When I was younger, I often wondered why I was alive now? I mean, it feels like I have a diverse set of skills, and I could have thrived at many periods earlier in history. The whole lifetime scientific progress of Ben Franklin or Leonardo Di Vinci can be understood by most graduate students these days. Of course, to a physics graduate student the majority of what Einstein did is understandable too, and we still haven't proven or disproven a fair portion of his work. However, it's always hardest to be first, or to push the limit in some way.
In the book "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" Earth is destroyed to make way for a super highway on the day that someone woke up with the answer to the question "what is the meaning of life?". Up until that point Earth was basically just an experimental computer to answer that question. A human, living experiment. In a similar way, each one of us is pushing the collective world forward, in some tiny little way. We all have a purpose, even though it doesn't feel like it all the time.
In other words, for my peers, I know we suffered at the start of our careers in the Great Recession, and now as many of us were just getting established we're having the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 to deal with. Not to mention the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that many fought in. Then assuming we survive all of this, we still have climate change, automation, and inequality to deal with. Any one of those three could lead to wars and famines if we aren't a little more generous and equitable with the wealth of the world.
The point is, I believe we are all here at this point in time because it's when we were meant to be. You weren't born in 2090 or 1890, you were born in 1990. That doesn't mean it's easy. That doesn't even mean you will survive the pandemic. But to me, it's like a fun puzzle, like a very interesting game, where you want to keep playing to see what happens. Along those lines, people are freaking out over the cover-19 coronavirus and the resulting recession we have entered, justifiably so, both are pretty serious, but I'm hoping we're going to have some roaring 20s, so please try and be patient as we get through this.