Age and Expectations - Part 1

This is a really powerful video:

It really shows the consciousness of our society and what we're most concerned about: being normal, particularly when it comes to milestones we "should have" hit by our age (or with those we may have hit prematurely when it comes to "10-17 and pregnant").

Our society really associates age with milestones, and that's understandable. I often think to my parents who, by my age, had a house and two kids. My dad still works for the same company he did when he was my age and had way more responsibility than I have now. I often compare myself to him and wonder why things are different...

To be fair it was the late-80's/ early-90's and things were much better economically, and the culture varied socially. Plus, Home Improvement was on television, which makes everything better. But you can't help but make those comparisons and tests that, by such-and-such age I need to have experienced such-and-such. And according to this video, the two biggest expectations are relationships/sexuality and career.

I used to feel the same way, as a kid who often struck-out with the ladies in high school. I didn't kiss a girl until I was in college, which I was mortified to admit to anyone prior to it happening. That was weird and I didn't want to be weird - ultimately, it's about being "normal."

I recently read that, in order to change the culture of an organization, you have to make your ideal culture the social norm, so that if people deviate from it, they will be looked down upon by their peers. "The inner conformist is stronger than the inner activist," the article reads. It's not about being a good person, but about being cool. Man, that's so a whole, humans just want to fit in more than anything.

Normal is changing though, isn't it? I think my generation is comfortable with a new normal (as the show suggests), but I think that this emerging culture is nothing but a general acceptance that "we aren't where we used to be, and that's okay." Is it? Probably, but there are consequences.

I'm still finding my way career-wise, which may mean I end up doing something more enjoyable than the previous generation, but may not be able to retire when my parents do. I got married later in life, which means kids come later - a trend I see more and more. Kids coming later is more dangerous when it comes to miscarriages and the such, but not always. Again, we may have to work longer in life to support those kids, but if I enjoy my job, that's not so bad, right?

The things that scare me about it are that culture seems to be more selfish. It's a very "me-centric" society we live in, where life is generally about what we can get out of it. What can this relationship do for me? What can my company offer me? How does my church feed me? That's a dangerous road to go down because most people would say those aren't bad things. Self-preservation is the first law of nature, right? But that's not what Jesus says:
  • "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
  • "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it" (Luke 9:24).
  • "Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it" (Luke 17:33).
  • "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:39).
  • "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it" (Matthew 16:25).
  • "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me and for the gospel will save it" (Mark 8:35).
  • "The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25).
(Those quotes are pulled from here.)

This is getting pretty long, so I'm going to make it a two-parter. To be continued...