I knew this was going to happen.
How many times have I written a joke about an older celebrity yelling at kids to get off his lawn. As an American male, we are all destined to become grumpy old men. Heck, they even made a couple of comedies about that topic with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau playing their parts to the tee.
Now, here I sit, on D-Day, wanting to just yell at anyone under the age of 30, “YOU DON’T KNOW HOW EASY YOU’VE GOT IT!”
Better back up a little bit. “D-Day” was the day that the United States led the charge into Europe, landing on the beaches of Normandy, France, as we made a well-planned, major assault on the Nazi empire. No, I wasn’t there, but my parent’s generation was. They all knew at least one person who died in that effort, or any of the other battles that made up World War II. KIRO did a nice report yesterday on that day, playing updates that actually aired on 710am on June 6th, 1944. One reporter commented that our soldiers were mostly kids–18,19,20–that enlisted to fight for their country, only to die on the beaches of a far away country.
Yes, Generation-Y. There was a time when people your age had to go through basic training and then find themselves in a kill-or-be-killed situation before they knew what happened. One year, they were big, bad seniors in high school. The next, in a fire-fight for their lives in Germany or the South Pacific.
Last night, we saw the movie, “Through Hell and High Water”, which followed the war-time lives of two people–a teenage girl from Norway and an entertainer-turned-soldier from Scotland–and the unlikely way they met, married and settled in Washington State. Germany invaded Norway, so teenagers there didn’t get to do teenage things. When their towns were burned, they lived in caves in the hills. When ships came to rescue them and take them some place safe, German warships sank their boats with torpedos, or aircraft attacked. The fact that both of them survived was an amazing story in itself.
I bring all this up–D-Day, war-time, having your world turned upside–to say, look: no matter how hard you think you’ve got it right now, you ain’t seen nothing. No one is going to hand you the perfect job, you’ll have to fight for it. That’s what helps you appreciate it even more when you get it. We are the result of our experiences, so when you hear the people of World War II described as “the Greatest Generation”, it is well-deserved.
Today, you can take that chance and fail, but will have family and friends to back you up. You can say what you want to say and not fear reprisals from an invading country’s death squads. My sage advice–don’t look at it as how bad you’ve got it. Think of how good you’ve got it. Adjusting that mindset could turn into a lifetime of realizing your goals, rather than a history of excuses.
There, I’ve done it. I’ve officially reached “Grumpy old man-ness.”
And it feels good….