Don’t Have Life Figured Out? Me Neither
by Jose A. Lopez
We live in a generation of overexpectation. Our parents expected grandchildren before our 25th birthday. We expected to have life all figured out just in time for that numerical milestone. There’s something about the phrase “a quarter of a century” that manages to trigger suffocating levels of anxiety. The truth is, after a short conversation with anyone who has survived their encounter with reaching “old age,” it becomes comforting and hilariously apparent that the majority of 25- year-olds haven’t the slightest clue what the fun they’re doing.
I am here to help you breathe just a little easier by reassuring you that you are not alone in your feelings of falling behind, and that you are “falling behind” with good reason.
There are many reasons why people today seem to be reaching milestones like marriage, parenthood, and shit-togetherness later in life than the generations preceding them. Pursuing a higher education, uncertainty in the economy, and the rising prominence of a hook-up culture are only a few of these contributing factors. But in my humble opinion, the main reason why millennials appear to be realizing life a little bit slower is the fact that there have never been more career options available to any previous generation. It’s why universities have an “undeclared” section. From Amazon entrepreneur to YouTube celebrity, you can literally, and virtually, be anything.
For example, when the 1950s confined women to choosing between nurse, secretary, or homemaker, the choice did not take 30 years to make. But now that society accepts women pursuing the same goals as men, and that even the idea of gender has become broader, it’s understandable that the decision-making time would also increase.
This unprecedented verity has made it seemingly impossible to choose what to do with our lives and has forced us to see ourselves as unprepared for marriage and parenthood. Starting a new and promising career fresh out of school, whether that be college, vocational school or high school, has often been the tell-tale sign of adulthood rising; a second puberty, if you will. Postponing the career decision in order to properly weigh all the options naturally pushes back everything else that might also come with adulthood, e.g. marriage and children.
Not having a career goal completely mapped out can often lead to a chronic sense of being lost. But with the infinite career options we are blessed with today, why rush such an important decision? It’s all about perspective. So instead of drowning in a sea of anxiety, we should be basking on an endless beach of opportunity. We ought to enjoy our time in the sun, and have faith in ourselves.