haha pretty close to my own situation, although I work "sometimes" as a technician.

You can bet your life that I understand deeply what these youths are doing with their lives. They are trying to catch up with themselves. The pressure around my generation is far greater than it ever was for you.

Life was simpler, cheaper, had more opportunities and less choices. Today a young man is faced with hundreds of choices, temptations and ways to conduct his life and at the same time he has to keep up with demands from the old system sustained by old folk still clinging to their dying way of life.

So young people are basically opting out of this mess just so they can regain their breath and figure out what the fuck they want for their lives, and actually do something of value that is not rushed and careless just because their parents did.

I look at your generation, and see strong family values and a desperate need to submit to something or someone. It's almost like you guys have never heard of dignity, autonomy and honor. You all display a submissive / passive mentality of an apathetic slave who does no question WHY things are the way they are. You cannot fathom the idea of taking control over your life and living ONE day after the other. Life nowadays is INDEED about the NOW! moment and not long term plans that basically take a big chunk of your soul over a long period of servitude, which in turn takes a big chunk of your health. To make matters worse, just when you think that your dreams have come "true", you are too tired and frail to enjoy any of it. My dear friend, there is no "success" in this life, only tradeoffs (sacrifices). But then again, there are shitty (ego-driven) sacrifices and smart (loving) sacrifices.

The sense of altruism from the old generation is mostly ego-driven because it's actually provides the FOOD for your cheap emotional needs to be accepted by your community and society. That is exactly how superficial and empty the fruit of your life's work really is, and still you are always bragging about it.

Most long term plans are bullshit anyway. You cannot see beyond them. You are trapped in the past, waiting to die, but not until you have given a few more drops of blood to feed a dying system. And why? Because you love conformism better than authenticity and creativity. You love security better than freedom.


From here, the definition Succeed in reaching a person who is ahead of one seems most plausible to apply in this context. But what does it mean to catch yourself ahead?Is it a sort of figurative use of the phrase, meaning the youths are just trying to make a living?

2 Answers 2


It is indeed a rhetorical use of 'catch up with': a deliberately uncommon use, which attracts readers' attention so they will read the explanation.

The author contrasts the attitude he attributes to older people—that they are slaves to “long term plans that basically take a big chunk of your soul over a long period of servitude”—with the attitude of his own generation—“Life nowadays is INDEED about the NOW!“

His “catch up” figure thus represents the long-term plans of his elders as an unceasing effort to get ‘in front of’ who they are, while people of his own generation abandon that pursuit and turn back (so ‘back is the new front’) in order to ‘catch up with’ who they are.


What the writer seems to mean is that young people today are moving so quickly, trying to do so much, that they've put aside living their own lives. A similar idiom is "to meet oneself coming around a corner." The basic conceit is that the subject is so busy that he has split into two people. One half, the intellectual side, is working around the clock, unable to think about goals or integrity or workmanship, barely able to catch his breath. The other half, the emotional side, is preoccupied with the daily routines of eating, sleeping, and getting around.

Neither half ever stops to think whether what they do is worthwhile, whether they can ever achieve success (however they measure it), or whether they truly belong to the groups with which they identify. Unless and until they both slow down and consider their place in the world, they are doomed to continue their routines. Only then will the emotional side "catch up" to the intellectual side and form a complete person.

True wisdom comes from reflection. That takes time. As Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living."

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