Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation
Written by Stephanie Renee on March 27, 2016
“Sweetheart, I ain’t going out like that…” – Q-Tip
I’ve got a lot of milestones happening in and around my life this year, and they’re great for adding perspective to the things and people I’ve set as my priorities. Just celebrated four years on the air at WURD. My 25th college class reunion is happening in May. Ran into one of my first AKA grad chapter mentees recently, who is now 28 and completing a grad degree at Temple. Another one of my fave former students is now a staff writer at Al Día and a contributor to the Huffington Post. My youngest nephew is coming up on his 3rd wedding anniversary. These are all joyous, momentous occasions.
But the losses? The losses. Too many, too significant, too soon.
Last week, one friend committed suicide after battling for years with mental illness. Got word that a high school classmate lost her first-born in a motorcycle accident, and another good buddy from my marching band days passed the week before that. One of the hiphop voices that was the soundtrack to my young adulthood died from complications from Type 2 diabetes. My exact same age. And I refuse to begin tallying the other important friends, family members and former loves who have made transition.
How have my people become so doggone expendable?
In the coming months, I’m going to be moving into new territory on my show. I have never claimed to be a true journalist (no matter how much I idolized Barbara Walters in my youth), but I’m learning more every day how to think like one. One of the things I’m coming to realize is that there are layers to my life that are ripe for deeper exploration. Somewhere in the space between my creative and scholarly selves, there are stories to be told. How the pre-elders of the village, like me, are dealing with our increased responsibilities. Adulthood, parenthood, mentorship, wealth building, mind/body/spirit alignment, discrimination, privilege and how the hell you manage it all. While juggling fifty-eleven social media accounts, a healthy sex/social life, and generally liking yourself when you look in the mirror. A superhuman version of The Boomers, still referred to as The Greatest Generation.
We can only be who we are, for as long as we can, as best as we can. And no one has all, or even most, of the answers. We wade through the muck, but we’re never alone. And I’ve got some of the wisest, boldest, most creative and conscious friends a girl could ever ask for. I intend to call on them more frequently from now on. We’re still building, but we’ve already amassed so much insight into where we fit and where things are headed. And it’s abundantly clear that we can’t afford to take any of it for granted.