• Grace Hester

The Perfectly Imperfect Generation

Once upon a time, there was a generation of aspirers, of inventors, of believers, and of world changers. A generation viewed as unstoppable, invincible, and unbreakable. A generation of variety - athletics mixed with academics, creativity mixed with innovation, encouragement mixed with tough-love. There once was a generation that was raved about, envied, and revered. A generation expected to surpass every other, to lead one another, and to transform the world like no other.

Within this generation was happiness; it was joy; it was positivity; it was hope, and most importantly it was life.

The first day of school brought this generation excitement. Homework took away play time. Hunger was never ignored. Exercise was viewed as punishment. Scales only belonged to fish. Grades were simply a number. Stress was unfamiliar. The only flat things were pancakes, and the only gap we cared about was between our teeth.

We were oblivious. We were free. We were happy.

Yet, soda became vodka, bikes became cars, high was not for swinging, and playgrounds became bars. Race issues were no longer about who could run the fastest, and war was not simply a card game. The most pain we felt was not after skinning a knee, and goodbyes no longer meant only until tomorrow.

The invincible generation became irrevocably broken.

The generation of academics became a generation of panic attacks, straight As, and hollow eyes. The generation of happiness, joy, positivity, hope, and life became the generation of overdoses, drugs, needles, shot-glasses, skipped meals, heartbreak, and hopelessly lifeless.

We were corrupted. We were shamed. We were captive. Captive to the world's expectations of which we fell short of year after year. The generation the world labeled as 'never good enough.' The only thing that changed was our age, our knowledge, and our state of oblivion. We were once full of life. We were once happy, and we were once hopeful for the future...

We were once young.

Expectation is the root of all heartache.

Expectations were bullets aimed and shot every time we fell short because living up to the unobtainable expectation of perfection is impossible.

Therefore, the fired shots are now wounds, and the wounds are now scars, yet these scars will always remain present. These scars will always serve as a reminder that we will always fall short of expectations.

The world is consumed by new materialistic trends, styles, and fads. The forced need to wear the newest outfit, get the most likes, have the most followers, or try the latest diet is corrupting our abilities to just be us. The expectation for our generation to become “popular” has led to the conformed normalcy that encircles feelings of unworthiness, unwantedness, and unacceptance.

The disguise or face that the world forces us to put on has become dangerous. The flaws, failures, and imperfections the world tells us to hide are encompassed by everyone. These feelings and insecurities are consequently suffered as a result of continually falling short of societal expectations.

The world is flooded by the waters of conformity, which has caused our generation to miss out on the essential fact that our lives are messages to the world. The world is filled with billions of messages coming from each person, but emulating someone else’s life strips away the uniqueness and beauty of our characteristics. It takes away what defines us. It takes away what makes us different. The world fosters so many people attempting to imitate one another that it is creating an identical message.

Be inspired by successful people, celebrities, friends, and movies but when living life, make sure your message is different. Make sure it doesn't contain the same content, plot, or story-line, make sure it's worth the read, and make sure it's not a book that gets put down after the first chapter.

You only get one shot at writing it.

So while our generation has been punctured, broken, and shattered by the bullets of societal expectations, at least we can pick up the pieces and begin putting them back together, but this time, how we want them, not how the world has forced them to be. At least our messages will be different, and at least we will no longer drown in the societal waves of expectation.

Yes, we are the generation of the future. Although the world will shamefully brand us with the label ‘never good enough,’ our generation will be a generation of heroes amongst a world full of wannabe sidekicks because each of our lives will be a different message to the world, which will make our generation inspiring.