I’m sure some of you have already read this article from Wait but Why about Generation Y, but if not I strongly suggest you take a gander. In a nutshell the article dissects why millennials not only have inflated opinions about themselves and their worth, but why most of them are also incredibly unhappy.
When I grew up I was taught to believe that I could be whatever I wanted if I worked hard enough, and I was special. I believed this with my whole heart, which is the main reason I strived to be a filmmaker for so long. The thing that I didn’t realize was that all of my peers were taught the exact same thing. So here I am in a generation where everyone thinks they are special and believe they will go on to become CEOs or Oscar winners, but in reality most of us will be lucky to afford retirement. This may sound pessimistic, but that could just be the Generation Y disappointment coming out in me.
As silly as the stick-figure cartoons might be, after reading this article it was as if a lightbulb switched on in my head. Since the beginning of 2013 I’ve been hopping from one incredible experience (Thailand) to another (getting hitched), and I thought that moving to Toronto would be the next amazing lily pad for me to jump onto. So far, it hasn’t been. Truthfully, it’s been full of disappointment and frustration. I know I haven’t been here long, but let’s just say my expectations for coming here were incredibly inflated and I’m now having to come to terms with my reality.
What did I expect to happen when I got here? In all honesty, I hoped to get a mid-level position at a big arts organization or entertainment/media company in my first or second month of being here. There are a ton of jobs in Toronto, and being the ambitious and hard-working person that I am, I didn’t think that I would have too much trouble finding employment. The reality is that I’m entering my third month here and although I have gotten about 6 interviews since I started my job hunt, I’ve applied to over 80 job postings. I was expecting to be on my flowery patch of grass with my unicorn by now, but instead I’m standing on a pile of dirt asking myself “WTF?”
If this wasn’t bad enough, just like the article mentions, every day when I log onto Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram I’m bombarded with information telling me how everyone I know is having a way better time than I am. I know everyone just uses social media to tell the world how awesome they are, I do it too, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. I know I would be way happier in my situation if I wasn’t constantly made aware that so-and-so was going to Jamaica for some fun in the sun or what’s-his-face just bought an $800,000 house. But alas, that’s the world I live in, and the world my kids will live in, so I guess I better just get used to it.
So what does all this mean? It means that I, and most millennials for that matter, need a big ol’ reality check. I don’t necessarily want to lower my expectations or settle, but I do think it’s important for me to take a moment and question what I really want in life, why I want it, and then be more realistic about how and when I can achieve it. Just like the article suggested, I’m going to stay wildly ambitious, but I’m also going to try and ignore everyone else’s flowery green grass, I’m going to stop thinking I’m a special and unique snowflake until I have something to show for it, and I’m going to enjoy the journey goddamnit! To hell with the destination; I’m throwing the map out of the car window!