There are many thinkers who have written lifetimes worth of works on how the modern age is a bleak and unforgiving one.
There are a million treatises on the atomization of humanity, the alienation that we all endure as a consequence of the society we have created in the last 200 years in the west.
One generation of people consistently cries out to the others, ‘you have it easier than me,’ while at the same time benefiting from the progress that’s been made.
What’s to be said for the world that we live in? Why do we keep living in it if it’s really so bad?
It’s because of a strange little concept called hope.
Now, most of the time, hope is considered a young person’s endeavor. I’m supposed to finish off my undergrad degree and run off into the world bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, like a young rabbit, until the coyote that is ‘The Real World’ catches up with me and I spend the next 20 years running from it – straight through middle age and into the promised land of retirement, where I am told I will finally have peace and be able to enjoy everything I worked towards.
That sounds like the usual narrative to me, and honestly, it’s not far off the mark.
Increasingly, as that coyote draws closer behind me, I feel an abiding fear that I will one day be stuck in a job that I hate.
Now, I definitely believe that I may have to take a few jobs I don’t like to get to where I’d like to be in life, but nothing terrifies me more than the idea of being backed into a corner and told, ‘you’ve got to stay here’ once I’ve taken one of those jobs.
Young people are often accused of being snobby when it comes to employment, but the fact of the matter is, when you grow up seeing films and television shows constantly expressing the view that work is a chore that is best avoided by calling in sick even when you’re not, you’re going to be a little bit skittish when it comes to choosing a long-term vocation.
So again, why bother? I mean, many of those thinkers I mentioned would like me to believe that I continue in this bleak age because I have an inherent fear of death, or because I feel that, eventually, I’ll reach that promised land of retirement and actually be able to reap the benefits of the decades of work I have before me.
Really, it’s because I have hope.
I have hope that even though it does sometimes feel like I’m being pigeonholed, that I will persevere.
I think that’s what keeps everyone going at this point – hope that it actually is okay, and that the future will be better than what we’re dealing with right now.
As all those thinkers I’ve been learning about have told me, the inevitable march of time will catch up with me, that eventually the coyote will get me.
But I like to think that maybe in this story – the rabbit gets away.
And maybe that’s the reason people sometimes think that hope is a young person’s venture: because we don’t learn to fear the coyote until he catches us.
Marlowe Evans is a student at the University of New Brunswick from Maple Ridge who writes about youth issues.