Thursday, March 5, 2009

disappointing futures

This is not going to be a very “nice” post, but it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while, and I figure I need to write it down to get it to move on….

It’s about my nieces and nephews. I’ve got 10 of them (ok, one is a step-niece, but still), and they range in age from 2 years to 27 years old. Now basically, I’m only going to complain about the ones over 18…which, coincidentally is exactly half of them (or 5, for those of you who may be mathematically challenged)…ages of 18 (19 by May), 19 (20 by June), 21 (22 by April), 23 (24 by June), and 27. See, each of them is kind of disappointing. Not ONE of them is really succeeding (let alone excelling!) in life, and they don’t really seem to care too much about it. Only one is really pursuing a career – and he’s doing ok, though he did fail a class and therefore pushed his graduation back by 6 months. The others though…seem so very directionless. And one of them is married with a kid of his own already. Granted, they all have great dreams and come up with plans all the time, but there’s no motivation or follow thru. They don’t seem able to take it all in hand and DO SOMETHING for themselves.

I don’t know if the “fault” lies with the parents (my brothers & sis-in-laws) or just in the laziness of the individual. Granted, I don’t think my brothers (any of them, really) did all that great in the parenting realm, but then I also don’t think they did badly either – NONE of the “kids” is in trouble, on drugs, or just plain f*cked up….That in itself is a major accomplishment these days. All of them are polite, clean (usually), intelligent, talented, and have a firm grasp of wrong and right.

But they’re not doing a thing to really grab onto their potential and make a success out of their lives. Just what ARE they doing, you ask? Two of them are currently living at home (one working and going to school, the other has tried 3 colleges, but is doing nothing to my knowledge); one is in a dead-end internship out of state (down in Disney), but not taking advantage of the course work she could get; one works at something like Chick-fillet or Starbucks and just got engaged (no college); and one is married (has an associates) with a child and a wife…and last I heard he wasn’t fully employed. So as I said, no overt ambition….though, again, there is ONE who seems to be headed in that direction….But 1 out of 5? Doesn’t sound like good odds to me. I realize that maybe they don’t fully understand yet that their life is strictly up to them – what they get out of it is only what they put into it. If they put no effort into it, they’ll get nothing in return. They need to learn that they – themselves – are the ONLY ONE RESPONSIBLE for what happens to them. If they’re broke because they’re not working….find a job – anything to pay the bills till you figure out what you really want to do – AND THEN FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO IT. Success takes effort. Lots of effort. And it means sometimes doing things you don’t really want to do, in order to get to where you want to be.

If you have a dream, something that you really want to do – pursue it. Figure out what it will take to fulfill it, whether that’s schooling, internships, research, or just working in the field/type of job you want, so you can gain experience to get up to the level you want to be at ultimately. But DO something. If you want to go to a specific college, figure out how you can get the money (scholarships, grants, working while attending, etc.) and then GO FOR IT. If you don’t get it the first time, GO FOR IT AGAIN, and again, and again. You are the only one who can make your life happy – no one else has any influence on it (unless you let them, which is perfectly fine, as long as you’re not leeching off of them). I know from personal experience that sometimes what you really want is just too hard to get to right this minute…but that doesn’t mean you should give up on it. You just need to do your best right now, keep the dream in sight and work on it in whatever way you can, and eventually you will figure out a way to attain your goal.

It’s just kind of sad to watch the “next generation” be such a group of do-nothings, when I can see they have a ton of potential. I’ve offered to help a few times, in such a way where I wouldn’t be carrying them but that they’d be able to follow through on their own….but no takers. Guess they really don’t want to make the effort – do they just want it handed to them? Not gonna happen.

But I guess there is always possibility for change, right? Here's hopin'.


notyourfrog said...

You're right - that wasn't a nice post. In fact, I would call that a GROSS understatement. Further, I would go so far as to say that such a post comes very close to alienating the very same people you claim to care so much about.

Here's the deal: this post was not instructive, constructive, helpful in any way, or possessing any redemptive quality whatsoever. If you see these 5 as such "do-nothings," as you say, the appropriate venue by which to express concern is direct communication, versus the bitch-fest you just vomited. on the internet for any and all to read.

I can't speak for the other four, but being the eldest of your infamously worthless five, I can respond for myself. My life is in a period of tactical repositioning. What you see as lack of direction, drive, ambition, hope, or a future worth anything to anyone, is in fact much more. I realized the error of my wandering life nearly five years ago, and am just starting to see the fruit of the steps I've been taking. From big mistakes come big messes, and from such messes require careful, well-planned steps to effectively clean up without risk of creating the same mess again (or worse yet: a bigger mess than before).

All this to say: before you write so publicly such personal feelings about other people's "disappointing futures," make sure (a)the parties about whom you're speaking don't mind being dissected and scrutinized in such a way, and (b)you actually have correct facts. Without these two things - no matter how cathartic writing your thoughts on the topic may be, you're more likely to damage relationships with your subjects than showing them the "error of their ways."

And yes - in case you haven't picked it up through my subtlety, I'm pissed.

wordwitch said...

I did not write this to show anyone the error of their ways, because those ways are specifically THEIR OWN. I'm not trying to tell them what to do, these people are all adults now, and should be their own people. But I too, am my own person, and as a marginally connected person to these people, I am saddened by my past observation of what I have seen. I admit, I do not communicate with these people much, if at all - but by simple observation over the years, this is what I've seen. How would you feel if - in the future your sister's kid and spouse (both very intelligent, talented people) ended up having to get food stamps? I don't understand how that can happen to people in my family - we're not poor! Sorry if I stepped on your toes. But if you've been working on fixing things for 5 years, then good for you - glad your trying to improve. But I didn't write this to piss you off. I wrote it because that is what I have seen, and felt. Feel free to correct me (as you have, thank you).