Yet again there is another study that finds that we, the kids, are not as great as our parents. The American Heart Association has spoken: we have been weighed, we have been measured, and we have been found wanting in comparison. Those mighty gods that run marathons in their sixties continuously seem to massacre the twenty- or thirty- somethings on their way to the medal stand. The AMA has found that recent generations are slower, less athletic, and (really) less ambitious than the generations before us. Forget the Hunger Games, you might as well pull out our parents’ names during the Reaping; they’d put on a better show. Our parents yell at us incredulously: “how is it possible that YOU can’t keep up with US, at our age?” throwing sidelong glances at the television and computer screen. In their Baby Boomer world, they are the modern Beowulfs, forever basking in the name of awesomeness, a name that their children will never be able to top, to our parents chagrin.
Well, thanks, parents. Not only are we not fast enough, we aren’t smart enough, aren’t strong enough, don’t earn enough, aren’t involved enough, aren’t mature enough, and sure as hell aren’t able to live on our own. We don’t speak 5 languages, we haven’t even cracked a book in the canon of literature, and we have no faith to speak of. On the measuring stick of life, we don’t even reach the inch mark, and we are yards behind where are parents were at our age. But…why is that? Did you ever stop and REALLY think about it?
Maybe if you weren’t so busy running marathons, you would run at home with your kids. Maybe if you didn’t spend Saturday mornings at the track or at the gym, you would take your children outside and practice with them. Maybe if you didn’t spend so much time kicking ass at work, you would be kicking ass at home and disciplining your children. Maybe if you weren’t constantly looking for the next way up the ladder, you would get to know your children’s friends and things about your child’s life. Being a part of society takes work. And children need to be taught it. While you’re out sculpting that bodacious bod of yours and macking it at every work function, you leave all the responsibility to nannies, day care, and school. Well, newsflash: They can’t do everything. None of them can keep your child safe while also teaching them to balance a plate on their head, draw with their right foot, and recite Arabic poetry. If you would stop running your mouth and your feet, you would sit down with your kids and teach them how to be functional members of society that care about the greater good.
And then, when you are on the level of your children, you would see what they see. The ground level view isn’t that pretty. There are no stairs to the top floors of the buildings, there are no classrooms that are easy to navigate, and there are no places that are truly safe. And yet, amongst everything that is dingy and shitty, kids play. There are flashmobs and paintings, singing and spoken word poetry. Day after day, young people are signing up for half marathons, tough mudders, 5ks, 10ks, trail runs, mud runs, you name it. You don’t see people winning them? Well you never took the time to ask them about their story. For so many, it is a challenge. They fought through the sore muscles and sprained ankles and ran the damn thing, inspiring others to get up and start. From that one race, they write blogs and create clothing lines and design apps to amp people up and let them learn what that one experience taught them. Maybe they didn’t win, maybe they won’t make it to the Olympics. But, they got up and they moved.
When you open your eyes to this, you might walk down the street and see people in the gym. They do crossfit, P90X, Insanity and every other weight lifting program that makes someone feel powerful. Or, they might be in yoga – hot yoga, bikram, vinyasa, you name it. They zoom by you on bikes, used and new, that are much smaller and greener than cars. People are dancing/zumbaing/jazzericizing, skateboarding, playing football in the back yard. Who the hell are you to tell them how they should move and if they are the best at it? You wouldn’t even know.
But moving is everything to you. It’s the way you measure your self worth. There is no other expression that is worthwhile than movement. Art, poetry, and music are cut from your budget and math and science have become your priority. Well, kids need to express themselves. They are dying for it. They need to throw paint and get lost in books and have an outlet that lets them become who they are and what they want to be in their lives. They want to drop into video games and fight something that they can’t encounter in the real world. They want the American Dream – actually, they just want to dream. And they want you to help them make dreams a reality. Not everyone wants to be nurses or doctors or lawyers. Maybe they want to be artisans or farmers or video game developers. What they don’t want is your sarcasm or yelling or comments about their weight. You made them this way. You bought the ice cream, the cars, the TV, the excessively fat oils and sauces. That’s what success was to you. And you know what? We loved it too. Who wouldn’t? But, that doesn’t mean that we are rejects and that we are less “fit” than you.
Let me tell you something. We are more fit to be human beings. We are out to care about people and care about ourselves. We are so obsessed with social media because it connects us in ways that you have disconnected us from the world. We don’t want to get married too soon because we want to find someone we love, someone who will love us through our ENTIRE life. We don’t want to get divorced, create torn families, and throw children a hard ball before they even make it into this world. We want to find jobs we love, jobs that fit us as people – hell, we want find A JOB in general. We don’t want to create dishonest businesses full of assholes who are only out for money. Because there is NO MONEY. WE HAVE NO MONEY THANKS TO YOU. We will NEVER make as much as you in our lifetimes. You are the dragon sitting on the pot of gold and we are Bilbo trying to put the town back together. WE are paying for YOU to retire. We will not see an ounce of it. WE cannot live in your gabled houses. And yet, we haven’t had an uprising to stop it. We care for you.
So, listen up. I will not be told that I am not as fit as you. I will not be told that I can’t keep up with you. I am beasting through this life that you have given me, that you have put into place because of your own greedy lifestyles. If you actually read Beowulf, you would know that you need to pass things on. You need to invest in your children, otherwise the culture, society, and world as you know it will cease to exist with your generation. So do your studies and make me your control group, but don’t you dare preach to me in the name of science. No measurement, no perfect analysis will take into account the atrocities that you continue to create. I am not bound by your definitions of fit. Stop trying to “make it work”.