“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” ― Terry Pratchett, Diggers

If there’s anything the people of the Internet have been in love with for the past year, it’s lists. We have lists for everything. I don’t know how much more I need to say about the lists really, because there’s already probably a list of things about the lists themselves. You could list the lists into hit and miss, but this miss list would probably be a hit, but I digress. I don’t really have a problem with lists, they are a great format for the internet because they require neither the attention nor the time that an article demands, but also give details you cannot find with a meme. However, I didn’t want to write about lists. What I want to think about is how this fascination with lists is a symptom of a larger concern: My generation has no clue what it is doing.

Some people my age will disagree with me on this point, but I find that people in general tend to be disagreeable and the ability to state any opinion that one might have, anonymously and on a forum with the potential to spread said opinion to literally everyone with internet access across the entire globe and potentially into space, has done nothing to decrease the modern person’s tendency to be as much of a wanker as possible. Interaction on the internet isn’t always destructive: Many people find solace among other people who prefer to interact through electronic means, and other simply make friends in far-away places, using the internet to contact them as directly as possible. It is depressingly easy, however, to find people who spend way too much time altogether to express offensive and/or derogatory opinions anonymously, in what I can only assume is a desperate attempt to fit in, stand out, be noticed, or lash out for some unspecified wrong, whether real or perceived, most likely at other people who express themselves with several ideas at a time and make pretentiously long, run-on sentences, i.e. assholes.

The larger concern is that young adults are about as focused as this article has been up to this point. Myself and my peers have a general idea of what we maybe want to do, and not much more. We like collections of enumerated pieces of advice, which we can momentarily consider and then either approve of or discard. When we graduated High School and College we found that although we held up our end of the bargain by going through school, getting reasonable or good grades, and doing as we were told, the world did not unfold for us. There are not secret doors that magically appear when you enter the “real world.” There was no job waiting for us, and when we asked about said career, our queries were met with scorn and derision, “You’re not just going to get it handed to you,” and “You’re so spoiled, you don’t know what work is really like.” We’re overqualified for every entry-level position and don’t have enough work experience for the jobs that require a degree. There’s no path to follow anymore, and we’re learning every day that we will have to forge our own. There’s no surprise that we find solace in superficial articles made up of simplified lists; They’re familiar because that’s all we were ever given.

We are not the generation that fought against the closest thing to actual Evil in recent history. We are not the generation that sparked and fanned the flames of social change, that broke up the nuclear family, that created the internet. We were handed these wonderful things alongside the rest; Wars on ideas that cannot be won, an inborn conscience toward the acts of atrocity that previous generations committed. We were told we would have a voice, that we would have a world at our fingertips. We were told we would have to make our own way from here. Both were true, neither was a lie. We put our fingers to the keyboard, and we go off the grid. We were handed contradictions, and we contain multitudes.


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