BY Diana C. Mandac
AS I age, answering ‘how do you see yourself in five years?’ keeps getting harder. At six, my answer was “an astronaut”. At ten, my answer was “a scientist”. At sixteen, the answer became “a journalist”. Now, picturing the future takes a lot of willpower, imagination, and optimism. Perhaps in the darkest recesses of my brain, I know that there is not much to look forward to, given the current state of the world right now.
My generation is plagued by unlivable wages, housing crisis, climate crisis, and inflation. Many find it hard to find stable jobs that provide reasonable wages, not to mention that prices keep on soaring yet wages seem to stay the same. Rental prices have also prompted others to put off their dreams of independence and stay on with their families to save money. To top it all off, the erratic weather and blistering heat that we are experiencing globally is just a prelude to what is to come in just a few years from now. I feel like I am living in a prequel book to a dystopian series — the one where the author reveals the events that led to the fall of civilization.
I don’t want to sound like a Debbie Downer, but the glass is neither half-full or half-empty. At this point, the glass is on fire. It is not a matter of optimism or cynicism about the future anymore. The game has changed, and the entire battlefield has shifted in unprecedented ways. Before, one job was enough to save up, buy a house, and provide for your family. Now, a Master’s degree is the new undergraduate degree, a 9-5 job is barely enough to make ends meet, and we are expected to take care of our aging parents while struggling to carve a life of our own. Moreover, there is a war on truth and it’s hard to have faith in the current administration, given their track record.
The older generation might say that the younger generation has it easy: we can have food and items delivered to our houses with a few clicks, and it is easier to express ourselves – thanks to social media. Some say our generation is “too entitled” and “too soft”. To them, we are just reklamadors who whine when things do not go our way.
I acknowledge that every generation has its own fair share of struggles. However, I believe our generation refuses to ‘suck it up’ and let things be the way they are. Demanding change and social justice is not bratty behavior — it requires bravery and empathy to speak up and clamor for a better society. If we always accept how things are, we will not progress. Speaking up about injustices does not mean that we are entitled, it just means that we demand a better quality of life for the disenfranchised. After all, if the glass is on fire, then something has to be done: mangalampag and hold the people responsible accountable.