Hey millennial friends, do you ever feel like you’re not where you should be by now? Because, you know, Mark Zuckerberg released Facebook at 20. And 26 year-old Emma Watson was included by TIME in their list of the top 100 most influential people in the world – a year after her nomination as a UN goodwill ambassador, and on top of all that acting and modeling business. Did you know that Simone Biles is only 19? And Taylor Swift is 26? Not to mention all those other unnamed young’uns out there, making bank, inventing shit, and generally making the rest of us look/feel bad.
I’m not saying it’s inappropriate to have high standards. I just wish we didn’t take them quite so much to heart. I have wonderfully kind, engaged, intelligent friends (yes I’m biased), and I can’t help but notice how insecure we all are. Oh, we function all right. We just see all too clearly where it is we want to be, and then berate ourselves for not getting there (yet).
Let’s take it back to the basics. We have jobs, we date, we eat vegetables occasionally, and exercise often. Not too shabby for a bunch of kids! So what if the job sucks, the relationship ends, and 80% of the food you consumed today came out of a box? That’s fine! That’s the point! You’re not supposed to have it all figured out right now!!! We’re just learning what we want and need through all of this.
Let’s be optimistic, and say you’re going to live to be 85. If you’re 25 right now, you have 60 years left to get shit worked out. That’s more than twice again the life you’ve already lived, from diapered incontinence to the present day. Think of how much you’ve already learned and changed, just in your lifetime so far. It’s inevitable: if you keep looking, eventually you’ll find a job you don’t hate. You’ll fall in love (maybe a couple times), and you can still learn to cook. In fact, you also have plenty of time left to move, buy a house, write a book, start a business, take a sabbatical, go back to school, and do all the other things that you worry about not being on the right tract for.
Seriously. It’s going to be okay.
Here’s a quiz to prove it:
Do you pay your rent on time? And buy groceries at least once a week? Are you in a hospital or inpatient care? Are you incarcerated? If your answers are yes, yes, no, no, respectively, congratulations! You’re doing it right.
The rest just comes down to goals. It’s illuminating to have them, but they’re tricky bastards with unique and mysterious timetables. They can make you feel like a failure if you don’t have them when you think you should. So use with caution. Likewise, release the goals that society or your friends/family have for you, because those ones will make you feel guilty too. As for the rest, the unrealized dreams you do care about — very much so — there is plenty for them them to reach fruition. Just, not yet.