Be the Cat's Meow

Posts Tagged ‘millenials

The other day a friend, that is a student, dropped by my office.

We caught up & he asked how other friends in my circle are doing and I filled him in. He was quiet for a second and then said, “That’s cool you guys are doing grown-up things, but don’t act ‘grown-up.’ ”

He left shortly after that and I thought about what he said. At first, that seemed like the last thing I wanted to hear. Based on looks I can pass for a 20 year old and I am nearly 30- don’t I want to act “grown-up” to make up for my youthful appearance? How am I supposed to be taken seriously if my  mannerisms aren’t “grown-up”? I don’t consider myself immature, but I’m not a “stuffy” grown-up.

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

My friend, for example, is a student in his late 20s. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing by any means. He just falls into the category of Y’s/millenials that either a) decided to go to college later in life or b) returned to college after dropping out years ago. Kudos to everyone that takes that plunge no matter what age!

The advantage of going to college straight out of high school is that the experience definitely shapes you for adulthood. It prepares you to jump through hoops & work your ass off, yet you can also gain expertise in balancing/juggling work & play. Come on, work hard play hard is the only way! Not to mention you learn that, unfortunately, (and hopefully by witnessing not doing) kissing ass can get you too far- even if you are some dim-witted asshat.

So I guess, in a way college helps you become a “grown-up.”

After graduation you get thrown to the wolves world and try to find your place. Well, at least you should take that course of action. It seems the sad truth is many of my peers seem to do what they think they should be doing. Following this logic these types of people would also, presumably, resort to behaving as a “grown-up;” i.e. acting stuffy, taking things to seriously and fusing one’s true identity with their work persona. That being said, this category of people can be labeled as  grown-ups acting “grown-up,” but not in a good way.

I don’t live to work. What a waste of life! I mean it’s one thing doing what you love, but that is the key thing- you should be doing what you love! Even if it means dressing up your cats, playing video games, roughhousing with sports, laughing at fart jokes, collecting Hello Kitty toys, playing dress-up, making art, dancing all night, etc. etc. Yes, those are all things I do and I love it. Plus I hold down a full time job, so I guess therein lies me being a grown-up without acting like one!

And that is fabulous!

Some of the most admirable & youthful people I know range from ages 60-90.  They definitely fall into the non-grownup category, but hey, goes to show age is just a number!

Cheers to all the newfound “grown-ups” particularly the dreamers, gamers, lovers, athletes, nerds, fun-seekers, writers, performers and everyone else young at heart. Be proud to be an adult without acting like a stiff jerk!

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I figured a rant could be justified by my prolonged absence…deal with it.

These days I have found myself in many new places- both physically &
mentally. It’s as though I have freed myself from an abusive relationship
(which is true in some ways).

One of my newest endeavors is on the job front. I work in a University now
and, for the most part, my cohorts are older men. There are a few women in administrative positions, which means I have repeatedly been subjected to the worst interrogations possible- i.e. “Are you married?” (I reply,
“No”), “Do you have children” (I say “No” again) and awkward silences
follows.

Unfortunately, work isn’t the only place I am reminded I am single. When I go out and try to meet new people OR reconnecting with people (eg. my ten year reunion, eek), one of the first questions is, “are you seeing anyone?” Luckily, this is typically preceded by “You look great,” but still, I’d rather not be reminded that, somehow, all these asshats are getting married and divorced and I can’t even get a date.

I still don’t understand why this has to be the primary conversation
starter. Why is my life narrowed down to these questions? Just because
I am a female approaching 30? Since women NEED men to be adequate? Why don’t you bother to ask me a question that is, actually, about ME?

I never thought anything was wrong with being single & childless at 28,
but the more people ask, the more inadequate and depressed I feel. Just shake it off, I think and I instantly feel better knowing that I don’t have to depend on anyone.

Meanwhile, everyday I log on to facebook someone else is getting married
and/or popping out a kid. When did this suddenly become a priority? Did we
all mature and nest or is it a frantic race to pair off before it’s too
late?

Honestly, I feel like it’s the latter. I don’t like being rushed when I am
choosing my lunch and no way would I want to rush to pick a husband. I
know others feel that way, but I have a strange feeling the weight of
societal standards got to them first. They probably have an inkling of
doubt lurking deep down inside, but it will take a few years before logic
kicks in. I would like to think, years from now when people go through
their separations, they will respect & better understand my decision to
wait.

I just would like to feel love again- to feel that excitement and giddiness. When I’ve had a shitty day I want to have someone to hold me.  I want to have someone to confide in. Conversely, I’m not ready to break my wall down until I know it’s worth letting someone in.

At the end of the day, I will return to an empty house seeking
companionship from my cats. Yes, it can get lonely, but I’d like to think
it is worth the wait.

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.


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