Learning to Let Go: The Great Millennial Misunderstanding
I was born in 1984. The year in which George Orwell predicted that we would all be watched and scrutinized for the greater good. According to the year, I am a “millennial”, one of those “born between 1981 and 1996”. The generation that grew up along with the new millennium, with immediate access to information, data and knowledge (which is not the same), and the possibility of studying more years than their parents, and with it, the dream of going further than any other generation.
And the dream turned into a nightmare.
From my perspective of course, being part of, without feeling part of. I keep reading stories of titanic debt, deep depression, suicide attempts and quite high unhappiness indexes. But why?
The immediacy of information, being able to know any topic of any author at any time and from any place created the (false?) Illusion that the new generations could absorb all that information in an instant, an army of minds eager for knowledge, ready to stand on the shoulders of so many generations now ordered, indexed and available over the Internet to just be consumed and create great things, succeed, achieve. The expectation was so great, it was them (us?), The millennials, the pinnacle of civilization, who could finally receive all the work of generations direct for use, just take it out of the package, add water, boil for 3 minutes and enjoy.
And there was so much hope, so much expectation, that the generation earned the condemnation of any culture from which so much is expected: It collapsed. As my brother says “every time I give a compliment, they do worse”. And it is too much weight, it is not possible for a single generation to carry so much; and yes, of course there is evolution and progress, but not even close to what it was dreamed of, not close to what was expected. And some ideas, as harmful as they were innovative, took root like cancer in those minds:
- You can achieve whatever you want
- The sky is the limit
- Be free, you only live once
- Learn to let go
The latter, “learn to let go,” I think, is the most dangerous of all. Can you imagine?, “learn to let go”, you who are creating that vaccine. Does the weight of that rifle bother you soldier? Learn to let go. You don’t like to be paying the debt that you caused yourself ?, Meh, learn to let go.
At some point the idea transformed to a much more comfortable one, and comfort is the opium of the mind. And the generation fell into that deep trap, in that dream from which it is better not to wake up, better to wait, to wait for life to get beautiful.
Fortunately, not all. And here we continue, trying to dominate a pandemic and the multiple social and political threats of our era, cooling the earth, warming the wills of those who do not forget and raising those who hopefully we have learned not to give everything, or at least not all at once, but at the right times.
“Be water,” you can read on thousands of millennial t-shirts, a kind of flag forged by Bruce Lee. But really be it, as he envisioned it, taking the shape of whatever is needed, be it a mug, cup or glass, not only flowing but striking with force when necessary, learning not to let go, but to protect what is worth to never let go.