Here’s an old adage for you: “The early bird gets the worm.”
Here’s how I would translate this for my millennial generation: “The bird who didn’t fuck around working in a cold brew coffee shop while ‘freelancing’ on the side in their 20s can eventually have a retirement account, own a home, and start a family in their 30s.”
What I mean by this:
This generation is weird, man. Like, really fucking weird. We want to get paid to work from home in our pajamas all day, we pay for people to be mean to us ( Crossfit, anyone?) in the name of ‘fitness’, we LIKE kale and agree that McDonald’s is garbage, and, perhaps weirdest of all, we are convinced we deserve to be happy and well-paid in a career we love by the age of 25.
Well, I am calling bullshit on this one.
See, my parent’s generation had it ‘easier‘, in one sense. My father worked as a bus driver, and my mom was a bartender, but they managed to still own their own home by 21. My mom was married, had two children, went to college and owned a home, all before she turned 23. She still works in the same industry she did when I was growing, albeit now is a lot higher up on the food chain- go, Deb.
Me, by comparison: I have no children, no home, and haven’t stayed in a job longer than 2 years since graduating from college almost 5 years ago. I have worked in several different industries, and have gone back for certifications that have nothing to do with my 9-5 job because I wanted to be ‘fulfilled‘.
Now, I moonlight teaching yoga and work as a PR Specialist during the daytime, but dream about becoming a therapist and owning my own yoga studio, ASAP.
We believe we should be happy and established early on in our 20s. That’s why we paid exorbitant amounts of money to attend pricey schools that told us we could do anything, be anyONE. I could be on American Idol if I wanted, they just stopped running the show before I got around to it- right. No one I know is happy with the idea of settling. Whether it’s settling down too early or settling for a job that pays well but they don’t love- we’re not touching that.
This is the most needy bullshit millennials have invented since “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” first aired.
We can be happy- but we have work to do. If I’m not interested in being a Publicist anymore, I need to act, now. Not save it for another quarter-life crisis, where I quit a healthy career to work as a waitress in a ski town for the winter and teach yoga (been there). It’s also important to realize that everything we’ve got, we built it for ourselves. Unlike our parents generation, most of us do need at least one college degree to succeed in our chosen field, or have a healthy head on our shoulders to be an entrepreneur. While maybe our parent’s paths, for the most part, looked a little more ‘straight from A to B’, our generation is a little more ‘wavy line with a lot of stops along the way from A to eventually arrive at B.’
But, we can’t put it off, just because it’s easier. I have friends who work in breweries as bartenders to pay for their ski passes, while Mommy and Daddy pay off their student loans. Is this a life I want for myself? Yes! But would I feel accomplished at the end of the day? Fuck no! Is there anything wrong with that lifestyle? Not to them- but to me? Fuck yes.
Putting off the future because you’re scared to admit you deserve and want more than your current job is no better than shooting yourself in the foot to become a better runner. It doesn’t make any sense, and you’re hurting yourself in the long run.
Life is about hard work. If you want it, work for it- you’ve heard it a million times. And, if you want to make a million dollars, don’t play the lottery. Did you ever stop and think, what if I actually DID work for “it”?
And what is the “it”?
Well, that’s what you are destined to find out. Are you going to spend your 20s playing in a funk band, lying to yourself you’re going to make it big? There’s nothing wrong with being a musician, but if you’re really going to make it happen, you need to earn it. Study music, take a songwriting seminar, work as a roadie, intern in the music industry, maybe go to Belmont, attend as many open-mics as possible, and network your ass off. And, if it doesn’t work out, you can say with a clear conscience you literally did everything it took to make that shit work for you, but it didn’t pan out. And you move on.
If you spend your 20s in a state of growth, your 30s will become about reaping what you’ve sowed.
Sow some good shit! Don’t waste it on a beer hobby which includes trying every craft sour or IPA you can spend your hard-earned cash on, in the name of craft brew domination. Do what you love-settle for nothing, but work for everything. Don’t be scared if your dream is huge, expensive, and looks a lot like work.That’s the point. Go for that extra certification when you’re still young enough to be able to chalk it up to inexperience.
Then, if that doesn’t work, go for the next one, and the next, and the next.
Eventually, you’ll figure “it” out. And if you don’t, ask someone who you think does have it figured out- get them on the phone, ask them how they got there. Most likely, they tried every little thing they could until finally, something clicked. If you’re willing to work at it, it can happen to you.
One cold brew coffee at a time.