Don't Gotta Work It Out: Transcending Expectations for Our Future
Our generation comes under fire from older folks quite a bit. We’re entitled, narcissistic, and above all, lazy and incapable of holding down a traditional job.
I believe that one of our greatest strengths is that we are not willing to take your word for it. We need to see and experience things for ourselves. We have to do things in our own way and come to our own conclusions. Because of this, we don’t always use conventional methods and we aren’t satisfied with traditional life choices.
For our parents and grandparents, there was a set way to do things and a set number of outcomes. Jobs were easy to find and even easier to keep. Today, the world looks a little different, and instead of jumping behind a desk fresh out of college, we’ve chosen to take some time off to explore both the world and ourselves. This choice is often times not made out of free will, though, as our job prospects are substantially bleaker than those of previous generations, and not all of us want to be accountants and lawyers.
So millennials are taking longer and longer to find a course of action and are having a harder time sticking to it. I hear a lot of smack talk from older generations about our lack of motivation. They say we are melodramatic and unable to make a decision and stick to it. But can you blame us? They couldn’t understand what we are faced with.
Even though the infrastructure of the job market has changed, societal expectation has not, and the pressure to succeed is greater now than ever before. Millennials are faced with a tremendous amount of pressure to be better than generations before us without changing the path to that greatness. To be better, we must improve. And to improve, we must adopt new ways of doing things. We cannot continue to use the same recipe and hope for tastier results.
So where do we go from here? Many of us are in the trial-and-error stage of finding the new and improved way to go into the future, and we need to come to terms with the fact that we are in transition. Of course, there will be "lag time." We don’t have to have all of the answers right this minute. Once we can accept that, we can continue our search for the life we desire, whatever that may be.
Despite our desire to move forward, we still seem to fall back onto traditional viewpoints. We are quick to compare ourselves to those who haven’t chosen the same future as us. We see them living comfortably with their traditional choices and we feel inadequate, behind—we feel failure and uncertainty. We should not see them happy with their lives and assume that we will find the same happiness or success if we follow their path. So why do we continue to nitpick the similarities and differences between ourselves and our peers?
Challenging well-worn paths will naturally come with a slew of insecurities, but whenever thoughts of crushing negatively start to creep in, we have to remind ourselves that we signed up for ambiguity over conformity, and it’s all going to be okay. It is unquestionably normal to still be figuring it out. We are focused on trying to find ourselves so that we can figure out where we fit in this world. We have time; we should take advantage of it so that we are able to make a well-educated decision about our lives, the driving forces in them, and the outcomes we are hopeful for.
When I am feeling unsure about my timing and decision making process, my mother always reminds me that we have our whole lives to work. We can and should take our time figuring out what we want to live for. Work makes up a great portion of our identity and it sucks up the majority of our time. Shouldn’t we take care and time when making this momentous decision? And when I land on something, panic and go to change it, my mother reassures me that nothing has to be forever unless I want it to be. With the way our generation is working so far, we’ll have the freedom to change career paths once, twice, or even three or more times. We are making the rules for the new functionality of society, so whenever we feel we are breaking the mold, we are really just forming a new and improved one.
It is indisputably difficult to come to terms with the uncertainty of untraversed terrain. To get out of one’s comfort zone - out of society’s comfort zone - and to attempt to pave a way for yourself and your individual goals and desires is true accomplishment. Despite your current degree of having-it-together-ness, try not to compare yourself to others. Live your life in your own way by finding what works for you individually and finding peace within that.
I don’t "gotta work it out.” I am content with not knowing exactly how or where this will end and with figuring it out along my way.