A Generation in Transition

Hurricane Ridge, WA

As I write this I’m watching a desk being put together, a room coming together, and the chaos of moving slowly dissipating. The life of two, fit snugly into a u-haul. It feels like only yesterday I moved into the most recent Pasadena apartment, but that was six months ago. And now, I’m 400 miles away. I thought I would be at least a little upset with moving, and while saying goodbye to people and places is always hard, it has become to me, disturbingly easy. Home has ceased to be a physical place, but a mental state of familiarity and comfort. Transition has become my “home.” I feel little attachment to a physical location, but rather of memories and people, and no matter where I am, there are plenty of memories and friends to be made.

Amongst that catalysts in my life that have forced this semi-nomadic existence that I’ve grown to love, is the economic upheaval. For me, it’s been a force dead-set on making me evaluate my life. I’ve had to stop and very seriously consider what it is that’s important to me and what, ultimately I want out of life.  As a result, in the past four years I’ve changed in countless ways.

Of course, I attribute much of this to travel (hence this blog after all) as being a great force in changing my perception of the world. Now, I can’t imagine not sending my future kids abroad, because it’s one thing to know, but understanding comes from experience. At first, I felt uncomfortable grappling with my relative good fortune. I didn’t like that I had, in reality, lived blissfully ignorant allowing my materialism to become normal. I almost didn’t want to change, but once I allowed myself to admit my own misgivings I was able to move on a find a sense of peace and fulfillment in less. I know now that what I need is very simple, and that simplicity is the best way to live.

As I drive through the stark center of California on my way to my next home, watching the last rays of sun bite into the clouded sky, I’m once again saying goodbye. On reflecting, I can’t help but wonder how all of this is affecting the rest of my generation. We aren’t the first group of twenty somethings to be thrust out into an unstable economy, and won’t be the last. But perhaps, there is some good in many of us choosing to go abroad to teach, volunteer, work, or study. Much of our generation has sought out opportunity beyond our own shores during all of this, and I believe it can only change us for the better. I have to agree that America could do better in it’s global role, and that one of the best solution is to allow it’s youth to gain a global education. One detriment cited in regards to our poor vacation allowance is a lack of worldly knowledge and understanding.

It’s undeniable that this economic downturn has been severe, and that the crisis’ being faced now and in the future are of great concern;  I’m certainly not suggesting that this singular factor is a solution.

I am simply hopeful: ever looking for that elusive silver lining.

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