I’ve been slowly making my way through the cover story of this week’s New York Magazine titled “It Sucks To Be Us.” The story, thus far, is depressing as hell. It explains why we’re all so entitled (spoiler: it’s because, while growing up, we were always told we could do anything and be anything we wanted and given lots of oftentimes false praise by our parents) and how a majority of us are saddled with jobs we hate or no job at all and living back with our parents.
While I was taking a break at work and thinking about the article, Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams came to mind, and I thought, “Did Billie Joe have an inkling of how miserable a majority of us were going to be less than a decade later?" I should put a disclaimer up front that to say I’m legit miserable is a gross exaggeration. By all accounts I’m living the high life in comparison to a lot of people: I’m employed, have my own apartment, $0 college debt, and health insurance. (Yeah, that’s going on the next sign I hold up at Zuccotti Park.) The only thing I have to complain about is that my job is not what I want to be doing. I love my bosses and my colleagues, I’m grateful to have a job, but it’s not a job that I want to be doing.
I do it though because, unfortunately, I need to do something that will pay the bills. I go back and forth between thinking “well, that’s the mature thing to do,” and “you’re a sell out” regarding the above statement. I try not to beat myself up over it too much though. This is definitely not what we were promised growing up and being unhappy is not what we signed up for. What happened to “we can do anything if we put our minds to it”? Until something drastic changes with the economy, or this country, we’re just going to have to suck this up. I want nothing more than to become an entrepreneur, but unfortunately, I don’t have any ideas that are worthy of an investment.
Somehow when I think about how I’d like to be doing something else so much, Boulevard of Broken Dreams pops into my head and kind of depresses me even more. The song, as well as the accompanying music video, completely convey, I think, how a lot of America’s youth is currently feeling. Broken dreams, loneliness, etc. And despite the fact that some of our generation is finally taking some goddamn action (Occupy Wall Street), we’re for the most part apathetic (my shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating).
Maybe Billie Joe saw before any of us did, or before the markets crashed, how disappointed this generation was going to be. Or maybe this is just another one of those songs whose meaning is finally being realized.