Thought Catalog
December 16, 2010

A Survival Guide for the 26-35 Age Range in 2011

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What is the issue?
2011 is fast approaching, and along with it, extended tax cuts, extended jobless benefits, higher unemployment, more poverty, and the slow realization that life will never again be the way your parents might have had it. Here are some tips to get you through all that inevitable existential despair.

Work

Be a freelancer. Because working for yourself is the American/Global Dream. In today’s economy, though, be advised that what freelancing actually means is a) abusing food stamps, unemployment and food banks, b) being a barista, c) accepting the money your parents offer and d) having one (two if you’re lucky) client(s) that result in about 15% of (what you tell others is) your monthly income.

Alternatively, consider the cultural capital of a menial office job (if you can find one). In large part thanks to The Office, Mad Men, and the hipster tendency to celebrate the irony of those antiquated, uncanny phenomena that persevere into our modern age despite their outdated nature, menial office jobs such as file clerk and front desk manager at Enterprise Car Rental are poised to become the next highly desired jobs captured only by the most elite in attitude, fashion and diet (via irony).

Dating

With the rising popularity of sites such as Okcupid, Match.com, and regional online-dating services, finding someone that thinks you’re attractive enough to role-play their way through two hours with you (via a date) has not only become easier, it’s become much more awkward. This is perhaps the result of rampant overuse of cliches and misinformation unwittingly provided by members in their online profiles, and abuse of the websites’ messaging systems.

As such, always keep your prescription drug cabinet stocked full stimulants, muscle relaxers, pain killers, mood enhancers, and anxiety medication. With this arsenal of pills, you’re sure to find the right drug cocktail for any first date-from-a-dating-website.

Relationships

You have two options: settle down and die unsatisfied or reject long-term commitment and die alone. The variance doesn’t really extend past that.

Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals are some of your most powerful weapons in the war against existential despair. Some popular long-term goals include: maintaining a business, climbing a hierarchy, travel, and personal conquests over one’s physical and mental environments. The trick is to forget that your long-term goals are actually meaningless and that their real function is simply to act as a sort of buffer between ‘feeling motivated’ and ‘feeling fucked.’

Money

As the populations of countries continue to grow, Western civilization continues its steady decline, resource wars continue to ravage societies, and oil becomes a scarce commodity, the US economy will follow suit, unraveling in step with the rest of the world.

But there’s hope. Think of resource scarcity and poverty as a bear. A bear chasing the American people. You don’t necessarily need to outrun the bear - you only need to outrun the person next to you. Because the bear’s simply hungry; it doesn’t care who it eats. And the best way to beat poverty is via intense saving and hoarding. So get started before the rest of us do.

Free Time

The Golden Age of radio was long ago, and the Golden Age of TV has only recently passed. Next year TV will continue to decline and will consequently provide much smaller of a receptacle to dump your free time into.

But the internet has stepped in TV’s place recently, and so it's recommended that you buy a laptop with high processing speeds and the “Heavy Duty Internet” that Comcast is currently touting. And while coffee shops do present an asinine expenditure, wasting your unemployed days away on your laptop in coffee shops with other unemploy-ds garners in the least an abstract sense of purpose, which, if caffeinated enough, will provide a somewhat stable foundation for you to continue doing nothing all day, every day, until the coffee begins to tastes like cigarettes, and you realize that you’re actually not getting any work done, and that you've lost your one client two months ago, and that you're simply waiting to die. TC mark

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