“Decisions, but I want it all, so I get it all.
I wanna eat the whole cake.”
I never thought I’d find myself identifying with a song by Borgore, the Israeli EDM producer who earnt himself the dubious title “the man who ruined Dubstep” and whose 2012 single Decisions features vocals by Miley Cyrus.
But what on the surface seems like a gratuitous excuse for him and Miley to have a erotically charged cake fight, actually has a message that rings true for many Generation-Yers.
We want it all. The perfect job, the right income. A house in London (impossible), music festivals, amenable relationships and meaningful travel to exotic places. Ideally, we want to get paid to travel the world meeting cool people and doing cool things, which we will flaunt to our friends on social media.
Are we the first generation to have such ridiculously high expectations of life?!
I’m sure plenty of our parents’ generation wanted high-flying careers with global travel, but without the extent of today’s globalisation, such limitless travel and work opportunities simply didn’t exist.
A quick chat with my mum confirms my suspicions. “You lot suffer from acute potentialitus” she says knowingly. “You already have a great option, but you start wondering if something else might be better.”
She couldn’t be more on the money. I spent a year getting into the TV industry, before deciding I ought to follow my heart as a print journalist. Now I’m working at a newspaper, I wonder if perhaps the world of broadcasting would have been more exciting. Perhaps my ex was right when he said I’m never satisfied!
“We had about a quarter of the choice that your generation have” says my mum, as we’re in the loft digging out old toys for my sister’s baby, and I’m scouring through bags of 80s teenage clothes in search of the latest denim trend, ‘Mom’ jeans.
Long-haul flights were so expensive that young people didn’t have the means to jet across the world. Now, the gap year generation has shown us that anyone can save up for six months and go swanning around South-East Asia. Combine this with the internet, which enables us to contemplate and research virtually any far-flung plan. Imagine trying to research a volunteering stint in Africa before the web existed. Or a career path that was completely alien to you or your family. Some things would simply have been out of reach. Back in the day, you followed the profession of your father or mother, or took up the family business.
I’m not saying this isn’t a good thing, a brilliant democratisation of opportunities that I’m immensely grateful for. Yet at the same time, such a plethora of choice can be overwhelming.
Social media makes us painfully aware of just how well everyone is doing at work, how much fun they’re having on the weekend and what a divine sunset they’re enjoying in Phuket (#omg ). It’s hard not to succumb to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
Coupled with seemingly innocuous philosophies as #DWYL (Do What You Love) and #YOLO (You Only Live Once…obviously!), we’ve ended up with a generation of twenty-somethings that is hopelessly wanderlust, expectant and damagingly flaky when it comes to plans.
I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I’ve just started planning a trip to Gilles Peterson’s festival in France, when I realised this will effectively rule out the possibility of me going off to volunteer in Africa this year, a dream I’ve had since I left university. Why can’t I learn to prioritise!
I know all this has been said before, but I hope this resonates with some people. We should be grateful for this wealth of choice and opportunity, but remember to keep things simple sometimes. Get off Facebook, compare less, do more. A case of potentialitus is no fun for anyone.
The weirdest thing is that all this made me think back to something Borgore said, when I interviewed him last week.
“The song Decisions is about how basically, I want it all. I live in LA and I’m having loads of fun, but sometimes I wish I could just be the simple guy from Tel Aviv.”
I never thought I’d agree with the man behind lyrics like “Bitches love cake”, but on this Borgore, I can relate.