to know in my lifetime. Each and every one of them will reference their children as their reason for striving, for believing, for trying desperately to make the world a better place for their children to grow up in. Even if their impact is small. They give them that push to be a better person, to set an example. The endgame is always important, but the work put in to get to that point will always have more of an impact on the eyes watching us. Gigi saw this hard work in her father, and as we have seen in videos shared across social media in the past 24 hours, and will for days to come, she was on the same path, with the same Mamba Mentality. She was truly her father’s daughter.
I have a child. I have nieces and nephews. The loss of someone so young in something we hear in disbelief. Along with Gigi, there were two other teammates of hers that also passed away in the accident. Three kids. Three aspiring athletes. Three souls taken far too soon. Whether it is 13 or 41, Sunday afternoons tragedy reminded us all that our time here on earth is limited. We sometimes see age as just a number, but today it means so much more. We are not immortal, but our presence can be.
Gianna and Kobe Bryant should and will be present in spirit for generations to come. Not just as basketball players. Not just as father and daughter. But as fighters, leaders, motivators, and believers. We all won’t impact the world like them, but this serves as a reminder that we may be the world to someone else. Today, the numbers are more than a value, they are a life, a love, and legacy.
by Cody J. Elms
I am no expert on women. To be honest, in some areas I probably know less now at 32 than I did 20 years ago, yet in others I have been enlightened. Partially because of the increased number of females in my family, and partially because of various women’s issues that have been the topics of campaigns and news coverage for most of my adult life. So, when it comes to who should be a role model for young women, ultimately it is not up to a man to decide who is appropriate and who not, however I do have an opinion that I hope will make its way to the right eyes to take into consideration when assessing their own future and identity.
This week, we were introduced to the first ever photograph of a black hole. This wasn’t just some space photo, this was a 55 million light-year away photograph of a black hole that was at the center of gigantic galaxy name Messier 87, which is part of the Virgo galaxy cluster, and was captured because of an algorithm that a California Institute of Technology assistant professor created. Katie Bouman, a 29-year-old Indiana native who attended and graduated from the University of Michigan and then Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to ultimately go on to join the Harvard University Event Horizon Telescope Imaging team.
I won’t get into the algorithm itself because I am vastly under-qualified to even try to explain it, but I will drop another name; Margaret Hamilton.
I am not the first person to put these two women in the same context. Last week there had been countless articles written about the two. You see, Margaret Hamilton isn’t just another woman. No, in the science world, she is one of THE women. A computer scientist and systems engineer that not only coined the term, “software engineer,” she led an MIT team for NASA in the development of in-flight software for Apollo, which included the command module and lunar lander. Hamilton went on to have many successes in life, including receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom given by then President Barack Obama in 2016.
It is important to educate ourselves and the young people in our lives of the journeys and accomplishments of women throughout history. For far too long, women such as Margaret Hamilton were overshadowed or forgotten because of throwback stigmas, misogyny, and inaccurate portrayals of historic events, while the more glamorous, sexual, and proactive side of women was brought to the forefront.
I don’t believe it is necessarily bad to look up to a certain artist or entertainer, whether it is music, movies, fashion, etc., but I do think there are particular benefits to women as a whole to start inspiring now more than ever, the young women of our nation to become supporters and followers of historically impactful women who not only defied the times, but also in many cases permanently changed the world. These examples are not just regulated to science. There have been women who have stood up for women’s rights, women who were sometimes the lone female voice in a governmental body full of men, women who were the first to climb the ranks in the military, and many more. The examples are truly endless. Which is why these women should be shared and known just as equally as the women in entertainment are now.
As an adult that was born in the 80s, was a kid in the 90s, and a teenager during the infancy years of this century, when I reflect on entertainers that held not just their hierarchy in influence, but also their relevancy among the masses, there aren’t many names to list. That includes both male and female entertainers. I could say the same about influential women that are not entertainers but is it because they did not have a long-standing impact on the world, or is it because the world did not accredit them properly from the beginning? Perhaps that is worth exploring, but what I do know is, once you start digging into many of today’s technologies, freedoms, and ways of life, there seems to always be the common theme of strong, intelligent, independent women actively involved.
