Being in my midtwenties, my primary anxiety centers around “getting my shit together.” I am not alone in this – most of my friends are having their own varied experiences of this same central problem – what the fuck are we doing? The kids I hang out with, we’ve tried our damndest to de-centralize this problem, to call into question the inherent classism involved in that pursuit, to look at the impacts of race and gender and sexual orientation on the answers we do or do not arrive at.
But still, it persists. According to many in my social set, I have my shit together, or at least I am close to having it together. I don’t feel like I do, but I guess I understand why it might look like that. Within the last two years, I went from being a transiant, dirty, coffee slinging, heavy drinking wanton hussy bike riding hipster to something approximating a liberal “adulthood.” I bought a house, I’ve steadily moved “up” the ranks into exempt and pseudo-“professional” jobs. I have two dogs who I kind of treat like kids. More and more I’m looking at my romantic relationships through a long term lens. I have a mattress that didn’t come from a dumpster or my parent’s basement.
And I don’t believe that this is success; or that it is selling out. And I do. I believe that it is both success and selling out. Its scary to look at my life and see both how it fulfills me and sustains me, and how it runs contrary to what I so loudly espoused in my youth.
Are these the last cries of a dying radical? Were my parents right – that with enough time and a little material comfort, I would leave behind all the crazy talk about anti-capitalism and radical inclusivity and become just another boring liberal dotting a landscape already inundated with boring liberals?
And the only place I’m finding salve for all this is in religion. And that’s funny too, because I am growing further and further apart with the religion that, in many ways, was responsible for my initial politicization. But unitarian universalism doesn’t feel radical anymore; it feels boring and liberal. There was a time (in my life, and in the life of the country and the world) when proclaiming the inherent worth and dignity of every human being was a radical statement. And it doesn’t feel like that anymore. It feels like a shallow statement – a shallow statement I can get behind, but still . . .nothing deep, nothing that I can bite into and wrestle with.