Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Teen Angst

I tend to move about once a year. My year lease at whatever dingy house or apartment I had been renting comes up and I am filled with a great feeling. The feeling of promise. The feeling of hope for the future. This yearly migration is a time of purging. I sift through all my belongings, solemnly musing over the artifacts. Most books, clothes, music and movies are donated. Tossing a dozen or so needles into the haystack of the Omaha thrift store circuit. My yearly move usually leads to the rediscovery of my adolescent journals. Reading through these lead me to think about teen angst.

My teenage writing, like most, is littered with the idea that true beauty and happiness can only be obtained through some pure, virginal form of youth. Inevitably, all our morals are mangled and our emotions are buried. Compromise equals death; hypocrisy the greatest sin. Authority figures mindlessly enforce rules passed down just as mindlessly over the generations. Miraculously every generation of adults forget all the wisdom of youth, only leaving it to be freshly uncovered by their offspring. Nobody understood me,etc.

Youth tends to believe in its ideals absolutely and I was no exception. In the years since these journals were written I have aged, and arguably matured. It has been my experience that the longer you live life, the less sense it makes. As time marches on I have accumulated people and things I care about. This adds layers of responsibility and with responsibility comes hard choices. These hard choices devour the pure ideals of youth. These choices exposed me as a fraud. What can the crusading absolutist of my youth do with the ambigiuty of reality?

To me the key is to incorporate these principles into the life I lead. To use the integrity of my youth as a moral compass. Surround yourself with people who are not afraid of thier emotions. Find ways to remind yourself of your priorities as a way of fighting off the onslaught of marketing. It is easy to give up and become the enemy of your teenage journals, but it is not inevitable.

Wow this turned into a weird graduation speech type thing...

Wow this turned into a graduation speech of sorts...

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