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Monday, August 3, 2020

The One Where Everybody Wins

As I was scrolling through my instagram feed, something caught my eye and it sort of triggered some repressed memories, I guess I've made an effort to forget. In the post, words read "We are a sad generation with happy pictures". And I thought "our generation" in spite of having missed, all the world wars, raging racism, women being treated like property, bad healthcare, political violence and the inconvenience of not having Wi-Fi, are sad indeed. And why is that?. Why couldn't be our grandparents be the sad generation?. They went through all this crap and yet seems so nostalgic and missing the "good old days". We don't have any of those problems now, not to that extent at-least but last generation certainly sees something that we don't.

I was the middle child of my family and my whole life was a contradiction of acceptance and ignorance right up to the time I moved away. In my primary school years, I was praised as the golden boy, the smartest of the family, the one who didn't even had to try. Results came in green and with stars, Everybody was happy. And I though I could ride that horse to the end of my life. But Nope. Reality hit me and it hit hard, when I started high school. See, at this point I didn't know how to accept defeat or the pain of putting my brain to work to achieve something. Because I never had to. At home my participation certificates and average grades were the equivalent of the Nobel prize and NASA level IQ. But in high-school, there were hundreds of other kids who got same or higher grades and I really didn't know how to keep up. I never learned how to compete. So my parents being themself, went he opposite way and decided to just ignore my existence completely. I think you know what comes next. I did just about every stupid thing to grab attention and It nearly ruined my childhood. So now that I'm reminiscing about my younger years, I'm kind of identifying my childhood with many others of my generation. So I guess my problems weren't special like I thought.

We were born at a time were people were getting bored of having less problems. So they came up with all sort of crap in their free time. In this case, crap about new ways of education and parenting. Suddenly it was a crime to teach hard lessons about life and participation trophies were an absolute necessity. "Everybody should feel good all the time. Even when they are knee-deep in pile of monkey turd", they said. People who bought into this new type of raising children, force fed all the feel good crap of new age to their kids, hoping they would all grow in to Disney characters. But that's not what happened. Life doesn't give out participation trophies, It demands painful work. It makes you feel bad time to time. So the kids who left this "bubble of love and happiness" were in for a big surprise. Competition was a real thing and it was a swim or sink situation from then on. Oh! and people didn't give a crap about the participation trophy. So as does the mother nature dictates, Fittest survived and the weak vanished. And thats normal I guess. But the issue was unlike before, people didn't know how to handle failure or success for that matter. People who "succeeded" didn't know what to do next and most became resentful of life. The missing lesson there was, money, fame or looking like a mannequin weren't full fulling like they'd hope for. And the people who "failed" thought they were undeserving and just dead weight to the earth. When the reality is, everybody just cannot fit into this mold of having perfect grades, great jobs and big boobs or six to eight packs of abs. That's not how life works. Everybody cannot be a unique little snowflake like they were told at schools, because If they were, then what is unique after all.

Truth is, all of us cannot cross the finish line with a podium finish. It takes time and sometimes that time never comes within our lifetime. And that's okay. People before us had to live life in fear of war, plagues hunger and so many horrible things. And yet they had enough courage to take life for what it is and take it one day at a time. Today every kid going into school have to carry around a huge baggage (except for their actual baggage of massive books) of expectations that aren't even theirs. And failure means they get discarded from society and sometimes even by their own parents. If by a miracle some kid made it through all of this and graduate into the corporate world, they get eaten up by the big bad machine for not being battle-hardened by life like their seniors. So it's either depression or a complete personality make-over. 

The fact is, we are starting to teach wrong lessons to our kids. Everybody is high on inspiration porn and kids are being fed into production lines of schools and parents are crossing their fingers hoping for no damaged goods. Saddest thing is children are perceived as investments now and when the things don't go as expected, people get mad and give up, while innocent kids get even more pressured living up to ridiculous expectations.This needs to stop or the sad generation will birth a suicidal generation and that'l be the end of that.

The lesson here is, Life is not about living up to expectations of somebody else or material possession for that matter. Being happy and satisfied by where you are at and what you have is completely subjective to each individual and there's no universal mold for that. Only challenge you'll ever need to face is finding yourself and what gives you inner peace. A masters degree or a fat bank account won't mean crap when you are in your death bead, if you haven't figured out how life works and how to really "win" happiness for yourself.

Don't try to be a "Winner", Loosing is much more rewarding and eventually you'll win something worth wining. And without even trying.