After writing my previous post, the more I think about it, the angrier I get at myself, at my generation. Gen X, what happened to us? How did we fail ourselves, the nation, the world? We were the Chosen Ones!
We grew up with stories and legends of heroes against all odds. We were Goonies who’d never say die; we were Young Guns fighting the good fight; we were Wolverines pushing back the red dawn; we were clever Sarah outsmarting the Goblin King; we were Atreyu off to save the princess; we were Luke Skywalker fighting the Empire; we were Daniel Larusso kicking Cobra Kai’s ass; we were the Breakfast Club kids, raising our fist in defiance; we had the touch, we had the power. What happened to us?
Maybe I’m being unfair. I know I’m not as well-read on this subject as I should be, and I’m sure there are Gen Xers who went on to do good things for us, the nation, and the world, but as a generation, I can’t shake the feeling that we blew it. We were the chosen ones, we were indoctrinated to be the heroes, but we blew it. The Empire won, and here we are now dealing with the repercussions. We picked up the legends of those that came after us and saw a glimmer of who we were to be there, we fancied ourselves as those heroes like in our golden days, but it was a lie. As Emily Asher-Perrin writes in an article at Tor.com,
“I am not a member of Dumbledore’s Army. My generation, we’re the Order of the Phoenix, at best. Faces on a picture waving up at them. Some of us are gone and some of us remain. The most I can hope for is Remus Lupin status: Here are a few spells to combat evil. Here are the fights we tried and failed to win. Here is my unflagging support. Here is some chocolate; eat it, it helps, it really helps. Forgive me for not doing more, for not ending this before you had to lose your friends and hide in a dark room and listen to adults tell you how to feel instead of telling you how they will stop this from ever happening again.”
We were the chosen ones, and our time passed.
But we now have a new opportunity, to be the grown-ups who support the new chosen ones. Where we were once young Luke Skywalker, we are now old Luke in The Last Jedi, jaded and tired and angry at himself for what he failed to do, yet still training Rey, the new generation, the true new hope, setting her free of the forced-upon restrictions of generations past.
Maybe our time has passed, maybe we did indeed blow it, but we’re still around and we can still rise up to help those now raising their fists in defiance. After all, Goonies never say die.