They say that desperate times call for desperate measures. And maybe that’s true. But it’s not the whole truth. Desperate times also beg us for beauty, beg us to listen to one another, to remember what and who is important, to get in touch with our own mortality, the richness of what it means to be alive.
There are 7 billion people in the world. Alive today: 7 generations. At current, we are isolated, quarantined, and in a way – this virus has hushed the world. It’s painful to be hushed, and yet in that stillness, it’s a little easier to hear the music play. Much has perhaps been taken from us, yes. But it can’t compare, in quantum physics or otherwise, to that which we might actually have to give.
“We’re not alone. We’re all alone together.” And that means something. Community, connection, knowledge, wisdom, truth, stories – they are our birth right, our privilege, and this project is one to honor what humanity might know, what humanity might have to gift itself – before the lights go out. Better yet, letting the torch of one’s life, make brighter, the flame of another.
#ask3gens is a project that began out of quarantine. A high-risk human, existing in a high-risk place, perhaps closer to mortality than most, paid attention to the commitment people had in asking her if she was ok. She appreciated it. She was ok. And on another level, she was so much more than just ok – and that’s what sparked this project. She was (and is!) a treasure trove of life and technical skill and experience. How wonderful would it be if the people all over the world, stuck in quarantine, got to share who they are and what they know across generations and oceans and borders and beyond quarantines? What can move in and out of quarantine and only come out expanded, stronger? Knowledge.
Our time here is finite. It always has been, it always will be. You see several months ago, before this virus hit – people were still having funerals, and birthing babies, and stomaching heart-breaking diagnoses, and dancing in the kitchen. None of us can know what’s to come – in our lives or the fate of the world. But at this particular time, we’re all a little bit closer to what the end might mean – in the lives of others or ourselves. Being this close to that reality, that friction space of knowing we don’t have forever, we’re given an opportunity, a gift, to let that mean something – and to act as though it does.
People are dying yes. And people are living too. This is a project born in that truth, in urgency, in humanity – to learn what we can from each other, while we still have the chance. To lean into the possibility that we can learn, and expand, and become better – without leaving our homes. We can connect. We can love. Far beyond borders and up above quarantines.
Because that Abuela in Spain, stuck isolated in her home, closer to death than youth – she might be ready to tell the world what secret ingredient makes her paella the pride of her region. That woman who lived in the dust bowl through the great depression? She knows how to make something out of nothing. The man who walks up that cobblestone street with a limp? He could tell you the state of the world when he himself contracted polio. The mechanic at your local shop in his 70s refusing to quit, still tightening bolts even when his hand shakes? He’s the only person he knows that could tell you the trick to getting a 42’ willys engine to run. His dad showed him. Maybe you are a millennial, stepping into a new career in finance, and you want the truth about how our country ever got to where it is. How on earth did you all get us here, and what do you think is the way out?
The point is this: We are here now, and not forever. We have generations of people, sitting alone, all over the world, with knowledge to give and nowhere to give it – potential to be forever lost.
This is a project, to let knowledge live. To take this hushed space we’ve been given, and to fill it with the best of what humanity can be, the highest level of what we know, the truest way we can bear to say it. To not end a legacy, but to build one. To say we were here, and it mattered. I had something to say, and so I said it. I had something to give, and so I gave it. I had something to be, and so I was it.
Have a question for the generations? Now’s the time to ask it. #ask3gens