Dear Gen Z: I’m exhausted (and I think you are, too.)
You didn’t ask for this - not for any of it. You didn’t ask for the long nights awake, doing your homework, and struggling on that math problem for hours, the one that makes you hate the entire subject. You didn’t ask for the nonstop tears dropping onto your pillow, a hand covering your mouth in order to not wake the house. You shouldn’t have ever had to look in the mirror and not be happy with what you saw, shouldn’t have had to be going to protests instead of your friend’s house, or had to make a post on your Instagram story explaining that we should care about other people.
We’ve been labeled as a lazy, selfish, egocentric generation, but who are we, really? The therapist friend, who’s waiting for someone to ask how you are? The musician, getting told you won’t make it anywhere in life; that it just won’t happen? The academically inclined one, waiting for someone to notice how hard you work every night? The athlete, working as hard as you can to get a scholarship to attend your dream school?
Does anyone else sometimes feel the urge to yell at all the adults around? Tell the lady that’s been bad-mouthing the waitress that maybe she’s had a hard day? That we aren’t lazy, just overworked and exhausted, and dealing with more pressures than any generation before us has had to endure. Say that maybe if somebody would just listen rather than talk over you, maybe some of the 77,000 young people in Pennsylvania (Mental Health America) wouldn’t have gone through a severe depressive episode in the past year? Scream at the top of our lungs that it shouldn’t be our job to fix the problems that the people before us caused?
Gen Z: You keep advocating for other people when you should start advocating for yourself.