First of all, can we take a moment to appreciate my consistently long blog titles?
After a long day of sweating at work, my mother-in-love and I sat down for some simple dinner and a chat: She, in a bikini and wrapped in a towel, still undecided if she should shower or wait for the thunder to stop and go swimming. Me, freshly showered but already feeling the sweat beads escaping from the cresses of my belly. I don´t quite remember how we got to the topics we got to but they flowed naturally, threading each other from one end to another until ending on; aging, life beyond retirement and the daily routines that frame our lives.
My MIL is a hardworking woman, she loves her job and does it with joy and 9/10 you will find her with energy and gusto for life. She has worked hard for the life she has and her dream career of teaching English for a living. In a few more years, she will be retiring from her university job and embarking on a totally new adventure. ” I have so many plans for life, death will find me before boredom does,” she said with certainty. I believe her because she has always been a woman of plans followed by actions. Yet for her generation, she is a rebel. The first to wish for her cake, bake it and freaking enjoy devouring it too. Her life isn´t beginning when she retires, instead, she has lived most of her life with enjoyment as the goal: Working hard with love and playing harder. I truly admire her and her ability to have had manifested and designed the life that she wanted.
I think of her and her generation and I think of mine. We hear a lot of crap about us poor, spoiled, selfish and self-entitled brats/ Millenials. I often wonder about this disgust or disappointment towards my generation and I see it merely as a difference in priorities and values based on different realities.
My generation didn´t get to buy into the false notion of waiting until the end to enjoy yourself. We are a generation focused on the journey rather than the destination because we have seen too many times how people get off at the last destination, only to be welcomed with disappointment. We have seen how our parents have saved and saved for a house and other valuables, only for them to be swept away in the dust of a man-made crisis. We have seen how years of hating what you do (but pays well and has status) has turned our loved ones into zombies waiting for the permission slip to enjoy life again (If they can remember how). How our parents have given their lives to companies, missing milestones and holidays for corporations that wouldn´t even blink an eye choosing CEO bonuses over their livelihoods. We have gotten degrees, accumulated student loans only to find that there are no jobs waiting for us. Where the ones available ironically find us too educated to be employable.
In the context of our lives, we have made the best decisions that we can make in our individual cases: That nothing is guaranteed, that the system is flawed or rigged or both, and the thread that is holding up the curtains is slowly unraveling.
Our parents trusted the system´s formula and not too many of them are showing us anything worth duplicating. So we take what we have, we make the best of it, we live today, we enjoy today, we demand and work for a better future and demand for our lives to have personal meaning as the only assurance we can afford to bet on. We aren´t waiting for the final destination. We are here already. We are willing to work for the life we want to have today, not tomorrow or in ten years where a new troll of a president, politician or banker can decide and invent a new way to screw us over. We are ready for the now. And in this now, we want to be happy and be a part of something bigger than us, something that we love and that loves us back. And in all honesty, is that really too much to ask?
(p.s the beautiful melanin goddess in second picture is @noiretholly )