Let’s talk about hope, despair, motivation, depression, perfect families and dysfunctional families.

Oh boy!

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had conversations with 30 years olds, 40 year olds, 50 year olds and 60 year olds about the current batch of 20 year olds.

It began when the first 60 year old told me about his concern for 20 year olds in a class he teaches.  He started asking around and saw more and more who were exhibiting the negative traits I mentioned.

So I started my quest to see if what he was seeing was true.

And I re-discovered a truth, “You will find what you are looking for, if you start looking for it.”  And its cousin truth,, “Once you become aware of something, you will see more and more examples of it.”

For example, you buy Toyota Prius and now you see them everyday.  This works with other things in life including people.

I wasn’t seeing a lot of the lost generation, because I was seeing their counterparts who have struggled and come out on the other side of those struggles.

I believe there really isn’t a lost generation.

The “lost-ness” is something that a segment of every generation has, I discovered in my conversations with people of all generations.

Some of these lost will fall through the cracks and continue to live lives of despair and dysfunction.  It’s not a product of any particular generation.

The good news is most who are lost will become unlost.  They will grow up. They will find a purpose, a motivation, a goal, a reason, and these are the people I’ve been seeing.

So how do we get someone from lost to unlost?

Sometimes the lost are in their 20’s and are those who are still being supported by their parents.  The parents mean well, but the pattern needs to be broken.

Stop paying for all their stuff.  I’m talking about car payments and car insurance, cell phone bills, rent, food, what ever you have been doing is keeping them stuck.  Wean them off of your parental nipple of a checkbook.     Also stop cleaning up their messes all the time.  Let them change their own diapers and struggle a bit.

I’m not saying abandon them, but stop being their life support system. I recall 2 times in my 20’s that my parents helped me financially.  Once was when my Dad was a co-signer on a car loan when my car bit the dust.  He did not buy me a car, he simply helped me establish credit.

There was a time a few years later when my parents did buy my family a car, and it was a shock.  My car was totaled in a freak accident and the next day my folks presented me with keys to a big old used station wagon they bought, “for the safety of my young family.”

This was quite different from expecting my parents to pay my bills every month.

As I look at my own kids who are now adults, I’ve seen every one of them fall into a lost status for a period of time, but each of them has also come out on the other side.  I also know a few people who are proverbially lost and in their 60’s due to their disconnect with a productive and meaningful life and choosing instead a life filled with meaningless, temporary pleasure.

My solution:

If you are lost, look at who you are hanging out with.  Are they also lost?  Reduce your time hanging with the lost and start finding mentors who have become not-lost.

If you are a parent if someone who is lost, you may be too close to the situation to help.  Get some outside help, someone who is not emotionally entangled in the situation.

If you used to be lost, but are now unlost, don’t forget about those old lost friends.  They may need you to be a mentor or inspiration.