How Are We Supposed To Grow Up?
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Politics and Activism

How Are We Supposed To Grow Up?

Everywhere You Turn, Someone Is Telling You How to Live Your Life

How Are We Supposed To Grow Up?
Odyssey Online

Today’s world is confusing — so confusing, in fact, that I was inspired to put off yet another paper. This time instead of opening Facebook immediately, I decided to write out my frustrated thoughts with the hope that anyone out there could relate to my issue. I was a 20 year old girl; midway through junior year of college. I was more than halfway to getting my degree, which really meant more than halfway to a life of immediate work to pay off the student loans. Student loans that I didn’t give a second thought of while applying to schools three years earlier. And yet, while I was so close to this glamorous life, I found myself constantly asking, “What the hell am I doing?”

I logged onto Facebook for a quick scan (habit) before starting homework, and three hours later, I read several articles on how to live my life to the fullest, watched three videos on how to be “successful” and save hard earned money, read stories of parents and couples proclaiming that love is what makes life worth living, and saw at least a dozen ads for how to lose weight and/or get an ass. This problem is not just on the internet; it’s in magazines and billboards, television, and even books. It’s like everywhere you turn, SOMEONE is telling you how to live your life, based on THEIR idea of success and happiness.

What I gathered from this is that to truly live my life to its fullest potential, I’m supposed to:

1. Fulfill my dreams of adventure by traveling the world and “finding” myself.

2. Conquer my career goals and make/save as much money as possible until retirement.

3. Find true love and raise a family.

4. FEMALE BONUS: be sexy, thin, and beautiful, but also not care about how sexy, thin, and beautiful I may or may not be.

It’s as if our generation is expected to be perfectly balanced between two very distanced sides on the spectrum of life, in all aspects of life. We millennials, are being bombarded with videos and articles left and right telling us to live freely and selfishly. Yet, we are constantly looked down upon by older generations who see us as selfish and useless to society.

One side of this spectrum includes being our “unique selves” and expressing our differences. People our age LOVE this kind of story; they go viral almost instantly! You probably know exactly what I’m talking about, it includes, but is not limited to: dropping out of school, quitting a desk job, traveling, trying extreme sports, being “free”, experiencing new lifestyles, and finally, not conforming to society. The idea of living life as an adventure has become such a popular topic and goal of our generation, especially in media, that it’s almost as if choosing this lifestyle IS conformity. Having a 9 to 5 job often seems to be looked down upon and even feared as a future for many people my age.

The other side of this spectrum involves buckling down, getting shit done, climbing whatever career ladder you have chosen, having a stable career, popping out babies with your equally as successful significant other, and starting to contribute to society. The people who push for us to have this kind of lifestyle are usually a generation or two ahead of us, who see us as selfish and don’t understand our desire to have something more than years of repetitive work days ahead of us. Which, in exchange for financial freedom and spontaneous travel, can give us a place to call home and a family of our own. The lives that our parents and grandparents have been more than content with.

So, how does our generation grow up? We’re the first ones able to log online and see how others are choosing to live. The first ones able to compare our lives to anyone else’s with a click of a button. What path do we choose? Adventure or stability? Off the grid or well on the map? And how will our decisions influence future generations?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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