“Aren’t you kind of old to be so cynical?”

I look at some of the young people around today and they are a lot less bullshit-inclined or fooled than other generations have been: Less trusting of authority, more spin-proof. While this might look like cynicism sometimes, it may also closely resemble common sense.

Cynicism is a result of disappointed trust combined with a sense of powerlessness. It is a refuge of adolescents who are saying, essentially You can abuse me and I can’t stop you, but this doesn’t mean I don’t see what you’re up to, don’t despise you for it

It isn’t a matter of age, but of attitude. The young tend to be idealists and optimists, adolescents become pessimistic cynics, and maturity brings us around to a realistic acceptance of the world as it is: people as they are, ourselves, too, as we are. But we all know those who grow more bitter as their years advance, who never come to that place of acceptance of the world as it is, and of how no one has the power to fix everything, or the responsibility.  

To fix what we can, of course, not to simply walk away from everything disappointing or unfulfilled. But to stop feeling guilt over our times and places of powerlessness is part of wisdom.

For my part, old as I am, I love what the kids are doing, how they are taking action and speaking out, how they are demanding that we who have the power use it with more conscience and common sense, more decency. They are afire with healing anger, their determination is fueled with intention and hope, and they give me hope. I can hardly wait until they all vote!

Today’s rising generation is not taking refuge in cynicism: They are telling the world, You may abuse me, but I am not powerless, and I am going to change things!

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