It seems to me that a lot of the unhappiness in the world can be contributed to our inability to accept that we are minor in the whole scheme of things. I'm not saying that we suffer from inflated egos—although many do—just that we lack a certain perspective. We expect the world to achieve grand goals in our lifetime.
|Solar parking meter in Edinburgh|
Source: Wikimedia Commons
For example, in our heart of hearts, how many of us truly expected to see peace in the Middle East and an end to poverty while we still lived? Personally, I know seeing a man land on the moon and the Berlin Wall come down made me believe we were capable of some pretty spectacular accomplishments within the span of a few decades.
But the expectations of my generation (affectionately known as "the slackers") pale in comparison to the Millennials, those born between roughly 1980 and 2000.
These kids and young adults seem to me to be the most incredibly cause-oriented generation that was ever created. Incidentally, I have two kids who are Millennials, so I've seen some of this first hand. But you don't need to take my word for it. Just check out the number of hashtags on Twitter! (Omitting, of course, those that have to do with Justin Bieber.)
Millennials get a bit of a bad rap for being unserious, but I actually think they're very serious. Just focused on different things than the rest of us are. I think their willingness to fight for a cause is one of the most laudable things about them. That said, it also tends to make them a bit gullible. As I try to teach my kids, a little skepticism is a healthy thing.
I didn't intend this post to be about Millennials, they just provided an example of a malady that many of us suffer from to a certain extent.
I think the key to happiness may lie in accepting that we are but a flash in the pan. I'm not saying that we shouldn't work for causes that we—after careful consideration—consider important. But perhaps what's most important is not what we accomplish in our lifetime, but the foundation we lay for future generations.
What kind of foundation are you laying?