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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Coddled And Crying. Life Is Not Fair...

They catch a fair amount of crap, but they stand around quite a bit, don't they?
When I was a kid, my parents held me responsible for whatever stupid decision I happened to make in my life.  Luckily, for them, neither my sister nor myself gave them much grief growing up, which probably has much to do with the environment they brought us up in.  Within the instances of me making stupid decisions, I was always held accountable for them and expected to make right my wrongs while not expecting supplementary accolades for holding the morals of basic human decency.  Throughout school, if I received a bad grade, I was expected to bring it back up because it was always my own fault;  but currently, even good teachers are attacked by parents for not giving their child a break, or a free ride within their "education".  This is only one example for so many of my peers being ill-prepared in life.

The blog you are reading was spawned from an article my friend sent me which is based upon "curing" your "quarter-life crisis" (you can read it here).  She sent me the link, not because she supports the idea, but because of how ridiculous the concept is for us Millennials.  This article is based around seven ideas that will help those "struggling" through their transitional period from post-college to the real-world, and as I read them I was thinking to myself: "Wait, people my age really don't know all of this?  I thought it was common sense." and after thinking it all over for a bit, I realized just how lost so many of us are;  I realized the same life expectations were not laid out for everyone as they were for me.  Far too many of us are unprepared for a struggle.  A struggle?  What is that?

When I was in high school, I always heard: "Go to college, get a good job, make tons of money.  It will happen."  In the stronger economy of pre-9/11, this sort of imagery did not seem so out of touch, but none of us seem to have been taught that the economy can almost instantly fall to pieces and those magical expectations of wealth and stability will become much more difficult to achieve.  Guess what?  Somewhere toward the end of my high school life, that very, unexpected instance happened and many of us were unprepared.  

When I was a young teenager at the tail end of the nineteen-nineties, the economy was booming, the dot.com bubble had not yet burst, and people were doing essentially anything they wanted and making money at it.  Even folk art galleries were making money hand-over fist.  Local bands played shows where people all but threw money at them, anyone could get a job without going to college and work their way up to a corporate level of employment if they put in the effort, and we all expected everything to stay that way;  but it did not, and we may not see the same opportunities surface again for a very long time.  

Millennials went into their post-education lives with the same thoughts in our head of:  "You can do anything you want and anything you want can be your career." While that is true for some of those who are very driven and extremely blessed or connected, the majority experience huge hurdles in order to arrive at such a stable place.   The corner office jobs straight out of high school and college are just not there anymore unless you come from a connected family, or happen to be in the right place at the right time.  This is not to say that we are are stupid, but what it does say is that people are retiring much later and holding their management or executive seats out of economic fear as well as other factors.  Most of us were not prepared for this reality and the market is now saturated with every facet of intelligent Millennials who are competing with each other, but not strong enough to keep with the fight.

Think about this - think about your family or those you know.  Everything which happens in life is a product of situation, but really think about how many people from Generation-X you hear about who are on psychological medication, constantly in therapy, getting divorced, having mental breakdowns, or killing themselves.  I took this picture in a church my family's company does contract work for:
Now, I do not go to church anymore (read my reasoning here if you'd like) so seeing an entire wing of a church dedicated to divorce recovery makes me just a little bit uneasy.  Think about the things I listed above, and while sometimes the medication and therapy is necessary for people with serious issues to function properly, we have to all agree that the magnitude and constantly-rising demographic of those in need of such things is pretty scary.  Considering my observations about those in the generation before us, I often wonder just how much longer it will be before we are all so out of touch with reality that everyone will require such life rehabilitation? 

My generation, as a majority was not taught to expect the unexpected speed bumps in life because most of us were told that we could do anything.  Having that mindset as a daily motivation is just fine, but at the same time we cannot lose focus of keeping ourselves in check to what is real now as opposed to what is imaginary.  There are so many Millennials crashing right now that the only choice or motivation they have is to burn and let burn.  There are too many of us who do not have backup plans in life because we were somewhat "guaranteed" success in whatever we made the choice to pursue.  Few of us were taught that we do not all have the opportunity for a lucky break in life - yet we cannot allow such ideas to curb our passions.  

The same friend I mentioned earlier and I were talking just yesterday about how so may of the people we know want to sit back and let things happen because whatever deity or force they believe in will take care of them ultimately.  I studied Theology for many years and do not buy into that for a second.  If we expect or want change or feel the need to chase after anything in life, we have to go after it with everything we have.  The product or material we create must be first and foremost at the front of our list while keeping a firm grip on the fact that we are very likely to fail;  knowing this makes us no less passionate or driven and if played properly, can be an outstanding motivator.  

A former acquaintance of mine is an "artist" who is a few years older than me.  He dropped out of college to do his variety of art full-time and mooched money from his parents for a while until they cut the cord.  He then took a part-time job with no room for growth so that, according to him, he could have flexibility and enough free time to devote to his art.  The sad part of this story is his motivation.  His idea of being completely committed means he spends time doing his craft, occasionally puts a few projects on display to sell and one day expects to be successful because he "can't fathom doing anything else".  This fellow is sitting there, waiting for his big opportunity because someone told him how great he is.  
His art is not that great.
He has a few enablers who tell him it is, but the public is not paying attention to him and his efforts to get his craft on further availability are dismal at best.  Now, he is thirty years old with no real work experience, just waiting for his ship to come in.
He has convinced himself that he is on top of the world.

I would like to say this is an isolated incident, but it is not as I can name many more people who think the same way because nobody ever told them that life sometimes does not give you everything you want.  Life is what you make of it and sometimes life has other plans.
I was supposedly well-set in my last career and had a nice paycheck and advancement opportunities ahead of me until one day, out the blue, the company I worked for dissolved my position and kicked me out.  I was devastated for a while until my friend brought me back up and said it was only the beginning of a new chapter for me, and I believed her.
I loved my job, I loved the people I worked with, I loved the sense of accomplishment, and I was very passionate about every bit of what I was doing, but after everything fell apart, I picked myself back up and started looking for something else worth my time.  Moving on from the industry I loved and had not ever pictured myself working away from was difficult, but was also one of the best decisions I have made so far in life.

Passions?  I have them.  You are reading one of them.  Speaking to a worldwide audience through the things I write is a very big deal to me and something I am completely committed to. But guess what?  My world has fallen apart before, and I kept writing.  
I work a full-time job and devote just as much time to that as my writing.
Why?
Because I love it.
Do I ever expect this to be a career for me?
Heck no.  If it comes to that, great, if not, I will still write.
This makes me no less passionate.

The thing is, we can do anything we want to do, but that does not mean we will have the opportunity to do only what we are initially passionate about.  We need to thicken our skin a little and realize that sometimes life does not work out the way we intend, but we are the only people who can cause motivation and change in those instances.

Cry and pout all you want because you were not handed your ideal life.
Only you can cause the change.
Only you can explore what further makes you happy.
Stay motivated, stay in reality, and stop acting like a child.

 Grace and Peace,
    -Drew

-Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers
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