A new story in the NY Times challenges the conventional wisdom that this is the most self-obsessed generation yet. Read it here.
Apparently, youthful narcissism is only temporary.
“It’s the development of a new life stage between adolescence and adulthood,” Mr. Arnett said. “It’s a temporary condition of being self-focused, not a permanent generational characteristic.”
David Brooks wrote an important article about this new phase of young adulthood a few months ago. He calls it “Odyssey.”
The greatest luxury of modern western society is this: We have the freedom to ask, “What do I want to do with my life?” Only a few generations ago, this was a largely irrelevant question. And it remains so for most of the world. We have the privilege of contemplating purpose, not merely survival. But so often that purpose eludes us.
If there is anything more selfish about this generation, it is the result of having so much, while nevertheless continuing to experience the unrelenting longing for purpose.
A week ago I thought that maybe, just maybe I was dying. I went to see my doctor about some throat pain. Next thing it’s to the ultrasound specialist. A few days later they send me to get – a biopsy.
I walked into the room and sat up on the big cushiony table. I glanced over at the computer monitor. It had my name, age, sex (mismarked female). Down at the bottom:
“Lump in Neck. Multiple Thyroid Cysts.”
In that moment – even though you tell yourself it’s likely nothing serious – you feel what it might be like to find out the worst.
The spectre of mortality produces a clarifying state of mind. In that state of clarity you think of all you’ve done and all that’s left to do. I’ve seldom managed to be satisfied with the present. But surprisingly, as I sat in the examination room, I felt pretty good about the life I’ve lived thus far. I felt especially thankful for my time with Jennifer these last five years. I felt proud of the album I’ve recorded, which is due to release soon, and pleased that I scratched and clawed my way into Yale after years of trying.
Turns out they’re 99.9% sure that the cysts are benign. So what’s next?
This blog is one of a hundred things I’ve meant to do.