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"I suppose that I'm grateful that I can make all my car payments and start saving for retirement while most of my friends are living at home and working part-time jobs -- but I often find myself lamenting the fact that I'm not living at home and not working a part-time job. From my perspective, these are just some of the life-changing, character-building experiences that I may never have."
Yes that is a real quote from blogger Taylor Cotter’s heartrending piece, “The Struggle of Not Struggling,” published at the Huffington Post. HuffPo, the house organ of the Hollywood left, boasts a new series called “Quarter Life Crisis.” In it, beautiful, healthy twenty-somethings record their travails, contemplate their angst and assure preceding generations that, whatever else they lack, they’ve got asininity in spades.
It’s hardly surprising that Cotter’s self-absorbed pseudo-journalism is inspired by fictional characters Carrie Bradshaw and Harriet the Spy. Cotter is also an avid fan of Lena Dunham’s morally bankrupt show “Girls.” In fact, Cotter’s infatuation with “Girls” borderlines on obsession. On her personal blog Cotter devoted 1,377 words and extravagant detail to the “depth” and “identity” of Lena Dunham’s characters in a point-counterpoint discussion.
Cotter, according to her website, is a garden-variety liberal with a special love for that hippest of causes, the gay agenda. In February Cotter pushed Northeastern University to ban Chick-Fil-A from its campus. “If this had come to our campus the university would have to admit that tuition money was, as the end of the day, going to anti-gay and hate-filled organizations,” Cotter toldBoston.com.
Predictably, Cotter’s ruminations on the ordeal of being part of the affluent young urban elite drew some criticism. Cotter tweeted: “You guys, this is only the second-most controversy I’ve created this year. And it’s only July!” Later, she tweeted to her celebrity inspiration Lena Dunham about “surviving the Internet when it says mean things about you.”
But youth and privilege comprise a notoriously unforgiving minefield. Cotter is one of the lucky ones, with a job two months post-graduation. And in HuffPo she was manifesting something common to all veterans of trauma – be it bloody combat in Afghanistan or desperate networking happy hours in Brookline. She has “survivor’s guilt.”
Poignantly, Cotter wrote near the end of her meditation:
"Is the quarter-life crisis just not having a full-time job and living with your parents, or is it realizing that you have to choose some irreversible path for your life? In my case, it was realizing that I had already chosen, quite some time ago."
So young, and yet with such a palpable sense of something already lost. It calls to mind the quote from Oscar Wilde: “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.”