Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 18 Jun 2019 12am

Headlines:

     

     

     

     

     

    Monday, June 17, 2019-11:36:56A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Font Size

Settings

OPINION | To the Class of 2019: The secret no one will tell you

DO you love avocado toast too much to change the world?

Let me say that again: Do you love avocado toast too much to change the world?

Look: You’ve been getting nothing but praise at graduation. I’m the one who is going to give it to you straight.

Everyone here thinks you’re entitled. We all think you’re soft. We don’t think you want to make a difference. We think you want to waste your money spending nine dollars on avocado toast.

“Who is this ‘We’?” you ask.

Me. Him. Her. Them. Everyone older than you — we’re counting you out, even before you begin.

It’s a time-honored ritual: The previous generation dumps on the next one. Humans have been doing it since the beginning of time.

I’m pretty sure that when our original ancestors arrived, there were older cave people trashing the next-generation cave people: Wow, those new cavemen are entitled brats. They’re afraid of work. Tok-Tok just asked for three months off to go surfing. I saw Little Grok spreading avocado on mammoth jerky.

This is how olds like me pass the time: by complaining about the young. We spend a lot of time trashing millennials and Generation Z or whatever Generation you are.

You’re familiar with our complaints. We think your priorities are screwed up. You need constant affirmation — and you never have any savings, because you’re spending it on frivolous things, like avocado toast.

Everything we did, you don’t seem to want. Word is your generation isn’t interested in buying houses. You don’t want to own cars. You hate cash, cooking, and dress shoes. You don’t drink and gamble enough.

That’s actually a concern: that you all don’t drink and gamble enough.

A lot of this is hyperbole. A lot of it is junk science. A lot of it is media clickbait, meant to get attention and page views.

While the fear may be stoked, the anxiety is real. We’re really worried that you don’t know what you’re doing.

But I’m going to let you in on a little secret, which is the most important secret in the whole wide world. If you remember nothing else from graduation, please remember this: Nobody really knows what they’re doing. Nobody.

It’s true. Life is a series of leaps and educated guesses. Sometimes, uneducated guesses. We can practice, prepare, and read all the instruction manuals, but we’re really all making this up as we go along.

Even the people who seem like they know what they’re doing — they don’t know what they’re doing all the time.

In life, there’s a lot of chaos, a lot of time when absolutely everything’s in the air.

Your parents, they seem like they have it together. They’re good people. They’re here at your graduation. They’re proud of you today.

Here’s what your parents think about at night, just before they fall asleep: OH GOD AM I DOING IT RIGHT WHAT IF I’M MAKING A MISTAKE WHAT AM I DOING?

Everyone does this. It’s not embarrassing. It’s very human.

Take Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, one of the richest people in the world. Worth more than a hundred billion dollars — and that’s after a divorce.

What do you think Jeff Bezos thinks about at night? Do you think he says, “Wow, I have so much money. And these Egyptian cotton 900 thread count sheets are the bomb!”

No, this is what Jeff Bezos thinks about at night: OH GOD AM I DOING IT RIGHT WHAT IF I’M MAKING A MISTAKE WHAT AM I DOING?

Same with Warren Buffett.

Same with Oprah.

Same with President Trump.

Same with Beyoncé.

OK, maybe not Beyoncé. Beyoncé seems to be doing everything right.

But pretty much everyone else has a brain which swells with anxiety at least once a day. I know I do.

Nobody has life figured out. And the charlatans who claim they do have life figured out — they have it less figured out than anyone.

Why do you think our book stores are thick with self-help books? Why do you think meditation has taken off in this country? Why has yoga become such a thing? Why does anyone move to Florida?

Everyone’s chasing an inner calm that may never come.

I’m not trying to freak you out. I just want to offer perspective. The generations judging you — a lot of us are scrambling just as much as you are. These complaints about younger people, they’re nothing more than refracted anxiety about the chaos in our own lives.

I’m sorry about that. It’s not very fair.

But I also want to say this: A little chaos is OK. A little chaos keeps life interesting, keeps you on your toes.

Not long ago, a minister in California named Lydia Sohn interviewed a bunch of people between the ages of 90 and 96.

There’s a belief that human happiness happens on a curve. People are said to be happiest when they’re young, and don’t have a care in the world — and then happiest again when they are older, retired, and liberated to enjoy the little things.

The middle part of life is supposedly the hard part. That’s when people have kids, bills, crises. Sometimes they get divorced and buy canary-yellow Porsches.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

But these 90-somethings that Reverend Sohn talked to — this wasn’t a scientific study, but I think what she learned is interesting — they told her something different.

They said they were happiest in the middle part, when their lives were messiest, when their kids were in the house and tracking mud through the living room and setting small fires in the backyard.

This was when they were trying to balance work and family and figure out how to pay for bills and college and all that aggravating stuff.

These people said they were happiest in the chaos.

Talk to any successful person, in any field. Ask them when they were happiest, and I bet that 9 out of 10 will tell you they loved it most when they were in the chaos — battling, struggling, scuffling, trying to find their way.

It’s the happiest time because they’re very alive.

You’re about to step into the chaos. You’re probably going to have a job or two that you don’t really like. You’re going to worry about money. You’ll get your heart broken a few times, both professionally and personally. You’re probably going to spend some time sleeping on a futon, and futons are the worst.

There will be mornings you won’t want to walk out the door.

But it’s OK. Remember this: It’s never as bad as it seems.

Everyone is making it up as they go along.

Embrace the chaos, walk out the door, be kind to your fellow humans and change the world.

And eat the avocado toast. Because let’s face it, avocado toast is delicious.