Grass, cash, or ass- nobody rides for free. I’m guessing the phrase was first coined about hitchhikers in the 60’s, but I could be way off. Recently Grifter made a facebook post about the generation coming into adulthood having never earned anything the hard way. Grifter and I love to debate each other, so I’ll offer this tidbit: it’s not a generational issue but simply an issue with people in general.
The running joke in the SOF communities is the last hard BRC/BUD’s/ITC/Q-Course was the one YOU graduated from. It seems the senior generation in communities always like to point down at the younger generation at how much easier they have it. I’m going to reach a bit and assume this has been happening forever. Really, unless you charged into battle wearing chain mail and carrying a sword, we have it much easier than any other time in history. I digress, but you get the point.
The newly minted twenty-somethings are not the first ones to pawn responsibilities off on others in the “pursuit of happiness.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about finding your passion and following it, but doing so should not mean that you ride the wave of somebody else’s hard work. I see people of all ages handing their responsibilities off on other people, be it a mortgage, kids, dogs, a car payment, or just household chores. I want to be clear in this- I have no issues with people simplifying their lives. A good friend of mine has been talking about living out of an RV so he can essentially be a beach bum and run his business by remote. It sounds like a fantastic idea to me. However, not if you’re a twenty two year old recent college graduate with student loans, especially if you squandered your college years binge drinking and running up mommy and daddy’s credit cards. I think we’ll all agree there is a large difference here.
MY point of contention is when someone feels entitled to something that someone else has earned. I’ve heard kids complain that their doctor father makes great money and takes tons of vacations but never buys them things, or doesn’t take them on exotic vacations. Personally, I think parents should be there to provide the necessities and guidance. Anything extra is just that, and should be greatly appreciated. The issue to me is not a generation, the issue is a mindset and an idea that the world owes you something. Thanks to credit systems, bad parenting, an instant gratification world, the internet, social media, bigfoot, and whatever else has made today different than yesterday; it seems that more people, regardless of age, feel entitled to what other people have worked for.
Now, I know everyone needs a hand every once in a while. I’m not saying for even a second that you can do everything on your own, because you can’t. Somebody, somewhere along the way will help you out when you need it, but you should not expect that they have an obligation to help. You should reach to stand on your own two feet, if that means after college or the military you have to act like an adult then so be it.
It seems to be a growing sentiment among this generation of veterans. Perhaps it’s because we lost our youth to combat, or maybe it was the fact that we had seen more of the world than our peers before we could legally drink. Whatever it is, we typically have seen and done more than our peers in our early 20’s. Some won’t want to hear that but it’s the truth. Seeing people squander their youth on things that won’t matter to them decades later breaks our hearts simply because we never had that option. To be perfectly honest, myself and most veterans would have spent our young adult years in no other fashion, we simply do not want to watch others waste the precious time and opportunity they are granted.
Nobody in this world owes us anything we did not earn, and we certainly aren’t entitled to share the benefits of somebody else’s hard work. If you want something, work for it, earn your keep and make your bones every damn day. In the team you’ve got to prove your worth every step of the way. Take that approach to life and earn your keep.