“Keep your options open”, Now this is a very common phrase nowadays right?. This phrase has become so common that my friend’s 5 -year old daughter told me “I’ll tell you aunty! it is either Dora, frozen, or brave. I can’t decide now! keeping options open”. She was talking about her birthday cake.
We love options. The more the merrier. In fact we would even love too many options and the chance to select the one we want, no matter how much time we spend on selecting.
I think it is justified when I say we are the “Option generation”.
Let’s face it! We were born with options. Actually, probably, we were given options even before we were born. “Natural labor? Epidural? Cesarean? Full anesthesia? Part anesthesia?
My mom was so confused when trying to select. “Why are they asking us? Can’t the doctor decide on her own?” she asked.
Me on the other hand was very comfortable deciding from the above options. I had researched well in internet, read books. I was well prepared. You could say I was ready to deliver my own baby (sounds ridiculous right? Of course you deliver you own baby!).
And after the baby was born, again! Options! The other day, my kid and I were off to a super market to buy things. I asked my kid “Horlicks, Complan or Bournvita?” I want “nahi hua.. nahi hua chocolate drink” he said (in case you’re wondering what the hell is “nahi hua.. nahi hua chocolate drink”, it is a song from Horlicks advertisement). Then like the educated, urban mother that I am I started to sift through the nutrition details and ingredients details in the health drink.
Now! I am educating myself. Right? I am being aware. Right? I am choosing the best of the lot. Right or not? Tell me?
Now how did you like the optional questions? Yes! The questions were optional. And you chose to read them.
You didn’t know? Too bad.
You might be thinking I am a rude writer. Trying to fill pages with useless words. Well! You can choose to believe that or not. It’s your call. I am keeping your options open.
Okay! Okay! Don’t curse at me now. I just wanted you to get the feel of “option”. You see there have been many debates and opinions about having too many options. And everyone has a say. The generation before us seems to think we are a bunch of spoiled brats.
“You do not know what responsibility is!” my uncle would say “they (the IT industry) have given you 5-figure salaries at this tender age and spoiled you” and he would go on to say “you don’t know the world. Are afraid to take responsibilities, don’t care about environment, don’t respect your elders, don’t care about money….” You get the drift!
Now! let us get back to our topic. Uncle does seem mean. Doesn’t he? But don’t you think he is right? Are we a bunch of spoiled brats?
“They are jealous” this was the reply my cousin would give to my uncle (from a safe distance and with the caution that uncle does not hear). “We earn and live our life and we have the option to choose what we want and not. They are just jealous that they did not have such a life”
Really now? They are jealous? I have to disagree on that. Because my uncle would give this elaborate curse come advice only when he hears that one of the option-generation youngster is suffering in some sort of way. “Why can’t you just quit your job?” he shouted at another cousin of mine. “you are having trouble taking care of your baby and your job. Quit your job and take care of your baby” he said.
Well this advice just made my cousin cry. “I earn 70,000 a month. I can’t quit. Why should I? I have worked hard to get here. Do you know how tough it is to get a job once there is break in the career?” she cry-spoke.
Seems reasonable doesn’t it? Why should she leave her job just because her health is getting spoiled and because she gets no rest? Atrocious!
What? Now you’re angry at me? I was not being sarcastic. I mean it. Health can be restored. Career cannot be restored. Seriously. You don’t believe me. Google it and see.
You see she does not have an OPTION. Work is necessary to live a good life.
Oh my god! Am I contradicting myself now? Then why is that we are called the generation with surplus options? Or “option generation”. We can’t even decide to work after a break. There is no option there.
Of course, this is not true. We do have a lot of options. We just do not look at them or do not know about them. That is because, we were caught young. And raised in captivity, making us believe that we do not have an option when it comes to career. And by the time the options are clear, “it too late man” (to quote my husband).
“I am 35. You want me to explore and join as a fresher now? Who will feed my family” my friend screamed at me when I told him he should consider a career switch because he was so good at art and painting. “trust me man. There is good future for this sort of a thing. People buy them for a lot of money.” I replied. Of course he was not convinced. He just got angry at me for making him see that that there was another option for him, he was angry because he was so afraid to go for it. It was like candy he can’t reach.
“No one likes their job” concluded my friend “That is the way it is. Even the most interesting job becomes boring after sometime. That is the way the mind works”
Seems right. Doesn’t it? He has done his research in internet.
Now let us leave the optional career to hang in there. Seriously. I am one of the non–candy-reachers myself. I am fine. I LOVE my job. Seriously. Believe me or not. Option is yours.
Apart from this, there are other things today that are easily available and have numerous options.
“Whom do you consider to be your good adviser and well wisher?” asked my cousin for her psychology questionnaire from college. I thought hard.
“My mom!” I said which is a lie. I can’t remember the last time I asked her for advice.
Well! There cannot be a person who never asks for advice right? I thought hard. Now whom do I go to get good advice? Whom do I seek wisdom and information from? Whom do I trust to get the best advice?
Now why do I have the feeling you know the answer for this question? How do you know so much about me? Have you been Googling me?
My adviser is the internet. Yes! Yes! You are right.
Internet was the elder (weird! It was born after me) that I consulted to get the good advice.
Don’t we all? Internet serves as the elder, adviser, psychiatrist, cooking master, sex therapist, marriage counselor, child care expert, doctor, legal adviser, bill payer, dictionary, encyclopedia (it is similar to Wikipedia), makeup expert, beauty expert, gardening expert…..
It’s like the one stop shop for all that you need. We all just Google everything. So, can we call ourselves the “internet generation”? Seems lame right. I can’ think of anything else now. I will Google it and let you know once I come up with a good name. What say?
Options! Yes! I have not forgotten, even though I strayed a little. Cheezz! How forgetful do you think I am.
I do not know if options are a boon or a curse. I just know that the living area has been increased to the “the whole world” from “my locality”. So as compared to the before generation, we have many options. And yes we do choose. And yes we do not always like what we choose. But I am just saying, having options should not be a criteria in choosing something. Don’t get me?
“Don’t take that madam! It has to be thrown out. The expiry date finishes today.” The shopkeeper of the provisional store near my house would advise me if I accidentally take the date-expired wheat bread, because I was distracted by a ringing phone, an active kid and an un-findable purse.
I have chosen my across-the-road shopkeeper to the big supermarket. After all, we have every right to choose! We just have to choose the best option while developing ourselves as a responsible human being. Even though the choice is ours, it affects others too.