Step up your game
REMIND ME again, what century are we in? Ah! We’re at the peak of technological advancement. We’re in this historic timeline that values Facebook “like”-rs and Twitter and Instagram followers like gold. We’re in this age where interactions can be done virtually. We’re at this moment where puberty starts to kick in at the age of seven. We’re in this century where you can find everything on Google. We’re in the so-called “selfie generation.” The Y cohort. The millennials.
Your worth is measured by how popular you are or how updated your gadgets are, or even how pouty your lips are when you take a selfie. The youth seem to be at ease with all these. We live in a culture where YOLO-ing is given so much importance. When we’d rather go out to party and socialize with other people all day and all night; when we’d rather get drunk with alcohol the whole week than immerse ourselves in reading and in school work.
We tend to waste our youth on something that won’t last a blink. We tend to fantasize with temporary bliss rather than work our asses off for long-term results. The fact that nobody dared slap me that kind of reality, with the intention of actually waking me up, scares me. We tend to conform to what is mainstream, satisfied to be called cowards for not having enough courage to be outliers.
Apparently, technology and the apprehensions and greediness it brings have taken their toll on us—so much so that we choose to forget the real essence of learning. Sure, anything can be googled nowadays. We don’t even have to sweat going to libraries to read and research because we have the so-called lifesaver Internet; we don’t need to go out and interact with people because we have these social network sites. If you have the power to create technology, you also have the power to monopolize everything around you.
Our world revolves around the technology, giving us nothing but apprehensions and greediness. This, to be honest, scares me at all levels. But I am not discrediting the wonders that technology is giving us. I’m trying to point out that one of the dangers of having such blessed intelligence is possible stagnation and getting stuck in that vacuum. We brag about how many Facebook “likes” we have, how many Twitter and Instagram followers, but we never really dwell in the very essence of this life: learning.
I’m afraid this generation might just languish and be demeaned. My generation is degrading, and it has to stop.
Call me a hypocrite, but I think it’s high time we left this comfort zone and stepped up the game. This society is so advanced in terms of technology; sure, that also means economic development. But we have to bear in mind that it is a double-edged sword. It also has its snags.
Ideally, this technology should make our lives easier, and more efficient. It is supposed to connect us and make this world a borderless place. Sadly, the opposite is what’s happening right now. Instead of linking us to other people, it widens the gap. We do things that are rather meaningless to society, worship people mainly for the reason that they are good-looking, and vilify those who should be praised and looked up to. What used to be cool is now considered dull and boring. We are such bootlickers of technology that we also turn into something we thought we would never be.
We stagnate and get stuck.
I, for one, believe that this is one of the effects of high technology. And as I see it, the emerging predicaments that the Filipino youth are facing right now are cowardice, confusion and apathy. We are afraid to discover the unknown, to unravel the mysteries, and, more importantly, to accept our weaknesses.
No one wants to be branded as dreary, boring, lame and feeble. But that’s how it is supposed to work! You have to experience it first before actually knowing it. The only way to make it through is by going through. You are here to experience the bad in order to reap the good. You need to carefully filter it and decipher what is good and what is bad. This life is a praxis; it is a continuous process. We should never stop learning, and we can only do so by leaving our comfort zone, by going out of our shell.
We shouldn’t be afraid to sound and look like a total idiot at doing something for the first time, because those who are calling us that are the idiots themselves. We are young, naive and, yes, confused about life, about almost everything. We have so many queries in our mind. But these puzzles that perplex us—are they really there to create such confusion? Or are they there to enlighten us?
You see, we keep searching for the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle; we are so preoccupied with finding it that we forget the whole process. In the parallel universe, we keep on searching for the answers to questions about life, and we end up so obsessing on something that, in the process of it, we lose ourselves, so convinced are we by the thought of it, trying to convince ourselves that this is the missing piece of our life. We stopped growing; we stopped looking. We became content with the comfort of having it in our life.
Don’t be confused. This life is not meant to make everything easier. Sure, the beginning is always the hardest, but never settle for anything less than what you are supposed to have. Just keep looking.
Completing the whole puzzle is one hell of a boring game. There will be cracks in between to get rid of the ennui. The challenge is how to keep the game interesting. In life, you’ve got to learn how to keep the flame burning, to keep your passion and determination close and tight. If you need to pause, then pause, but never ever give up.
And in the process of finding the answers to these questions, we get to see and learn the things we, in the first place, choose to find. Our lack of empathy, if it continues, will be the cause of the downfall of this society. Let us not be narcissistic losers wandering the streets, trying to look good and making everyone know about it. Let us not make the “talk of the town” our #LifeGoal while the rest of us are struggling to eat at least once a day. Let us do something significant for society. Let us be selfless and passionate toward our fellow Filipinos.
I always believe that although the youth sector is one of the most vulnerable sectors, we are also one of the most powerful. We have youth in our favor, as well as the intelligence that will bring us to greater heights, and the passion that fuels our life. It’s not too late to waste it on love, studies, technology and futile things. It’s time to step up and be your own game.
Florenz Dean Quiachon Cojuangco, 19, is studying community development at the University of the Philippines Visayas.
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