A few months ago, I was at home in Montana when I cornered my mom in our living room.
I stepped toward her and said, “Mom, can I talk to you?”
Her eyes got big and she sat down because she realized this was going to be a thing.
After about half an hour of rambling – from me – and a few tears, I finally ended with explaining how unhappy I had been, how I wanted to pursue my dreams and work for myself — to own my own business — my own practice.
I finally grew silent and she stared at me, and said, “isn’t that exactly the path you’re on right now?”
I was (am) 24, about a year and half out of my undergrad. I was (clearly) having a hard time transitioning and realizing that yes, the world was at my feet, but no, that didn’t mean I didn’t have to walk to get there.
What I mean, and what I would like to chat with you about today, is that I had forgotten that your “dream” life doesn’t necessarily happen the second you figure out what that is. In fact, it takes days, months, years, even decades, to achieve what you aspire to be.
At the time I wanted to be a blogger, speaker, a writer (go figure) — I wanted to live in a big city and follow my own rules. It wasn’t that I wasn’t a hard worker, it wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, it was that I had forgotten that things take time — I had forgotten what was right in front of me.
Now, if you’re math isn’t on point and you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a millennial.
Gender. Ethnicity. Background. Political affiliation. Religion. Hair color. Eco class. Age.
What is the commonality between all these words? They make us different.
Just as our religious beliefs, our preference in recreational activity, our vote on election day separate us from the person on our right or left, so does our age.
Our generation, the year in which we were born, it makes us different from say, our boss, our colleague, or our friend.
I’m tired of complaining about it.
I’m tired of hearing, millennials don’t have a work ethic, gen x’ers just don’t get that I want to have a day on the slopes. Etc. etc. etc.
The truth in the matter is, we as millennials were raised in a different time then say, our parents, or gen x. We had social media, we had online shopping, some of us had our parents babying us and helping us maybe a little too much along the way.
And guess what? We can’t change that.
Just like you can’t change the fact that you were raised on the west coast and not the east coast when you try to fit in in New York, you can’t change that you were born in a time when iPhones held everything you could ever possibly need.
So no, we cannot change that.
What we can do, is manage it.
When my mom said those words to me a few months, I realized that I had given in.
I had given in to my circumstances and stereotype. I was expecting instant gratification and wondering why, if Sally from my sorority is living in a studio apartment on the upper east side of Manhattan well than why couldn’t I?
By definition, I am a millennial. I am a big dreamer, an entrepreneur, a social media fiend, I want better for the world and I want an integrated work-life so that I can live my passions every day.
But I am also realistic. I am a hard worker. I do not compare my success to the success (or pfs – perceived facebook success) of my peers. I realize that we are all on our own journey. That things take time. I respect the process. I am grateful for my 9-5. I soak up the brilliant wisdom of my bosses, mentors, elders, and friends.
So yes, I am a millennial, but I am so much more than that.
Now that I’ve in a very millennial-esque way, talked my self up for the past few minutes. Let me explain why this is important, for you — no matter your age, your gender, or your favorite cereal.
The millenniall/gen x/gen z/gen a,b,c,d,e arguments... they need to stop. Or at least, they need to be handled correctly.
Because the truth is, there are A LOT of problems in the world as of late.
And the truth is, we ALL need to work together to solve them.
It is our duty, no matter what generation, to manage our environment. It is my duty to remember that gratification is not always instant. It is a gen x-ers duty to adopt new and efficient ways to get things done.
It is our duty to work together, because this problem should not be a problem we dwell on.