Jul 9, 2010

Freedom on the 20something Battlefield

Independence Day was last weekend. The 4th of July! Maybe you’re wondering why I didn’t blog about this LAST weekend, since the holiday of course was LAST weekend. Well, ya know what? I took a week off last weekend. Didn’t notice? That’s because you too were carried away with the hustle and bustle of the weekend; the rushing around, packing, planning, driving, BBQing, fireworking and celebrating.

It wasn’t easy for me to take a week off though. I felt guilty. I haven’t missed a week since I started. But then I thought, it’s a holiday, the day we celebrate living in a free country… so taking a week off and doing what I want, be free of blogging for a week. It all kind of fits right into the theme of the celebration.

So that’s why we’re doing Independence Day now…just thought you should know.

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. It’s a chance to take a break and celebrate in the summer. A holiday without any expectations; no turkey, no costumes, no bunnies hopping around with candy or old men in red suits creeping around at night leaving gifts. There is no “dog and pony show” with 4th of July. It’s a relaxed event, with the only necessity being some sort of hamburger, hotdog or BBQ food with maybe a sparkler or fireworks on hand.

So I think I speak for most people when I say that I love celebrating the 4th! Plus, it’s a day where we celebrate being American. Not our race, religion, gender or age…just our nationality. We celebrate the men and women in the service, then and now, who have fought for our country’s independence. We celebrate being independent and free.

Freedom… now this is something us 20somethings can relate too.

I thought about this as the fireworks went off and my neighbors stereo played Pat Benatar’s, “Love is a Battlefield.” (Random I know, but significant… stay with me here.) I thought in reflection about this blog and what I would write this week. Remember before when I said I was feeling guilty about not writing on last week? So I’m at a party and I’m thinking about blogging. I was trying to focus on the fireworks and the “feel” of the BBQ… looking for something I could pick out, something to portray or personify. But then I hear,

“ We are young; heartache to heartache, we stand…”

Ugh the damn radio is so loud, I’m thinking. I can’t think when it’s blaring and I’m trying to reflect about what I want to write. This week’s blog needs to be a “great one” because of my hiatus this past week. But I just couldn’t concentrate on my reflection because I’m busy taping my foot, along to…

“We are strong; no one can tell us we’re wrong…”

I give up I thought. Once you’re subconsciously humming a song to yourself, it’s stuck in your head for a while. So I accepted defeat and decided I would think about blogging later. But now I had that song on my brain. It was kind of ironic. Here we are celebrating the fact that people went out on a real battlefield and fought for our independent and Pat’s singing about love as a battlefield.

Love as a battlefield seems kind of dramatic doesn’t it? As I tap my foot to the beat, I thought to myself about how the song kept making me think of us 20something’s. Love may seem like a battlefield at times, but the real battlefield is our 20something years. I noticed that Pat’s lyrics were applicable to my 20something theory.

We are young - We are no longer teenagers, but we are young adults. Those of us at the start of our 20’s are a little younger than those of us in our mid and late 20’s… but nonetheless bottom line we are young adults.

Heartache to heartache we stand - We are at a time when if we happened to make it through our teenage years unscathed, the reality is bound to set in during our 20’s. The reality that you don’t always get what you want, no matter how hard you work. The reality that we lose people we love no matter how much we need them or how much we think we need them. The reality that we will be picked over in jobs and personal relationships. The reality that we will have our heartbroken because of rejection, loss, defeat and the inevitable bad luck. But before we get too depressed… remember…

We are strong - During our 20’s we learn how to stand on our own 2 feet. Despite the harsh realities of life we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off. This is a time in our lives when we learn how to get back up and get back on the horse. It’s not fun, it’s not easy and we don’t like doing it… not matter how many times it happens, but we are strong, so we endure.

No one can tell us we’re wrong - This may be my favorite part. Not because we think we know it all… but hey, we are 20something, we’ve lived through a lot and so at times we think we know almost everything… right? ;) In truth, I think this part of the song is what sets the 20somethings apart from every other generation. We have that resilience that makes us stand apart. Some people call it tenacity, chutzpah, guts, nerve or moxy. It’s the part of us that has retained the childhood wonderment of life and the glow in our eyes sprinkled with edginess.

We have the fight in us. We are ready for the battlefield even if we don’t believe that we are. It’s the part of us that believes, despite all the heartache and disappointment, that we can still make a difference or a change. The part of us that holds strong to the belief that we can be the exception to the rule. The part of us that shines through the jaded cynicism of the world.

We have that feeling in our gut that pushes us forward; the burning desire, the need, to do something extraordinary no matter what the cost. It’s the reason why we changed our major’s and our path’s in life to do what we love. Why we switch career’s mid-stream regardless of the promise of a hefty paycheck. It’s why we travel to new places and take big chances. Why we look for adventure and excitement. Why we take chances on new people. Even though we know the risk of heartache and regret is huge… we do it anyway.

When we really think about it, 20something really is a battlefield. It only took 4th of July and an 80’s song for that to become glaringly obvious to me. The two together are terribly wrong and also a perfect marriage. You see, our something’s are a battlefield, but we’re not fighting for love (I mean that’s part of it) what we’re fighting for is independence. We are fighting to break away from our childhood and be our own people. We want to grow up (most of us anyway) and be independent.

We take the hits of life as we figure out our college major, our job, what makes us happy, who makes up happy, who makes our heart sing and who makes us want to run for the hills. We are figuring out where to live, how to live, or if we should just concede and move back home as a reprieve. Its up’s and down’s. A balance of thinking we know it all and coping with abrupt reminders that we really don’t—deaths , end of relationships, loss of jobs, and worse losing ourselves or our direction. We are confident one minute and confused and reevaluating the next. To tell you the truth… the whole damn thing is exhausting! But who ever said fighting for independence was easy?


Fighting for our own freedom on the battlefield of our 20’s is supposed to be hard, but, when we get it; it’s supposed to be exhilarating, worth it and worthy of a celebration. So keep on fighting… and remember, we’re all out there because we believe that it’s worth it and the best is yet to come.


“Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.” – Ronald Regan

“No one said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.” - Unknown