Regardless of whom young women decide to model themselves after or who inspires them, it is important that they choose wisely and for the right reasons. Young women often times are still facing an uphill battle, and this can result in them dreaming of the easy path to success even if that means they sacrifice their pride, self-respect, or morals and values. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles can certainly guide them. I advise adults to not just wait and hope for the best when young women begin to look to the horizon for their role models, because commercialized society will try desperately to lead them down a cheap and empty road from an early age. Simply put, buy following in the footsteps of the women who came before them that forged a path of achievement, strength, and liberation, while concurrently creating the platform they have today, they will be able to lead future generations of women into tomorrow and beyond.
by Cody J. Elms
He no longer has that baby face we’ve known since January of 2016. He’s wearing undies over diapers. He’s able to turn on the lights, brush his own teeth, and has started writing letters. “No, I do it,” has become a regular request, and typically results with him in fact doing it all by himself. It is time for me to just accept that as much fun as the first two years were, he is leaving the Terrific Two’s and is headed full steam into just being our crazy little kid.
This crazy little kid, who is roughly 80 percent potty-trained and very rarely gets sick, peed on me this past week. Then followed that up a couple days later by vomiting literally all over his mother. It is fun. No really, it is extremely fun. However, it wouldn’t be possible had differences, personal agendas, and emotions not be set aside.
There will always be things that happen in a parent’s life that will challenge them. Things will not go as planned, and often times they go so far off of script that some parents feel lost or misguided. One of the more prominent occurrences of this is when parents plan to have a child, but are simply unable to make the relationship work. Thankfully in modern times, the stigma of such situations has all but vanished, but that does not mean the difficulties aren’t there.
I am not a professional nor am I highly educated in this field, but I am experienced, and to me, given that everyone’s situation is different, despite what the individuals around them may tell them while they’re going through it, that sometimes carries a little more weight and logic than educated guesses.
The reason I feel that way is because there is one thing that will always remain the same, regardless of the people involved, the events of the past, or the highs and lows, and that is that your child or children will always need your love and support.
Following the birth of my son, and after a rocky and honestly uncomfortable beginning, we adapted to the situation. Although it was difficult, we adapted nevertheless. We aren’t perfect, and we certainly don’t ever anticipate to always agree, but in what reality do parents ever always agree? Yet my goal, and her goal are one in the same. To create a world where he will know nothing but love and support. A world where his success will be applauded and his failures will be consoled.
Both of us have found our own respective significant others who have come into our son’s life and bought into our plan fully. Which brings me to the main point of my writing today, that love and support is contagious.
Yes, for you Hard Knocks watchers, I am somewhat stealing this from Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry, as I am a fan of the Dawg Pound. Nevertheless, the word describes what I have witnessed with my own eyes. So, stolen or not, contagious it is.
Because we both displayed our devotion to this environment we were building for our son, our partners were able to not just see it, they were able to help build it, and experience it along with our son. Where there were two, now there are four.
The result? Well, after I was peed on, and his mother vomited on, our son hugged us in both instances. He apologized without being told to. He felt bad. Even though both weren’t his fault in the least bit and there was nothing to apologize for. He showed compassion, empathy, and understanding. In his three short years of life, he has already displayed to us what we hoped he would; Love and support.
He has watched us, heard us, lived with us, and has absorbed it all. From her home to my home, from my family to her family, he has been engulfed with everyone’s unique ways to show him love and support. It is not the structure of his family, but rather the doctrine of it. The unwritten fundamentals and ideology by which he is being raised, that can only be effective if they are true.
As a family, all of us will have our ups and downs. There will be bumps in the road. He will at times be mad at each one of us individually and collectively. He will like one better than the other on many occasions. I am certain of it, but that is what happens when raising a child. Still, after the bad days, the moments of disappointment, and any other adverse occurrence, he will know that love and support was there from the beginning and will be until the end.
by Cody J. Elms
After a longer than I'm comfortable admitting period of writer's block, the voice inside my mind that has always guided the words that I type began to speak again. Faint, perhaps not as boisterous as it once was, but speak it did. Although it's strength may not have returned to it's fullest, with practice, it will once again flow ebulliently. Given the new year, and what lies ahead, I have a feeling inspiration will come at me like a freight train.
