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  • Devin Gackle

Songblog: Mere Mortals

"Mere Mortals" written by Devin Gackle, March 2018

In a way, this song is about stereotypes, and more specifically how generations stereotype each other.

I'm a millennial, so this is my perspective (or some of it) on what it's like to live as one. I called the song Mere Mortals to emphasize the fact that millennials are just regular humans like everyone else, just trying to live our lives to the best of our abilities. Seriously. We are.

We don't need to be told life isn't fair. We know that (in fact, we've always known that.) Telling us that isn't helpful or constructive in any way. A lot of people in older generations think we want to be coddled. But we don't.

We want to figure life out for ourselves, and do it ourselves, and if we are given or taught with the right tools, we will.

The problem with stereotypes is that they're just surface. They're a very broad generalization of perceived habits, quirks, qualities, and criticisms of a particular group based on how common those traits are. They're collective mentalities, which are hard to break.

But in reality, no one person possesses all the traits that define a certain stereotype. So when you lump someone into a stereotype, you're not seeing that person for who they really are - and you deny them the chance to show you who they are.

Which brings me to my next point: Stereotypes are enforced judgment. The generational gaps are a great example of this, because each generation judges the generations that come after. Like hand-me-downs.

For instance, millennials are called the most lazy and selfish, or the "Me Me Me" generation. But that's a load of crap; millennials are some of the most empathic and empathetic people I know. One of my favorite Ted Talks is "Refusing to Settle: The Quarter-Life Crisis" (TEDx Talk), done by Adam "Smiley" Poswolsky. He brings up a lot of profound and important points in his talk, but my favorite is:

“The success symbol for our generation isn’t climbing the career ladder, it’s doing work that matters. So we are not the ‘me me me’ generation. 50% of millennials would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values; 90% of millennials want to use their skills for good. Despite unprecedented levels of unemployment and student debt, our generation wants to work with purpose…We are not the ‘me me me’ generation, we are the purpose generation.”

That's not to say there aren't selfish millennials, or that we can't be selfish sometimes. We can - but the same is true of every generation. Selfishness (and selflessness) aren't generational things, they're human things. The reality is millennials are no more selfish collectively than other generations collectively - it's just a judgment that's been passed down. The song "My Generation" by The Who is proof of that - and it was released in 1965!

Sadly, we humans tend to judge because we are judged.

But choosing to do things with our lives that we find meaningful isn't being selfish or entitled (don't get me started on "entitlement," - I mean, it makes NO SENSE. Another time...). But seriously, if you're not passionate about what you're doing, or if you don't even enjoy it, then why on earth would you do it? Making money might give you some sense of security for the time being, but the situation could always change, and it doesn't even come close to equaling fulfillment.

Millennials get a lot of flack for the idea that we were raised to believe we are special - but I think there's something super important those who judge us that way are missing. We grew up being told we could be anything we wanted to be, and we were encouraged to be different instead of discouraged; because of this we aren't inclined to settle for anything that doesn't make us happy. Because of this, our definition of success means feeling we are living a life of fulfillment, living out our purpose, and doing what makes us happy - not just because it makes us happy, but because when you're happy and doing what you love, you make others happy, too.

Some may scoff at the belief that you can do anything you want if you put your heart and/or mind to it, but again, if you're not doing what you want, what's the point? We weren't put on this earth to wile life away and hope we might be happy later. We each have a purpose, and we can live it out right now.

No matter what generation you're in, you can always take on the world.


Some of us are searching for our roots

Or looking for a somewhat accurate cure for heartbreak

We wear our favorite t-shirts and scuffed boots

Trying to put some distance between ourselves and all the hate

The road never looks so good as when we feel misunderstood

We are mere mortals taking on the world

Cutting through all the pretense

We aren't tearless, but we are fearless

Ready to defy all sense

And we've got those souvenirs from the edge

Even though we're tired of being judged

We keep trying to find ways to live our lives with meaning

We know life isn't fair, and we're not looking to run

We just don't want to settle or give up on our dreams

The road has never looked so good 'cause we know we don't need to be understood

We are mere mortals taking on the world

Cutting through all the pretense

We aren't tearless, but we are fearless

Ready to defy all sense

And we've got those souvenirs from the edge

Well it's a shame you refuse to look under our skin

'Cause there's so much more beneath the surface

We know the difference between happiness and contentment

And we know complacency isn't worth it

It isn't worth it

We are just humans facing our demons

Trying to be brave in a cruel world

You might hate us, but we're courageous

Breaking through the mess of it all

We are mere mortals taking on the world

Cutting through all the pretense

We aren't tearless, but we are fearless

Ready to defy all sense

And we've got those souvenirs

Yeah we've still got those souvenirs from the edge

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