I Believe in The Searchers
Today’s New York Times Sunday Review boasts a snaps-worthy article, “Millennial Searchers.” I venture to believe that most friends and colleagues ages 15-30 are already far too familiar with the sentiment I’m getting at. In light of economic obstacles, career insecurity, and faith-doubting scientific revelations, our generation of young learners, explorers, and aspiring professionals are vulnerable to question, ”Now what?”
As today’s article highlights, the path that many of us are craving to create has changed in nature. Believe it or not, an upsurge in social media and our dependence on technology does not ignite a drive to make ten billion dollars a year (though we wouldn’t mind), but a desire for human connection. The uptick of superficial stimuli threatening to interfere with our social awareness moment-to-moment actually contributes to an emotional void. The more aware we become of this void, the more eager we are to fill it.
Accordingly, we are a generation of searchers. Our search is primarily for meaning. Meaning, purpose, affirmation, love, friendship, mentorship. Relationships. Our personal passions may vary, but our intention is strikingly similar: We are not fully satisfied by material achievement; we want something more.
Jose Mujica, President of Uruguay, is a few steps ahead of us. He addresses global environmental obstacles with a suggestion that we as a global community are in dire need of a cultural shift. His reasoning is that poverty is not a lack of money, or a lack of things, but poverty is greed. To address global issues faced by our societies, we must address the culture of more, more more. If we spent less time, energy, and resources on maintaining a “use and discard” culture, we might have more time, energy, and resources to invest in a relationship-oriented culture, ultimately geared toward “the first element of the environment”: human happiness.
My most significant take away from all of this is that we are not alone.
Taylor Swift, while sweeping the American Music Awards last week with three awards, beamed, “the fact that you voted for my music means we’re on the same page…I’m 23 and I have no idea what’s going to happen with my life.”
It’s no secret that we are often confused, lonely, inspired, discouraged, momentarily enlightened and then correspondingly disillusioned. The reality, though, is this is a generational fight. What might feel like an isolating phenomenon on our own may be a powerful force for connection, unity, and progressive change when we decide to come together.
The search is not easy. After the clouds clear, I look forward to what the search of a generation will bring.