You’re back in the year 2010. Standing in front of your mirror while Ke$ha is singing Tik Tok in the background, your shirt tied using a rubber band, your single ponytail on the right side of your head, silly bands cutting off circulation to your wrists, and the magnet from your bottlecap necklace tickling your neck. As you get ready to run out the door you kiss your Webkinz goodbye and finally find the courage to ask your parents for money to use at the Scholastic Book Fair which you stick it behind your Justice and build-a-bear gift cards. Then suddenly, the unthinkable happens, you wake up.
Most say you dream about your future, what you aspire to be and how life will end up, but we are now stuck in a phase of dreaming of our pasts. We think back to our childhoods as being safe havens for us and refuse to accept that those were the golden days. Society today has turned into a nightmare where kids are expected to be staring at a screen all day rather than riding their bikes. Is this how we want the next generation to end up? Where kids talk about their highest score on a video game via text message while sitting at a dinner table. Where it is socially acceptable for middle schoolers to walk around looking like twenty year olds. Where textspeak is a newly founded language. This is the reality of the world we are living in today, and it will continue to grow in technology and eventually turn into a scene from WALL-E.
The digital age is happening at this moment. It is so odd to think that we are in the future and 2020 is a short 3 years away. In the meantime, humanity has made extreme strides to reach new standards of excellence and intelligence but has lost its touch with reality. It is seen as more successful to publish a platinum record through an album promoting prostitution and substance abuse than to become a doctor who treats hundreds of patients in terminal diseases daily. We portray our lives to be so glamorous that we eventually end up persuading ourselves into our own lies.
Students would rather live by the philosophy, “C’s get degrees” than striving to reach the top. We have the technology and resources to excel but it is the lack of drive which separates those with a competitive angle to be on top and everyone else to fall short. Indira Gandhi once said, “There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.” The reason this quote is so influential is because it is true. People would rather steal the glory for themselves than work hard and earn the credit. The sad thing about hard work in this age is that it doesn’t always pay off, people who are honest and put in a full days work are typically not the ones coming out with more zeros on a paycheck, they are the ones who get taken advantage of.
Steve Jobs is known as the founder of Apple Inc. but what some people do not realize is he was not alone in his creation. Apple Computer Company was founded in April 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. The company’s first product was the Apple I and was a computer single-handedly designed and hand-built by Wozniak. It was sold in July 1976 for a market-price of $666.66 which calculates to $2,806 in 2017 dollars, adjusted for inflation. Neither Wozniak or Wayne were ever mentioned in the company’s title, but Jobs was always in the spotlight and was always given credit for the success of Apple Inc. In other words, Jobs accepted credit for a group effort where majority of the work was done by a single member and the credit was given to another member. Sounds like a middle school group project again, doesn’t it.
This generation learns while they are young on how to act when they grow older and that state of mind does not change until it gets them into trouble. People will continue to push the limit until there is no longer an extreme to push to and that is what they see as their competitive. They are not doing whatever it takes to win- they are doing whatever it takes to earn the credit. It is an entitlement sickness where people love to believe they are entitled to something because of what they may have done or gone through but they will not put in the effort to get their way to the standing they want to be seen at.
Is there a clear solution on how to address and fix this entitlement dilema? No. One thing I have come to learn while growing up is that there is only one thing in this world that you can control, and that is your attitude. There are 5-year-olds who have seen nothing but hospital beds for months who still smile and laugh, at the same time there are CEO’s making 8 to 10 figures drinking away their money and sulking. An attitude is the way you address and and respond to any given situation and thinking back to when I was younger, I wish there were some instances which I could go back and thank my parents for teaching me that I don’t always need the newest phone or the most expensive clothes, but I need to be proud of the person I am first and then everything I have will compliment me for me, not the price tag.
It is a foreign concept to think that happiness comes from inside. People take the easy way out by human nature. Materials are the easiest and fastest way to gain happiness which is why shopping has become a therapy option. It reflects short-term happiness, which allows you to see that object and be able to associate it with the moment when you were happy, sounds simple enough right? Wrong. This is the exact concept which is forcing the youth in today’s society to feel that there is always something missing.
Depression went from a statistic to a commonality because people are missing the true identity of happiness. The feeling you get when are laughing until your stomach hurts, when you see someone after years and you finally reunite, when your dog runs up to you and cuddles like there is no tomorrow. These are the moments of true happiness which are taken for granted and replaced with thin paper which has become a source that defines our culture.
Take one hour a day to look around at the people, the sky, the stars, and all the things around you which create your happiness. That is how you can redirect your own life and bring back the dreams you had as a kid.