Post Pandemic Teens:
My landscaper said, after this the kids are "spiritually bankrupt." He's right you know. There are a lot of kids and adults who are scared to leave the house. I'm not one of those. But it's weird. Let's face it. An entire generation has lost a year of their lives. What have we gained or gleaned as a result? My teen group explained it in terms of Macbeth which they are reading in 10th grade.
A. Lady Macbeth Speaks Out - she is mad and rightly so. No partnership with a powerful figure can save her from her own guilt and malevolence. She is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. Lady Macbeth is an out of control teen who stuffs everything from the people who love her most and locks it inside. The result is a mental breakdown worth remembering. To love and lose is one thing; to survive without guilt and other uncomfortable feelings is another. Lady Macbeth kids need a place to vent and learn some critical life lessons. The problem is the kids today won't take the chance to make a mistake. The stakes are too high. Live a little, I say. It's good to make a few mistakes now and then. How else can you know what you want or who you are? Get out of your room!
B. Macbeth as Self-Harmer - he is guilty guilty guilty but hey who cares? If the adults all around him can get away with murder, why can't he? Because it doesn't suit him to rage at himself. Lashing out and turning on oneself leads to hurtful action and reaction (aka Trump). Macbeth must settle down and understand his limitations as a leader without losing himself in petty peer pressure. He must agree to take his anger to the appropriate place - where he can be heard and understood. Teens are saying they're too insecure to go out. But now is the time to gain experience so in later years they can be more confident, not less. Carpe Diem!
C. The Three Witches - misogyny and hatred for women runs throughout the story and Lady Macbeth doesn't disappoint with her cunning manipulations of her husband, but the three witches know the future in ways we cannot. Pay attention to the voices of ambition vs. corruption, tyranny and greed. In your twenties it is your task to learn your identity not shatter it. Take the time to reach out to those who can help and support and hear your voice. Let it take shape so you can do good deeds not lock yourself into your own revolving door of self-loathing. Do this in a deliberate way by trying yes instead of I can't.
D. Banquo's Ghost - rather than unchecked ambition like Lady Macbeth, try for humility in the face of grief, danger and trauma. We have been through a lot this year - don't rush what you want. It is not selfish to take time for yourself, choose wisely, settle down and consider your path. As Banquo so studiously declares,
That, trusted home,
Might yet enkindle you unto the crown,
Besides the thane of Cawdor. But ‘tis strange.
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s
In deepest consequence.
What we have gained is gratitude, appreciation and contemplation; not the cycle of violence and despair. Travel, see friends, call for an informal interview/internship, work, volunteer, be a voice for the unheard, be yourself, try belly dancing, free yourself from the bonds of isolation. The time is now.