You could call this the calm before the storm. A brief moment of peace before all hell breaks loose and the 2020 Presidential Election campaigning begins to take over every facet of our lives. It may seem as though I am jumping the gun here, however the average announcement date for President of the United States from the last four elections, is approximately 531 days before election day, with Hillary Clinton announcing 577 days before the 2016 election, and Barack Obama announcing 633 days before the 2008 election. Going by these numbers, we are looking at business really starting to pick up around the middle of May this year. May 22, 2019 is exactly 531 days prior to the Tuesday, November 3rd Election Day. However, if we were to go off of Obama’s announcement date, we could be looking at as early as the beginning of February. Currently, the incumbent, Donald Trump has said he plans to run, but I don’t particularly count that as an announcement as it was expected. In addition to Trump’s expected run, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) kind of announced she was running on December 31, 2018 by issuing a Twitter statement that she was launching an exploratory committee for the office.
All of that fun factual and yes, kind of boring information is indeed leading to something. The Presidential Elections of this century are growing stale, dividing more with every four years, and have become a cash cow for media platforms of all kinds. People need to be informed, however they are no longer being informed, but rather they are being force fed absolute lies, propaganda, and misinformation in order to perpetuate the idea that if their candidate does not win the next election that anarchy will engulf the nation and a once great beacon of freedom will fall. This applies to both parties on both sides of the fence. I wish I were lying, or even just being slightly comedic, but sadly this is where we find ourselves in 2019. This peace time is becoming more and more brief with every election as well. Twenty-four-seven news networks, the rapid heaving of eye-catching headlines that misrepresent the content of their story, and flooding of social media with fake accounts or bots take over the election period like an incurable cancer.
First, I would advise people to take more interest in their local politics if they insist on being active and opinionative of the government. Your local and state government will affect your day-to-day lives far more than the federal government (President) ever will. Movements throughout history have always begun at home. So, whatever it is you believe in, if you are unwilling to put forth the effort to accomplish that goal in your own backyard, then you are unfit to attempt it in someone else’s.
That was for the politically active crowd, which are few and far between in the broad scheme of things. For the majority of people, their political activism starts and stops with social media. Memes, memes, and more memes, that have no factual backing, sources, and often times are about as far from the truth as humanly possible. The social media political activists befriend like-minded people, and essentially shout into an echo chamber, making themselves believe that the rest of the country unequivocally agrees with whatever nonsense they are trying to spew out on any given day.
Now that is my advice for those who follow politics, and more specifically the Presidential Election. Granted there is a portion of Americans that couldn’t care less who is President, and don’t even vote. I envy them in a way, but at the end of the day, it is their responsibility to take advantage of a right that for some is fairly new, and for other nations, may not even exist.
What I want to stress to everyone as the looming storm approaches, is that by feeding into the frenzy, allowing the politicians through the media and social networking to control how we treat one another, our family and friends, our neighbors and members of our communities, we only give them more control and power over us as a whole. No will not be united over every issue, or agree on every law, but our political and social differences should not result in those who run the government gaining more of a stranglehold on our basic freedoms.
I stressed that local activism is where we should all start, and I did so because once it loses it’s importance in society, then we no longer have a voice. I fully believe the less we post, share, Tweet, Snap, and/or any other form of social media sharing of our political beliefs, the more we control what our politicians here. Instead of gauging social media activity for trends, hashtags, and empty movements, they will have to engage us as a nation. Face to face.
These two supports the third of not allowing the individuals who are supposed to serve us and the best interest of the nation take advantage of our emotional attachment to some of our beliefs.
The voice within myself may have faded for a brief period of time, but I knew it still to be there. No one stole it, it didn't run and hide, it simply decided it was better to listen for a time, rather than speak. Those who represent us may make the noise, but it is our voice they are using, and with that we are culpable if we do not insist they too listen.
