I Hope I'm Wrong...
The way I see it, there's very little (if anything) not to like about being a small-scale gold miner. I've been at this gig for the better part of 40 years now and I wouldn't change one bit of that path for anything this temporal world can give me. But it's a different world I find myself in these days, and not all I see restores my faith in human nature.
Like most of you I'm an outdoors guy above all else. Big cities have their attractions and I've lived and worked in them in the past but I've never liked crowds, traffic and people rushing everywhere, nor the feeling of being "closed in" or trapped. One of the big reasons I moved to Northern New Mexico 27 years ago was because of the vistas and the wide open spaces here, especially where my home and acreage are. Ma Nature's beauty and bounty have always held a strong pull for me, even as a child growing up with the Sierra Nevadas at my back. People may let you down, but the mountains, forests, deserts and those gold-bearing washes and streams won't. There is a solidity to nature in all its forms and a consistency over time that draws me back again and again like a magnet. And the gold? Well pard, that's just the icing on the cake.
(Icing on the cake.)
Not on Your Life...
Sometimes I wonder about this new generation coming up the pike. I fear they are so deeply entranced by cell phones, video games, social media, and false expectations that they are unable to look away long enough from their manic texting or reaching the next game level to actually see the world around them, let alone Ma Nature and her beauty. In some respects I also feel this new generation of young people has thrown in the towel and is perfectly content to be carried along life's river without exerting the slightest effort to steer their own course through it's rapids and obstacles. They seem to want it all but they don't want to exert the slightest effort to get it...whatever "it" is for them. Get outside and sleep in a tent? Cook a meal over an open campfire? Dig for gold? Oh sure, they'd take that gold if you poured it straight into their grasping little palms, but get out there in the mud and dirt and earn it? Not on your life...or theirs. I know I'm at risk for sounding like the typical old burn out ragging on the younger generation here, but there is truth in what I say. And, there is also room for error on my part as well.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that a great many of the so-called "Millenials" simply don't understand the significance of plain old busting your hump to make things happen. Nor do they seem to grasp the significance of sacrifice except for those noble few who have served (or continue to serve) in the military, fire fighting, emergency services, or law enforcement. I hate to break the news to the others, but wearing your hair in a soy boy "man bun," marching and smashing store fronts in anti-everything protests, or sipping another soy latte at Starbucks is not sacrifice or commitment as I understand it. But in a way you can't blame this newer generation. Many come from single-parent homes where the divorce rate is nigh on 50%, they've not had first-hand experience with good role models (especially male role models), and they've been propagandized by the media and movies to believe that leftist or "progressive" attitudes about gender, race, society, and male-female relationships are the only views worthy of espousing. Anyone who doesn't agree with them is shouted down with epithets like "Racist!," "Fascist!," "Misogynist!," and on and on. This sort of knee-jerk reaction isn't anything new, really. I saw it rear it's ugly head in the 1960s and early 1970s when those of us returning home from the Vietnam War were called dirty names and type cast as the villains in a passion play staged by corrupt and self-serving politicians and corporate heads. But that's another story unto itself.
The Biggest Takeaway
Am I being too harsh on these younger folks? Perhaps. Then again...perhaps not. I do know that I often think that some plain old pick and shovel hefting would work wonders with them, as well as the sense of a job well done and the satisfaction of making it on your own. That's something you're not going to get flopped on the couch in your Mom's basement tap-tap-tapping away on your cell phone or gunning down another group of zombies rushing at you in a video game. Aimless is aimless, I reckon. And the biggest takeaway I get from this newest generation is that they not only have no idea where they're going, but they just don't seem to care about that fact either. Again, perhaps a two-week "boot camp" out in the wild mining for gold would cause some measure of transformation in them, but chances are after a day or two most would simply roll over in their sleeping bags or ask where the nearest Starbucks was.
I hope I'm wrong about all this...
Finally, for your viewing pleasure I've added this video..."A Millenial Job Interview." Watch it because it's a hoot! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo0KjdDJr1c
(c) Jim Rocha 2018
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org