What is the main problem of young people in Europe today? This is not another youth guide on projects you can attend and how you can get a job! It is a real existential question that you need to answer yourself – if you are young in any way. Because those who do not qualify, they have too much to say about how we should live anyway.
Once, when I was still under 30, (too bad if you thought I still am. But also too bad that is the limit that qualifies you to be young in Europe), I took part in an international project of campaigning for social justice. It was a good project with many active people and a good agenda. We were meeting ‘the important people’, decision makers of Europe. And then there was this seminar, where I remember saying something about the problem of youth. I think it went like this: “What is the problem of youth today? Procrastination, laziness, precarity and indifference. And they all meet in a bar.” And the whole hall laughed. It was funny, I guess, because it was true. Then I talked about how our campaign is different, how we want changes and how good our ideals and visions are. And we can all make a difference together. All total crap!
Why? Because I thought it all depended on us. Yes, we can! We can! I can! or I will rather… just… leave. Our project goal was to campaign for the year 2018 to be the European Year of Social Economy or Solidarity. And I really think the project was well done. But the EU policies weren’t. They cancelled these years altogether. So from 2017 no year is dedicated to any particular topic in EU. (Now, if I remember correctly this means less money for any money for social projects, but I do not know.)
When I was still in Slovenia, I searched for numerous jobs and lost my dignity on some interviews and when I finally got some short-term jobs, I was either ‘a girl who is just here on some state funded programme’ (while I took great responsibility of booth interpreting for example) or I had a good salary but was bullied by a boss every single day and I got no understanding from some people close to me. Just sustain, they said. I didn’t, I left.
So, I left, first one job, then the other, then I worked from home, alone, for little money. Then I left for Portugal and that was not for me. And I left again, for Lithuania. I was not searching for a paradise on Earth or even wanted such paradise. I just wanted an opportunity for my own benefit, my independence and my health to get better.
So, here I am, having a job, a good partner, some great opportunities that I got by working hard and some obstacles. Nothing too bad. In fact, when I complain, it is more to expose problems that I see. And problems can be solved, as my friend, mathematician Dara, always says. Not all of them can be solved… or better, some of them get irrational numbers. Some of them are irrational, mean, arrogant, selfish. (Transitioning from numbers to other dimensions).
As a famous philosopherJean-Paul Sartre said: Hell is other people. But on the other hand, if you continue along that philosophical line, they can also be paradise.
So we come to the important question… Is it the same everywhere for the young, strong and idealistic people? Is it the same in Prague? Or in Copenhagen?
Sometimes I wish to go to a ‘better country’ to earn more, to have a better lifestyle. But is it better? Is there more peace in Prague or just more tourists? Do they meet the same bureocratic obstacles that they fought against already in 1968 or that Kafka described in The Trial?
You’re a drama queen!
“Now, Andreja, don’t be too dramatic! Young people have all the rights they can wish for, women are well taken care of, there are way too many advocates for all sorts of rights and you should be just a little bit more positive,” I keep hearing from various people.
Oh, Yes, through centuries we have gained many rights, women can wear pants and vote and speak in public and young people are given some agency, but more often than not, it’s based on an utopic belief that you can really change things. I wonder if little Greta can really contribute to healing our planet, I wonder if a young scientist is given enough support to carry out his well thought of chemistry project?
In conclusion, I wonder and I still believe small people, small ideals, short poems, sometimes haiku or a graffiti can change things. Or maybe your rebellion is something like this song by Nipke. Because I do not want to live by the saying of my very cynical cousin who kept annoying me through my student years (which took a bit longer than expected, to be completely honest) by saying: Oh, Andreja, you build Love ways all around the world instead of getting a real job. When will you realize money runs the world?!
It does, money runs a lot or human behaviour everywhere, and after all, we need to survive by earning money. Hey, after all, I moved because I had none.
But that is not the ultimate answer. It is not why Greta demands a healthy Earth and why students went on a strike on her initiative all over the world. And it’s not why I am staying here, in the post-Soviet paradise. After all, it was also not piling money that motivated me to be involved in all those youth projects.
What is your drive? How do you answer this question? Has it changed from when you were young to now?