As the campaigning approaches, keep in mind, that the American people don’t always have to be the loudest voice in the room, but the American politician should never be the only one heard.
by Cody J. Elms
As I adjusted in the chair and it began to descend backwards, I looked straight ahead as all people do, wondering why these chairs are so oddly comfortable for such an uncomfortable place. Then began the normal pattern of events starting with me being transfixed by that dull, almost out of place relaxing glow that resonates from the examination light. I was at the dentist, and while I was there, my mind began to wonder to a place it often does every six months in this same tiny room.
First, not too many people anticipate going to the dentist for the mere fact that having someone poking around in your mouth is not exactly something we tend to enjoy, and if you’re anything like me, the day before the appointment you contemplate rescheduling, but never do. You go, because, well…you’re an adult.
Now by the grace of God I typically get the hygienist that doesn’t ask me my life story while she is wrist deep in my face, and for that I thank her. It isn’t that I mind conversing, hell, I love it, but I find it rather difficult to convey the content of my side of the conversation when there is a rotation of metal, sucker, metal, sucker, polisher, sucker going on. However, the lack of verbal discussion does not mean that my mind isn’t talking to itself the very second that she pulls out her torture devices…sorry…I mean cleaning equipment, I began this weird thought lottery that can really only be described as a sort of dental dialogue.
Okay, perhaps that isn’t as catchy as I had hoped, but the point is, my mind jumps from topic to topic, if only for the lone purpose of trying to ignore the amplified noises going on inside my jaw. On this particular visit, maybe because it is Thanksgiving week and the thought of what we are to be thankful for was floating around in my mind, I started asking myself the legitimate question, “Was this dentist appoint the worst thing to happen to me all day? All month? All year!?”
The answer was an astounding, “YES!”
That may not come off as such a big deal, but when you really reflect on how often we let the bad events of our lives consume us for weeks, months, and even years, I felt it was pretty damn good. I looked at my day objectively and determined that easily this was the by far the worst moment of it. Then I started going back through each day until I was into October. Then September, through summer, spring, and there I was at least a year ago. Now there have certainly been years where this would not have been the case, but as I have eluded to in previous columns in the Times Observer, we cannot let the past define us.
Let’s be honest, if my bi-annual dental encounter is the worst part of my year, then I am living pretty well. So that leads me to the inevitable Thanksgiving thought mentioned earlier of what I am thankful for.
It’s easy, everything. My son, my nieces, my nephews, my parents, my siblings, and extended family. But you knew that already, because why wouldn’t I be thankful for those things. No, as I sunk further into the chair and had gone completely into a hypnotic state that's soul purpose is to ignore the reverberating of the polisher sweeping along my teeth, it came to me that it is easy to be grateful for what you have or have achieved, but it is always difficult, and requires far more insight to be thankful for what you have lost. Even if that has at times been your pride or dignity. It is when you are challenged and you fail, when you make mistakes out of ignorance or self-indulgence and have to face he consequences head on, and when you lose despite your efforts to succeed that you become a stronger person. One of humility and understanding. A person who has not just witnessed their own darkest times, but on some occasions have been the blockade of light themselves. Therefore causing them to either fall deeper into darkness or to find the slightest of illuminating guidance to beholden to.
Life may not be ideal at the moment for you, but that does not mean you have nothing in it to be thankful for. We don't need a special day every year to reflect. It certainly does not require a table full of gluttony or a house full of people avoiding almost all topics of conversation beyond pleasantries in an effort to avoid an all out family war. Reflection is something that seems to hit us all at strange times where we would least expect it. Just remember that although you may find it difficult to make a list of what you're thankful for today, tomorrow you may be able to add one more thing to it. And that should be what you take away from this; That list is infinite and will always have space for one more addition. It began when you were a child, and despite where you may feel you are at times, it will continue until the end.
