For the first time, I want to share a thought that has continuously inhabited my mind since my youth days: "Did I do well? Did I do badly? Was my behaviour wrong, or was it right?" You just pulled an unimpressed face because what I said was not that striking; you were expecting a stronger hook, something you've never heard before, right? Exactly. And this means one thing only: We all think the same way! We are always worried about how our words and actions are perceived and analysed, constantly seeking an unbiased, ultimate answer to set our minds at ease that we went the right way and did the right thing. But what is right? What is seen as the correct thing on one end could be seen as the worst thing on another.
This brings me to my 2-decade-old pondering, where I try to find the middle ground between what my parents and grandparents taught me and what I am living daily in "modern times." I come from Lebanon, a beautiful Mediterranean country that I love so much, a country that has taught me many core values in family, society, religion, and economy. I grew up in a household that was and still is very supportive of my brother and me in all the endeavours we undertook, starting from school days up until today. From our choice of education to sports to the arts and whatnot, luckily, Lebanese culture is very welcoming when it comes to everything unusual and avant-garde, anything that lets you tap into new grounds. It is safe to admit that we had the best of both worlds growing up: one that is a few millennia old, where you are taught to respect and learn from those who were before you in this world, and one that is a few decades old, where you can spin the globe like a football from your bedroom desk, thus opening possibilities neither you nor your parents could have ever imagined before.
If you too are an avid traveller, you surely wonder how many years, decades, and even centuries of hard labour it took to build all those lovely cities that you have been to. A hefty load of blood, sweat, and tears was put into building the highest towers, digging underground subway networks, pioneering in medicine and the arts, and more. All these individual and/or collective efforts were poured into everything you see and cherish today, and you take it for granted. It was always like that: "No pain, no gain," but only until today. Your average teenager or young adult watched some 40-second drop-shipping tutorial on TikTok and now wants to be a millionaire just by lying like a couch potato because they think that’s how it works; they think they’ve got it all. It doesn’t work this way, unfortunately. All generations that have passed before us revolved around the main principle that you have to work for your bread; you have to listen to the advice from your parents and your community, use all the free information around you, and decide what course of action is best for you. Only until this current generational shift, where we are stuck in between not only meeting our parents' expectations but also meeting our offspring's expectations and keeping them happy to be born in your household.
The whole dynamics have changed; the paradigm has shifted way too fast in the past two decades compared to the major shifts in the global scene, from the Enlightenment era(s) to the Industrial Revolution and more. Only this time, the tech revolution has backfired big time; people want to work less and have more fun. Nations that teach their youth that things do not come easy, countries that make sure that real skills are part of the school curricula, and households that transfer practical and sound knowledge from generation to generation are the ones that will survive and grow. It will be a shocker to many, as it will be an opportunity to others.
As an old Arabic proverb says, translated literally in English, "Those who don't knock on the door will never hear any answer." Put that phone down, go out in the city, go out in nature, be active, read books, and open your eyes and ears to the real world out there; there's so much you can learn from and much more you can offer!