Have you had anyone older than you talk about how their generation had it so much harder?
“You millennials are such snowflakes, try going through the Great Depression and multiple world wars!”
It’s funny, at times the old metaphor of our grandparents walking too and from school uphill in the snow both ways feels weirdly plausible.
(Statistics do show the World today is physically less demanding)
However, that shouldn’t mean our problems today are any less valid.
(Insert your favorite hypothetical debate over generational problems) 😉
What if instead of debating over which generation truly had the more difficult problems, we instead looked at their similarities?
I reflect on the words from my “Papa.”
I vividly remember a time I tried to tell him a story about my friends’ Myspace page. He couldn’t relate due to the fact that when he was my age Myspace wasn’t even an idea.
His problems at my age looked a lot different, so comparing our apples to apples was a challenge. However, there were some underlying principles we both uncovered that appeared in each of our generational struggles.
Today’s kids do not and cannot live in the landscape of the older world, and the same goes for older generations.
(Time travel is still a mystery)
Therefore, we can draw solace in knowing that each generation of humanity will face different and more time-relative problems.
So let’s agree that instead of hypothetically wearing ourselves down arguing on whose problems are worse, we can instead own our problems with radical responsibility and awareness, thus allowing us to draw strength and wisdom from ALL generations while uncovering the common denominators between each of our solutions.
Fast forward back to our present day. (August 2021)
Last week I was in fact presented with a fairly rough couple of days.
These obstacles helped further shed light on the idea that NOBODY CAN MEASURE YOUR HARDSHIPS!
They are custom to you and you only.
However, when we choose to see others and their problems as not unique from our own, we can focus on drawing similarities and creative solutions.
This is a true win-win scenario.
So let me give you a real-world example in hopes that my vulnerability may shed insight or motivation for anyone going through obstacles of their own.
Last week, I broke my leg skateboarding.
Fibula fracture and a sprained ankle.
Yes, I know it sucks, and it hurt…. extremely.
But the next part is why I’m here.
My upcoming calendar reflected this huge photoshoot in Long Beach with a startup company called Elevate Fitness.
We had been planning this for a year, and there was a lot of hard work and emotion that went into planning this shoot.
In my physically and somewhat emotional weak state, I thought about cancelling, or getting a replacement.
On the surface of the problem, the solution to just call it quits seemed like the easiest.
However, this whole thing seemed to bring up reflections of my dad and the unique challenges he faced when he was my age.
Although he faced different obstacles, I recognized similarities in his solution.
My dad worked rain or shine, broken bones, cold, flu, headache, poop on his shirt… you name it. He faced challenges by simply just working through them.
Also, the grit he embodied in his obstacles became a positive piece of his overall character.
He was a man that rose to the level of greatness his challenges presented.
Now, I didn’t want to be stubborn and truly re-injure myself in the process, but I got this sense that I too could make this shoot happen by working through surface level pain, just like my dad.
Drawing on the similarities from my father’s problems I was reminded how resilient our bodies are, and how strong our minds can be when we are faced with danger or a tough situation.
All I knew is that people were counting on me, and I had to make a decision.
So I made the shoot happen!
It was not easy climbing two stories to black out sunroofs, and almost tripping on lighting cords a hundred times, but that was the fun of it.
I remembered how much I appreciate the Sun after being stuck in the rain.
We are far more capable than we think.
Sometimes we just need a little perspective.
The best part, this can be found through hearing other people’s challenges.
We can use the bits and pieces of other people’s subjective experiences to gain strength and insight into our own obstacles.
This is what truly makes humanity special.
Let’s celebrate this instead of looking for reasons to pull us apart.
I hope you can gain something from hearing my story.
And if nothing else, always remember….
Life always goes on. For all of us.