Exit hygienist, enter dentist, and instantly I come back to the reality of just a guy in the chair with his mouth open and masked people staring into his face. That's it, that's where my deep thoughts ended, and the weird minty taste of a job well done was all I could focus on.
by Cody J. Elms
They don’t like the way you dress. They don’t like how you walk. They scorn at the words you say, the rules you break, and the attitude you have. They don’t respect you because to them your way of living disrespects theirs. They think you’re weak, lazy, time wasters, foolish, and sensitive. They claim that because of you, the future is in doubt. They believe that your lack of belief in their system will ultimately crumble the very structure that they are comfortable with. It is their opinion that your political views are feeble and lack any substance or credibility. If they had it their way, you would fall in line, keep quiet, and do as you are told, because to them, that is peace.
With that being said, tell me now, who are they and who are you?
Depending on what year you were born, that answer could vary, and that is the premise of what I am about to say.
To begin with, I don’t particularly care for the generalization of one generation, but each has their own unique majority that think or believe one way or the other and that, good or bad, becomes the label for their place in history.
Social media has brought to light many things about the American people that I feel were best kept within the confines of their like-minded pals, but that is not the world we live in now. Now, we are able to heave whatever uneducated comments or opinions we have onto a social media platform, with little to no consequences. There are some issues, such as race relations or women’s rights that despite all of the evolutionary advancements we have made towards equality, are still a work in progress, and you can clearly see that on all forms of social media at any given moment. However, there is one particular type of discrimination that I have seen more and more of recently, and that is one of generations blaming and outright hating other generations.
Generational prejudice is a two-way street and is certainly nothing new. If you take a small amount of time to research the past 75-years, you’ll see that each older generation has tended to negatively stereotype the younger generation that followed theirs, while then that younger generation proceeds to negatively stereotype the next. At the same time, the younger generations will react by negatively stereotyping the older generations, which ultimately results in an unnecessary and completely man-made division in an already divisive world.
For reference, a generation is a collective group of people born around the same period of time. For example, according to CNN.com as of September 4, 2018, those who belong to the Baby Boomer generation fall approximately somewhere between 1946 – 1964, Generation X from 1965 – 1980, and Millennials from 1981 – 1997.
I was born in 1986. I am a Millennial. Yet, I work two jobs in opposite fields and neither have a safe space. I enjoy music from Sinatra, Johnny Cash, and Pink Floyd, to Michael Bublé, The White Buffalo, and Metallica. I’ll watch The Avengers right after I finish watching The Godfather. Peace and quiet have as much value to me as does the accessibility to friends with a smartphone. As a matter of fact, I prefer phone calls to texts.
My point is, when I see a person stereotype Millennials, they are stereotyping me as well. Furthermore, from my experience, I am not the anomaly. There are an increasing number of Millennials that fall well outside the small circle of stereotypical thought. Don’t worry if you fall into Generation X or are a Baby Boomer, because I am not pointing the finger just at you. Millennials are just as guilty, if not more so.
They don’t believe you’ll understand it, so they don’t explain it. Generation X had their moment to grab the proverbial brass ring, and they let it slip by and now they’re just jealous of us. There is a widespread assumption that Baby Boomers are all throwbacks that could care less about advancing equality further or the way we approach things like health care, international conflict, or even gun rights.
We are more than the generation that defines us. We are more than who we vote for, what we wear, or how we talk. We are all individuals who are as different from one another as we are from the generation before us, and those that have yet to established. The group we must belong to is humanity. These fabricated lines that were created in time have constricted our responsibility to humanity to always be evolving, growing, and expanding, our way of life and our understanding of the world around us.
If you are in your later years, understand that pushing the future away will not salvage your past. For those who are the future, you cannot refrain from repeating the errors of prior generations if you are unwilling to acknowledge their place in history.
My son, my nieces, and my nephews, will all live lives very different from mine, yet in some ways all the same. I cannot mock them or begrudge them for perhaps finding a better way, or at the very least trying to forge their own paths. Just as much as I hope they don't shun the words of experience, mistakes, success, and failure.
For all generations, past, present, and future, they won’t like you, they will reject you, they will oppose you, but in the end, they’ll need you.