The tablet in my bag works for me. The one in your bag works for you. My tablet stabilizes blood pressure, yours stabilizes peer pressure! Your laptop is the latest mini. My two-year old ‘laptop’ is called Minnie – my granddaughter who loves sitting on my lap! My phone is, well, a phone. Yours is a device! Your slender fingers slide expertly across its slick screen. My thick fingers, muscled from working those heavy bakelite rotary phones, skid and fall every time I answer a call!
Wait! This isn’t spam. It’s from a grey-haired ‘uncle’ wishing to congratulate you for living in this wondrous age.
- The age of choice: Your upbringing and education gives you the right, and the confidence, to make your own choices. Career, car, partner, virtues – even vices – you get to choose!
- The age of knowledge: Where knowledge is available mostly free and quite literally, at your fingertips. At the tap of a screen, search-engines can deliver anything you need to know, 24x7, anywhere in the world!
- The age of freedom: Nothing holds you back from going anywhere. Your quest for self-fulfillment and career satisfaction has no geographic boundaries if you know what you are seeking. Even if you don’t, yet the world is still your oyster, as you cock a snook at that nosy Mr. Kapoor* next door. You really don’t care what he thinks! Freedom isn’t about external bondage, but internal, personal barriers. Only you can break out of those.
- The age of equality: Today’s environment is equal opportunity. Gender is no longer a bias – or someone’s gonna get hurt real bad! And someday you’ll throw out those other politically motivated ones too…
- The age of economic strength: The economic rise of the ‘middle-aged class’ – your parents’ generation – has given you many gifts. Access to world-class education, the advantage of free-flowing opportunities and the liberty to exercise your own purchasing power.
Most ‘oldies’, including yours truly, recognize your era and rejoice in the newness it brings. Oh, ignore the bitter few. They can’t let go, so they hold their earlobes, shake their heads and mutter ‘Kalyug…’ It’s actually a fresh ‘yug’.
But we do occasionally feel challenged when faced with some of the byproducts of your age. Like your exasperating truncated lingo. V cn undrstnd bt tk time. OMG! I LOL! And why can’t your messages start with a greeting, please?
Just thought you should know…
Agreed, your challenges today are by no means few. Rather, they’ve grown wider! Competition is fiercer – because the population has grown significantly. Technology – your BFF – ever evolving, makes you accessible 24x7, so you’re working more and at odd times. Loyalty to work, the coffee shop, or life-partner, is only as good as your last interaction. This may actually be good because it delivers good sense, widens perspectives and helps you accumulate wisdom!
However, whenever you feel that life truly ‘sux’, think about all the blessings you enjoy:
- New career opportunities: You have many more sectors to choose from. Info-tech, BPO, the wide new auto range, bioengineering, robotics, genetics… This, while all the ‘traditional’ opportunities – law, medicine, engineering…remain available to you! The choice is yours – exclusively!
- Creative/liberal arts are now viable professions: In the past, my elders – actively supported by Bollywood – perceived artists, musicians and writers to be people with a stubble-faced, wearing a jhola-bag over their shoulder and worn out kolhapuri slippers. Highly emotional, they were mostly broke and invariably died coughing consumptively! Your generation has changed that! Artists, musicians, photographers make enough money – they’re quite hep too!
- Companionship on demand: You have the ability to chat with and video-call anyone in your network – for business or companionship. Even if you’ve never met them personally…!
- Global communicator: You can speak your mind – anonymously or in full view – about anything, and be heard in all corners of the world. You can market your thoughts, ideas, inventions, writings, to anyone, anywhere, anytime! Viral isn’t a disease anymore!
And best of all, you have access to the wisdom of those who’ve been there before: ahem, us aging baby boomers!
We’ve passed through and seen it all: good times, recessions, governments and governments, births, deaths, profits and chapter 11s. And we’ve learned a few lessons!
Well, it’s your time now. The world and all that’s in it, belongs to you. Treat it with care – it’s all you’ve got. I’m sure you’ll do the right thing. Your intelligence – emotional, intellectual and spiritual – will see that you do!
Meanwhile, if you feel the need for some old-fashioned advice, we old fogies are just a Whatsapp away!
*Name changed to protect the guilty party.