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Thursday, August 18, 2016

I Just Found Out There IS Such A Thing As The Real World!

I can't believe that in just a few years, music from the 2000s could start being played on oldies music stations.  Isn't that depressing?

I mean, the 2000s were a horrible decade for music in general, but to think that songs such as "Who Let The Dogs Out", "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" and "Shake Your Bon Bon" are at least fifteen years old?  I tell you, it certainly makes me feel as though I need to start buying Metamucil and denture paste.

One song that I recently heard for the first time in a while was the 2002 hit by John Mayer entitled "No Such Thing".  It's definitely not my favourite song - or for that matter, my favourite musical artist - but I will post the song here.  Go ahead.  I'll wait until you listen to it.

The song itself is about the idea of finding your own path and carving your own destiny, which in theory is a very positive thing.  When the world is telling you that you have to make the honour roll, and you have to go to a prestigious university, and you have to do what the school aptitude tests say you're best qualified for, it can get to be too much.  Believe me, this is coming from a guy who wasted two years and fourteen thousand dollars pursuing a degree in a subject that ultimately would have ended up being no more valuable than toilet paper because he felt that he "had" to be like the Romans and do what the Romans did. 

Basically, my school guidance counselors were morons. 

It was an expensive lesson to learn, but people need to realize that university is not for everyone.  It certainly wasn't for me.  So, in that sense, the song "No Such Thing" is definitely a song where the message I mostly agree with.

However, there is one part of the song that I do take issue with.  The part where John Mayer happily sings that there is no such thing as the real world, and that it's just a lie that you have to rise above.

John Mayer...YOU LIE!  Then again, this is coming from a guy who used the phrase "sexual napalm" to describe a former girlfriend, so maybe it doesn't mean all that much in the grand scheme of things. 

The point is, I don't believe for a second that there is no such thing as the real world.  There most definitely is.  And if one is not prepared for the real world, it will chew you up and spit you out.

At least...that's the way we SHOULD look at it.

While I firmly believe in the idea of pursuing our passions and doing what makes us happy, we also have to realize that we have to pay our dues along the way.  We can't just expect to have everything handed to us on a silver platter and be done with it.  Believe me, I would have loved to have had someone hand me fourteen thousand dollars so I could have paid off my loans lickety-split, but in reality I had to work my butt off to pay back ever last dime.  It took me eleven years to accomplish this feat, but in the end, it taught me several valuable lessons about money management and taking responsibility for your own mistakes. 

That's why I find it hard to deal with the fact that some people in this world seem to feel as though responsibilities and earning your way in this world doesn't matter as much as doing whatever it is you want.  It's the classic proverb brought to life.  You can't have your cake and eat it too.

I don't really mean to pick on the generation known as the Millennials (believe me, I've met and known quite a few Millennials who absolutely get it and are well-adjusted, pleasant people to be around), but they seem to get the most derogatory comments directed towards them when it comes to earning your way through life.  Again, from personal experience, I know that this is definitely not the case with everyone born between 1982 and 2002.  But I do have to agree that some of them do seem to feel as though the world owes them a living and that the less work they have to do to get what they want, the better life will be for them.

But here's the thing.  I actually don't blame those Millennials who do feel that way.  If anything, I think that they're learning by example from the people who are around them.  I think in the cases of those who I find to be upstanding citizens, they've had really good role models to look up to and who have shaped their work ethic and how they see life. 

But in the cases of those who see life as one big party without any responsibilities...where do I start?

For starters, I think a lot of the origin of this behaviour comes from the days in which these people were little boys and girls learning how to add two plus two and figuring out that red and yellow made orange when mixed together.  I can remember back when I was that age, we'd have a fun sports day at the end of every school year where we would sort of simulate the Olympic games and prizes would be earned to the Top 3 finishers.  I sucked at every single event and I think I was the only one in my class that never earned a single medal or a first place blue ribbon.  That was embarrassing.  And to top it all off, everyone in the school got a participation ribbon so that even though we knew we sucked, we still took something home anyway.

To be honest, I would have rather not gotten anything at all.  To me, what made the medals and blue ribbons all that more special were the fact that there were only a limited number of them.  To have a participation ribbon that everyone else got was sort of boring. 

And yet we have tons of examples of "everyone getting a trophy" because nobody wants to hurt someone else's feelings, and that way everyone wins.

I absolutely HATE this practice. 

You know, as much as I sucked as an athlete, at least I owned it.  And as bummed as I was about not getting any first place ribbons, it just gave me that much more motivation the following year to do better.  Okay, so I never did earn a blue ribbon, but the point is that I did gradually improve because I put in the work and the effort to make it happen.  Instead we have a group of people who get rewarded whether they win or lose, no matter how much or how little effort people give in the process.  So, basically they are taught that they will get rewarded whether they work hard or not.  What a horrible lesson to teach people.

And you know, many people like to blame the so-called Millennial generation for this sense of apathy...but who do you think implemented these ideas in the first place?  That's right...the generation before them.

I think as a whole, we need to make everybody accountable for their actions.  I feel that if someone does something that is great, by all means, give them the blue ribbon, the trophy, a pat on the back, and the one million dollar cash prize.  Well, that is...if there is a million dollars at stake.  Usually any of the situations I'm in, there's not.

On the flipside, if a person is not doing what they are supposed to be doing, be it at school, at work, or in a sports game, then we need to stop making excuses for them.  Stop arguing that they deserve an A+ when their paper is a D minus.  Instead, sit down with them and help them put forth the effort to bring that grade up.  Stop making excuses for why people feel the need to skip shifts simply because they won't work weekends.  Instead, hold them accountable for their actions and take the necessary disciplinary steps to fix or correct the issue before it starts to affect workplace efficiency and morale.  Stop demanding that your child automatically make the first string of a sports team because it is their right.  Instead, work with the children to improve their skills, or find an activity that they CAN excel in.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is this.  Let your children experience failure.  Let your children experience disappointment.  Let your children make a mistake or two or eighty-seven.  But stop trying to install a sense of entitlement in them because they will find out the hard way that life isn't always easy. 

And that there IS such a thing as the real world.  It's no lie.  And if you're not prepared for it, it'll break your heart...and then some.

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