And I just found out. I’ve
always had an empty beer can to throw hard at people who ask six year old children what they
want to be when they grow up. I’m six! I’m busy being a kid. Stop rushing me or
I’ll give you some crap about being an astronaut or a crime-fighting cyber-warrior or a princess.
So, I don’t know how old I was
when the first vague plans began to coalesce around my future. I don’t remember
ever saying I wanted to be a middle-management career bureaucrat at
Research-O-Rama University. But at some point I knew I wanted to get married,
and have kids and have a house – although by then the white picket fence was
out. Definitely wanted a hedge instead. These days I’m still planning. For when
I can’t drive a car anymore and have to walk out for groceries. For downsizing
so if I drop dead without warning my heirs won’t find a hidden porn stash or
that puzzling collection of beer bottle caps. I’m planning where to put my DNR
and my weed where they will be respectively easy and hard to find.
But this morning I spoke to some
Gen-X people who said when an interviewer asked them what their ten year plan
was they pretty much said: why bother? Wouldn’t that make them think you were a
flake? I asked.No: pragmatic, they
replied. First, there are no opportunities for buying houses with or without
picket fences unless your parents are friends with Mitt Romney on Facebook.
Second, stuff happens. They said that at every point of their lives, if asked to guess where they would be even five years hence they never would have predicted
themselves to be where they found themselves five years later. Why should tomorrow be
This is the age of uncertainty,
at least for the generation of Baby Boomers’ children who took our advice and
went to college only to find themselves with six-figure debts and no job
opportunities. Instead of getting mad - or maybe after passing through the
stages of denial and anger etc, - they have reached acceptance. And while they
may not exactly embrace the uncertainty, they find no cause for anxiety. Like the anxiety I have, for example, about whether I’ll ditch the porn before I’m suddenly
stabbed by a door-to-door bible salesman.
Maybe in ten years, I’ll be an
astronaut, I said. You never know, they said.