“We are the type of people that are desperate to find a career that we like that allows us to have a life that we love.”
That is what my friend Sally told me during one of our famous life talks. I have yet to stop thinking about what that means to me; having a career I like, that allows me to live a life that I love. How do people do such a thing? It feels completely unattainable.
Now before you go rolling your eyes and thinking horrible thoughts about the mindset of my generation, let me explain something about us Millennials. We grew up and spent our entire lives being told that we could be whatever we wanted to be. We were told this over and over by our parents, grandparents, teachers, family friends and every other adult that ever seemed to care about us. There would be no consequence. We would receive full support to be whoever/whatever we dreamed possible. What that really meant is that you could grow up to be whatever you wanted as long as it was a doctor, a lawyer, a veterinarian, or in my case, a politician. This notion of control over our own lives is lost unless it fits into the idea of success the adults in your life have dreamed for you.
When we chase our dreams, when we make decisions for our own benefit, we instantly become a selfish and spoiled generation. Judged are those chasing their dreams of being a published poet. Though noble, working with underprivileged children getting paid roughly minimum wage is not the glorifying job parents hope their kids chase after. Leaving a big city where you eat cereal for 3 meals a day, and choosing to do something a little less glorious, but are able to afford an apartment and chicken, is a cardinal sin. We are also selfish and “were not raised” to choose those flawed careers and jobs over having a family. There is something wrong with us Millennials for not wanting to get married young and starting a family at 23. “Making it” for Baby Boomers and Generation X was settling down and starting a family, for most of us it is more finding a career we will enjoy for the rest of our lives. I would like to be able to afford that shirt from J.Crew I love and not have to worry about if I can afford that on top of baby Jack’s Pampers. Older generations worked because they had to pay bills. I don’t believe they understand what it means to choose a job out of want instead of monetary need.
“If you ain’t got two kids by 21, You’re probably gonna die alone/At least that’s what tradition told you.” Pretty much sums it up.
Also, the previous generations held the same job for 40+ years. That simply isn’t the case for us. Going and doing one thing for one year here and five years there is the “new normal.” Hello Recession, nice to meet you, and thanks for the opportunity to change career paths multiple times over the course of my lifetime.
I wish they could realize that we don’t want to be them. I don’t want to hit my forties and wish I did this or that. I don’t want to look back and think “what if I did [this] or went [here] when I was in my twenties?” I want to go there in my twenties. I want to do this and that. I want to charge a flight to Colorado and maybe a couple days worth of lift tickets on my Capital One card and spend one heck of a week doing something that I love, and then spend the next three months paying it off.
The Millennial generation is full of dreamers and doers. We do unconventional things because we were told we could dream of them and then achieve them. Not all of us sit around being lazy in the basements of our parents houses blaming the recession for our misfortune. Just like not all of the Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers are unhappy old people full of judgment and hate.
I feel like most of those who judge are jealous. They are jealous we are out doing things they never got the chance to do. They are jealous that we are young and “free.” Free being uncommitted to a spouse or children. We are living our dreams all the while being punished for them.
Our dreams/ideas of success aren’t the “right ones.” They push and push and push you to do be something when you get out of college, after they have told you your entire life that you can be whoever you want to be. I don’t want to be unhappy. That is one thing my meager Millennial brain has figured out. I don’t want to live in a big city or work a fancy job that I hate because it gives the people I know bragging rights. Somebody’s bragging rights aren’t worth my unhappiness. A job title isn’t worth being miserable. I was told I could be anything I wanted to be, and I choose a career path that will fulfill me. Feel free to call me selfish for saying that. Feel free to call me selfish for putting my uncommitted self first, and for choosing my happiness as being the most important thing. Freely judge me all you want. Call me a stupid Millennial with too big of an imagination and too little of a heart. But when I’m old and gray I will be able to look back on my life and on all of what I accomplished when I was younger with a smile on my face and a warm fluffy blanket of nostalgia. I will be looking back on all of the adventures I was able to go on, and all my dreams that came true.
At least try to understand.
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” – my homeboy e.e