Thursday, September 22, 2011

A generation of worry?

So I was on a long ride today and I didn't have my headphones so I did a lot of thinking. One thing that I came up with is can a person be taught to be an anxious person or are they born that way? I don't ever remember as a young kid really ever worrying about anything. But I guess what kid does? All you have to deal with is what cartoon are you going to watch today and hoping you can go to McDonalds for dinner.

The first time I ever remember being anxious was on a family vacation. My two brothers and I had taken a small blow up raft onto Lake Michigan. Not realizing it, we drifted quite far out onto the lake. We could still see land and we were in a large bay type area so I don't think that we were ever really in any danger. I don't know. I even turned down the man that came out on a jet ski to help us at first. My brother and I had hung our legs out the back of the little boat and were kicking like mad to try and get back. Still I was not really worried. Finally we took his help though. Not until we got back to shore and I saw how upset my mom was did I realize how bad it could have been. Her and my Dad were putting away lunch when my brothers and I took off with the boat. By the time they got to the beach we were way out there. I don't know what it was but seeing her so upset changed me. It took me a long time to get over that event, I guess that might have been when I finally realized my own mortality. It might have also triggered what has become a big struggle for me with anxiety. I'm not really sure about that, I think that my family on my Dad's side, is kind of predisposed to this kind of thing. So I could have been dealing with this, with or without this incident.

I think about this a lot because I have a lot of athletes that seem to worry about a lot of things that they have no control over, things that are far from happening, and instead of dealing with what is in front of them, they worry about what might happen. They create scenarios that are so out there that you have no idea how they come up with these things.It makes me think about all these people who tell these kids that every decision they make now will effect their whole lives. Yes there are things that if you fuck up you could fuck up your life. But getting a B+ or an A- on some random paper will not mean you can't go to medical school eight years from now. Almost all of the kids I coach are super smart, very driven, type A personalities. I have some friends, that knowing where they were in high school, and seeing where they are now, I could never have imagined how great they would be doing. People that did nothing but party and barely get into college, turned into top members of their very high paying fields. Some are engineers, business men, entrepreneurs, even doctors, and not all were A or even B students.
In a time were it seems harder and harder to get a job out of school I think that things are only going to get worse. People are coming out of school with advanced degrees and looking for jobs for years. Parents are pushing their kids more, which puts more pressure on the kids, and creates anxious kids.

I guess the place to be right now is to open your own school, I see an awful lot of ads for schools or websites that will find you the "right school". They promise you more just because you have a piece of paper. To me it is a scam, just pay them your $50k and they will say you are now ready to be a graphic artist, or a nurse. When often times I hear employer friends of mine say that they get these guys right out of school that know nothing. They end up teaching these guys, gals everything they need to know anyways. Thinking back to my time in school I really don't know what I was taught? How many people do you know that moved from one job to a totally different job they didn't go to school for? Or how many got jobs not in their field of study? Biologists who are advertisers, or art majors who are stock brokers.

I guess I just want to try to get across to these kids that they are not closing any doors on themselves if they don't ace every test. And get them to enjoy this time of their lives. You grow up so fast and live a comfortable protected life with your parents for such a small amount of time. Once you are out of the house things only get tougher. If you are already stressed so much you never sleep at 13, things don't look good for your future. I guess I should have become a therapist, thats where the money really will be.

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