#85: The Millennial

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I am a millennial. A word often heard in the media, used as a scapegoat for the country’s problems: “Millennials aren’t investing in the stock market as much as previous generations,” “Millennials don’t care about the housing market or lottery tickets or old mall favorites like Macy’s,” “Millennials don’t want kids any more!”

I read an article in the New York Times the other day about millennials, and it said that they have adapted to a “rise and grind” lifestyle. That millennials, who grew up expecting extracurricular achievement and good grades to amount to a lifetime of happiness and fulfilling their creative passions, feel left out by the world that gave them that idea in the first place. Crippling student loan debt and rising gentrification in big cities, significantly higher than previous generations, has set a standard for what we have come to expect from the outside world. When a person went to college before the 90s, were they expected to pay seven figures over 20 years to ever make up for the cost of their education? Since when has an education been so expensive?

Either way, the article in the Times talks about how the “rise and grind” lifestyle adopted by so many millennials stifles creativity and ensures a lifetime of boredom and depression. I’m not the least bit surprised. Waking up at 5am to go to Milford every day, for example, was not the ideal lifestyle for me. And yet it represents a kind of necessity, a need demanded by outside forces. Is there any wonder why millennials have some of the highest rates of mental illness of all generations? Is there any surprise that people suffering under false promises given to them as children feel betrayed as adults?

Just some food for thought today. Not sure what to think about it, but the article got me going a bit.

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#64: The Question

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I do not claim to be someone who asks questions well, but I am a good listener. Listening to others’ thoughts and words is the first step to asking good questions, I’ve heard. When you are paying attention to another person, you are showing them you care about what they have to say, what thoughts they are thinking. You demonstrate patience, inquisitiveness, and focus. But asking questions? That’s where it gets more finicky. A good question can inspire a conversation, a bad question can either derail a conversation entirely, leaving you forgetful about what you were just talking, or cause the other person to disengage entirely. A question can describe your personality in an instant, if the other person is astute enough. A question can also help you discover what another person wants to hear from you, allowing you to answer in accordance with their wishes.

If you can imagine what situation I am about to face, you are probably imagining a job interview, in which case you are correct. As I write this, I am preparing for an interview, as always. If you were to hazard a guess as to what I am doing almost any time, it’s thinking about an interview on the horizon. My mind does a bad job of disengaging from stressful future events, as they always hang over my head, regardless of how harmless and normal they are, even interviews. An interview, to me, feels like a fresh start with a new person, and even though I might tell myself that interviews are shared communications, that they depend on the happiness of both parties in order to succeed, I still feel indebted to the other party, sitting at the end of the table. It is ultimately their decision that makes or breaks this whole thing, and though my questions might lead them to choose me, I am not the final decision-maker.

But still, it is important to keep a clear head about things. Nothing here nor there will be the end of the world. It is just a matter of time. It always is.

Brains

Young men are driven by desire
Seeking not justice, but self-
Fulfillment, and Satisfaction.
In walks an exceptionally rich 
Young man, master of an estate
He was delivered by-will,
A mere twenty years of age,
Dreams of money, and a girl.
The lost woman of his dreams
A zombie by any other name,
Wanders into his land, slowly, and
Appears before him outside his home.
Silence corrodes the somber scene
Minutes pass in the fog
A soft mist envelops the ground.
Lifeless stares from zombie and human
A mixed emotional moment for one
A late-night snack for another
Man pleads with zombie for reconciliation,
His heart torn and unsure;
Zombie approaches slowly, 
Stepping on a wallet, a mirror.
A breaking of glass startles the
Native human, owner of the lot,
He shoos the young flesh-eater
As she tears his face off and 
Swallows his brains in a gulp
In his final thoughts he’s satisfied,
The house left to deteriorate alone.
Zombie dream-girl discriminates not by
Sex, orientation, economic distinction
Everything’s equally tolerated and despised in zombie-mind,
Money, war, materials
Only the primal call of food, sustenance matters;
We should all be zombies,
Lifeless flesh-shells, lacking reason.
If we aren’t already by the time I read this.
Brains. 

Distractions

attention

It’s the short sounds of beady alarm clocks and

the dazzling artificial desklamp lights that distract me.

The hairy arms and legs and feet that cover my soul-like physicality and

the cartridges of colored ink lying despairingly on the floor next

to the printer they were attending to, desperately, as they lost attention.

The azure-coated love stickers gleaming distantly by the sulking fireplace and

the watermarks on the metallic black iPhone I carry proudly like an arm augmentation,

fixed in place by tenement cars and over-entitled college graduates on sidewalks.

A number of distractions in the world, so we never

see anything that’s actually real.

psychosomatic

death followed him wherever he went

sickness trailed behind in a wake of delusion

I felt hypnotized by his pale eye’s stare

and his illness tracked me down as the

sickness trailed behind in a wake of delusion,

but what’s the sickness? indecipherable,

and the hypnotized men followed him to cotton

beds, lined up and waiting for our sicknesses

to kick in, and it’s all in their heads, as

my oxymoronic mind coughed up blood

filled with pale eyeballs and sick children,

as sick as me and the pale eyed man were.

Childish Dreams

Yesterday I dreamed of Aquaman

It reminded me of when I was a child and

I also dreamed of Aquaman.

He’d storm out of the ocean with a pack of rabid

Dolphins, sharks, and whales

Riding gallantly toward the evils that plagued the land

And extinguished all of the previous nightmares from my consciousness,

 

I didn’t really think that I was rediscovering all of my childish dreams until

Three days ago, when it began and

I was standing in line at a Subway

And the sandwich-maker, or

“Sandwich artist” as they self-stylize,

Asked me what kind of bread I wanted.

I immediately slipped into a daydream, a memory of when someone else

Had asked me that same question in the same manner of speaking long ago.

It made me angry at the time because

I wasn’t ready to answer the question so I left,

And so I did.

The same thing happened at Stop & Shop not too long ago

When the man bagging my groceries

Asked if I wanted paper or plastic.

But, taking the initiative

He had already started bagging the eggs and milk in plastic bags

Without my consent, so I said plastic.

Because paper would take longer.

And there was someone else in line,

Someone likely not as environmentally friendly as I am.

For my unfortunate transgression

Aquaman turned against me that night.

 

Two days ago I was sitting on a wooden park bench adjacent to

The actual park but facing the opposite direction.

I thought of the traffic soaring quickly and

Dreamed of when the park bench faced the park instead

Of the traffic, and it was much more serene that way,

But they’ve locked it in place.

And so I left.

That wasn’t how it used to be.

Back then it was a much simpler time,

And it was socially acceptable to wear white

After Labor Day.

White was my favorite color.

Until they shamed it;

That was a bad day.

When I told my therapist that I regularly wear white after Labor Day,

He said I must be insane,

And that I needed to see a therapist.