Be the Cat's Meow

Failure to Launch Syndrome

Posted on: 08/31/2010

Apparently I am not alone in my “twenty-something-failure-to-launch” conundrum- THANK goodness. My generation, dubbed Millenials or Generation Y depending on what you read, are said to be evolving at warped speed- in the sense that we have been raised on the pulse of technology. Information is a click away and we learn of world news instantly via text, email, etc. Our intimate relationship with technology constantly reminds us of everything we need to do, should be doing and want to be doing- amidst all the madness in the world. Look back to our parents generation- you lived you life at a moderate pace and learned of news in the form of a daily paper or news broadcast. Instant updates to sidetrack and distract you from your daily life were non-existent. You had the ability to take life as it came and not worry about fidgeting with your Blackberry to make sure you receive your boss’s URGENT e-mail.

Psychologists caught wind of this “failure to launch” trend and now there are multiple studies going on to find out why it is taking this generation “so long” to grow-up. Why has this generation tossed aside twenty-something milestones such as getting married having children or buying a house? Why are more people in this age range prone to move back home? Has something happened with their brain chemistry?

This New York Times article goes into much greater detail. I feel they don’t give Millenials enough credit. Sure there may be an influx of college gradutes moving back home, but look at the given economy and the national job shortage. What logical person paying off student loans wouldn’t move back home until an opportunity prevailed? At the same time, it has been members of our generation that have spear-headed “revolutions” such as Facebook, music file sharing (think Napster) and Firefox. What about the fact that more of us are pursuing a higher education or doing more humanitarian work? So while some speculate we are too much of a “dreamer” generation, I beg to differ.

I stumbled upon this Huffington Post article and it sums up how I feel- HONESTLY. I am a Millenial that was raised knowing hard work pays off. I have had a job since I was 16, been self-sufficient since I was 19, completed a BFA and within those years I was part of different organizations and took on additional projects as well. Well, how’s that for being part of the “slacker generation”? I agree there are still the slacker Millenials, but what generation lacks the slacker type? Slackers are a global epidemic they are not purely linked to our generation.

What I loved most about the Huff Po article was the label given to Millenials of “pragmatic idealists.” Maybe my pragmatism borderlines pessimism at times, but for the most part I lean more towards the pragmatic way of thought. Obviously, it is better to be practical or else your whole world will just fall apart when your unrealistic expectations are crushed. I have always been somewhat of a dreamer as well, but never too much because you have to be realistic. It is okay to be idealistic in certain situations the important part is to understand that you ARE being idealistic. Whenever I have considered those two streams of thought flowing through my mind I have felt like a walking contradiction. How do you keep your feet on the ground, but manage to get your head in the clouds? It all sounds so silly when you lump it into one thought. I suppose that is the sheer brilliance of it- our generation has seen so much, from the Gulf War to 9/11 to the current recession (not to mention an onslaught of natural disasters that have virtually destroyed certain civilizations) that we tend to think more long term (hence the pragmatism). At the same time, our lives are so fast forward that we want to have some extra time to stop and smell the roses. We want a longer period of time to break free of our technological ball & chains and explore the world or even just explore ourselves- and that is where the idealism comes in. We don’t NEED to be what society expects us to, we just need to BE.

I know for me I have found myself at a point in my life where I feel I should take advantage of the fact I don’t have mortgage payments or a family to feed. I can do the traveling or educational ventures that I wish I had done earlier- the idealistic dream. Of course, these things cost money, so I will work with what I have- the pragmatic side. This doesn’t mean that I never want to settle down and start a family of my own, but it just means I know I’m still a big kid at heart- even at the age of 26. I still need to figure out who I am and how I can maximize what I have to offer to the world.

SO that is my two-cents on twenty-somethings. Writing this blog was particularly refreshing, because I have been feeling inadequate for not conforming to societal norms of “adulthood.” We can still be mature, but have the imagination and curiosity of a child. It makes me feel relieved that I’m not alone.

A Dream Come True

A Dream Come True: I fulfilled my lifelong dream of meeting Hello Kitty this past October, at the ripe age of 25.

In fact, I am so intrigued by this phenomenon and am interested in studying more- especially since I live it.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: