Disclaimer: I first wrote this post last fall (not sure of the exact time frame), but thought it was still relevant enough to share. Please no one take offense to this or think I am an ungrateful child, it’s just a different perspective to look at/think about. And as many of you know, I have “changed my circumstances” and am very happy with my choice. It’s funny how you can make decisions that scare the hell out of you, only to realize you made the right one. What a good feeling it is… Also, Pops, I know you’re reading this, and I just want to say: I love you.
“Cherish your vision. Cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts. If you remain true to them, your world will at last be built.” – James Allen
It’s funny how one can perceive the future and be so undoubtedly sure of how it will all turn out . When I was 18 I thought I was invincible. I was so young and naive, but absolutely ready to conquer the world. When I was 19 I was much less confident and unsure of myself. When I was 20 I started understanding what was important to me and why I needed to stand up for those things, what type of person I wanted to be and what I expected from others. I was becoming the woman I am still finding today. I was full speed ahead after that and at 21 I had never been more sure of my choice in studies and couldn’t wait to get into the real world.
Now, towards the end of my 22nd year I have come upon a blank canvas. You see, somewhere between my 19th and 20th year I fully embraced a side of me I never knew I had: a control freak. I became more involved on campus and had my first internship. I needed every aspect of my life planned out from classes, to work, to my weekend visits with family and beyond.
However, during spring semester of my senior year, I began having these crazy quarter-life crises. I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. Sure, I knew I would graduate, start full-time as a Marketing Coordinator and probably enjoy my summer. You’d think I’d be happy with that and I think for a short time I was. But was that what I really wanted? Was this what I wanted to do with the rest of my life? Where was I going?
This all sounds so cliche as I type it, but honestly I believe my generation has had to “figure life out” quicker than most. We’re no longer running into marriages and staying at our first jobs until retirement. We are waiting to get married, taking “time off” after college, working part-time jobs (less for choice and more to pay the bills), taking time to find hobbies and the laundry list could continue.
I could mention the economy and how it sucks and how everyone is overqualified, but I don’t think that’s why this generation isn’t embracing life-engulfing careers. We want to live life and (sorry mom and dad if you’re reading this) not be like our parents. That’s not to say we don’t look up to them or appreciate all they have done for us (because we do), but their generation grew up believing what the generation preceding them believed: to make their children’s lives better than what they had.
But to what extent? And what does ‘better’ really mean? Better can be such a relative term. Of course, if someday I have children of my own, I want to do all that I can to make sure his or her life is a joyous one; I just don’t know if I can say “better than what I had.” I want them to have what is best for them without comparing their life to the life I have lived.
For example, my dad, like so many others in his generation, has worked at the same job for 3o+ years. A job he knew would provide for his family in all the right ways, a job that did. But from eyes it was a job he never really enjoyed. From what I can remember, he was never excited to go to work, in fact it seemed he dreaded it.
Now, fresh out of college I have found myself in a job I do not particularly enjoy. There are many positive aspects of the position, but I have found there are more cons than pros. Many people my age would kill to have this job. Great salary and benefits at a fast growing company with free travel a couple times of year. However, the things I found that I value in a full-time job are not very apparent at this position. Bottom-line is, I am not happy here.
After my dad first found out I was planning on quitting, he thought I was crazy. In his eyes, this was a great job, a job that could help me pay off my loans and make me “successful.” And this is where our generations clash. I have the opportunity to change my circumstances and be happier, but to him I was making a huge mistake. Is this mindset ensuring I have it “better than he had?”
I admire my dad in so many ways, too many ways to list in this post. I love him to pieces and know that of his three children I am the most like him…good or bad. And although I may not always admit it, I am proud when people tell me I am just like him…I am my father’s daughter.