The Raw Confusion of the Young


Beyond "The Lost Generation" of Hemingway, what is left of us? Is our confusion serving the cause of our denial?

Young and restless, they say. Reckless, at times. I do not think anyone would argue otherwise about this label. Whether young or old. In my recent read, I indulged one of the literary masterpieces of Ernest Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises. As a member of a generation of post World War 1, Hemingway calls that generation “The Lost Generation”. His label was to suffice the fall of the societal structure, the spread of brokenness amidst the community, and the dire trial of escaping pain due to the impact of the war. Escapism was governing the realm of the people to erase the horrors or at least to fade the bold carves. Alcohol, literature, jazz, and even sex were not enough shields to sustain the escape. Here is the wonder then: if “The Lost Generation” was born a century ago, what would be the best description of this generation? A generation that has suffered two grand wars and so many follow-ups? A generation born of a cracking structure? Deeply broken and wounded. A generation living at the edge of despair. And above all, keenly talented in denying the existence of anything. What would be the best title for us, then?

The angst is not a mere fantasy. Nor a made-up thrill to justify some acts. The angst buried beneath all the young is the undeniable reality. So much so, it is usually reflected in a premature reaction toward everything. Too much rage. Unbalanced concern when not required. Unyielding stubbornness for partially understood matters. The unnecessary responses sought into the unrelated causes are the sole reason why we might be an enigma as a generation.

There is also the ungiving quest for freedom, societal structure, customs, principles, and values. Not everyone might inquire about these questions in a similar way. But, one way or the other, the quests are the weeds we cannot avoid nor destroy. This, in the biggest sense, leads us straight to the depth of confusion. It makes us second guess and questions every single move we make. Is this proper? Should I be happy about this? How should I feel? Can anyone tell me what to do or how to feel? Why should anyone be entitled, though? Am I in trouble/in the wrong here? And then, all these questions accumulate to form a fine line of denial. The closing statement becomes everything[my life] is off the record [as if we have spent many years living in this world]. The ultimate destination is, then, a raw confusion: What am I supposed to do now?

What am I up to? What should I do next? What should I believe? Should I even believe? Am I dreaming? Am I conscious? Have I started living? Or am I yet to start to live? Why am I like this? How did I get here? And when?… And so much more questions firmly establish the raw confusion of the young along with the narcissism borne out of individualism. After all, what would a lost generation produce if not this?

Sooner or later, the raw matures. And this raw confusion illuminates that being young is not equivalent to being invincible. The recklessness will see to the end of its indestructibility, anyway. Life breaks us apart. Time, along with life itself, mends us as well. As the days keep piling up like trash paper, we are forced to realize life moves on even if we don’t. And the confusion clears up as we move along. Or so it tries to fade away.

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