Talking about my Generation Y - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Talking about my Generation Y

My Generation Y should take a good, hard look in the mirror.

There was something in the way we were raised – whether we realized it or not – that said we deserve something. And when we don’t get what we think we deserve, we’re astounded.  And yeah, I’m talking about the lack of a job thing, but I’m also talking about the getting a car (new or used) at sixteen thing.  I’m talking about the “you can have dessert every night till you’re obese” thing, and the “‘no’ is not a part of my vocabulary” thing.

And yeah, there’s something noble in the idea of my underdog Millennial Generation overcoming the recession, including job scare and fluctuating economy, but there’s also something humbling about it too.

High school haunts. (Photos by Jana Stambaugh.)

This has to be one of the scariest and most necessary things that a young adult can realize (and this comes from an actor whose ego is up the wazoo). Maybe you’re not the pizazz that your parents told you you are.  Maybe you can’t do what you want to do to the degree you want to do it.  Maybe you are the super loser who lives in your mother’s basement and writes Star Wars fan-fiction.  Or, in my case, I’m home for the summer season writing acting how-tos and living in my bedroom which hasn’t been touched since high school. I certainly don’t feel the same way about Orlando Bloom as my highschool ceiling would indicate.

But seriously, there’s something about suburbia that just gets to my gut.  The people here have easy worries like when to factor more water into their budget for their garden (this month or next month?), how to remove a possum skeleton from their tree guard (gloves or pliers?), and when to walk the dog in the increasing summer heat (morning or afternoon?).  They live pretty routine, relatively mediocre lives and they’re satisfied with that – they should be – they’ve done the whole “contribute-to-the-world” thing.  They should kick back and watch The Bachelorette – because they can.

Orlando Bloom plaguing my ceiling.

The thing that gets me is that I, as a young adult, fit into this mediocre life routine really well – too well – and all of a sudden my deserving big ego big fish syndrome melts away, revealing I’m actually just a tad pole – not fit to be a fish and still waiting to be a frog.

So then I’m just stuck in suburbia, wondering where I can find a tattoo parlor that stays open past nine so I can ink a big “L” on my forehead.

How is my generation going to get out of this rut?  We seem to be happy being tadpoles living with old frogs.  (I’ll leave this analogy now).  We seem to be content with the retirement plan at age 20 and we let the older generation reign with consistent intolerance – ever-battling gay marriage, the future of social security, and whether or not generations to come can access healthcare.  They don’t seem open to anything new, stating things like, “you have to be wary of the biased opinions in the paper,” but not being able to recognize their own personal bias as they read it.  They seem satisfied, like older generations ahead of them, with what is.  And they’re unwilling to make room for what’s to come.  They seem happy to swim in the mediocre and they seem happy to let us keep swimming in it, too.

Meanwhile, I’m pulling my hair out at night, listening to the chirps of suburban crickets and missing that NYC late night ambulance siren that used to sing me to sleep.  How are we, the basement dwelling losers, going to make a difference?  But firstly, and more importantly, what difference can we make?



About the author

Jana Stambaugh

Jana (it rhymes with “banana” or “anna”) is an artist from Clarksville, Maryland. Growing up her parents always told her to “be whatever you want to be.” Seeing as she has come from three generations of doctors, she obviously became an artist. As an actor, she has performed internationally Off-Broadway, and locally to the Baltimore/DC area. Favorite roles include Juliet, Ariel, and Caliban. Jana is the Founder of Red Connect Online, a social media marketing company that creates customized advertising campaigns for small businesses. You can listen to her podcast, Confessions of a Closet Christian, on the E-Squared Media Network. You can also follow her on Twitter (@Jana_Stambaugh) and friend her on Facebook. Contact the author.
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