It’s the classic story: you get everything you desire and
everything the world has told you is going to make you happy and you find you
are not happy and that you still desire something more. Your life is meaningless.
That is how Ilya Shapiro explains his (and other Gen-xer’s) situation in this piece at Tech
And — though it makes us sound like spoiled brats (and
me narcissistic for writing about it) — we’re not happy. Or, rather, after a
(relatively short) lifetime of playing by the rules, eating our greens,
graduating from high school, then college, then grad school or whatever other
apprenticeship takes up our early-to-mid-20s, and finally starting work in the real
world, we’ve come to realize that there’s more to life than taking an
anointed spot in the meritocracy.
We were told by our parents (and Billy Joel) that if we
worked hard, if we behaved, we would achieve the good life. Well, we’ve
achieved! Achieved!! ACHIEVED!!! and now… what?
David Brooks take note: Generation X has arrived, made
its presence felt, looked around, and is wondering, "Is that all there
It is a conversation I keep having, or talking around,
with my friends and peers — the type of folks who 20 years ago would have been
called yuppies (which label I at least am happy to wear now, if in a
descriptive rather than ascriptive way). They — we — have everything we could
ever want in this stage of life, but still we search for meaning.
Unfortunately, Shapiro has found no answers for his
dilemma. I suggest he look to two of my favorite guys: Solomon and C.S. Lewis.
Ecclesiastes) realized that without God and eternity, life is objectively
meaningless and without hope. However, because there is a God and He does offer
eternal life, meaning and hope are ours for the taking, so take it we should.
Mere Christianity) realized that if nothing in this world satisfies our
deepest desires, it is a good indication that we were not made for this world.
What Shapiro (and everyone else who is still searching) is missing is their
true calling: relationship with their Creator. Everyone who remains alienated
from God has, in the words of Augustine (in Confessions),
a God sized hole in their being that can only be filled One Way:
"You made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they
find their rest in you."