The pressures of doing well in life are greater now than they’ve ever been. The urgency behind doing things like getting a degree, finding a stable job, getting married, buying a house is the driving force that pushes 99% of the young population today. With those things being harder than ever to obtain it truly is astonishing to see people go out into the real world, constantly grinding and pulling their hair out, just to fulfill this ideal checklist that has been passed down from generations that have arguably made it more difficult for us to get things. Why do we fall into the trap? Why is it that even in our early twenties we think these are the things that are a must in life? Is it possible that we as a generation could change this mold, or is this something that will be the “American dream” archetype for years to come?
Let’s cast our minds back a few years ago. Generations of young people were casted out into the real world with affordable college as an option, lower housing prices, and in general, had a way of life that could easily be obtained of a single-person income. Now let’s look at the way of the land now. College is hardly an option for the lower and parts of the middle class, housing and rent are now at an all-time high, and jobs are paying less for the same work people were doing years ago (and expecting more qualified employees). Politics aside, if we all looked at this through a logical lens we can clearly distinguish how much harder it is for young adults now to obtain what use to be staples in the fabric of the American way of life.
What are we going to do about it though? Is there a clear answer on the horizon? Unfortunately, in the times we’re living in the political spectrum is more divided than ever. Not in our entire lives have we seen the two political parties comes to a decent consensus on any current issue. What have they done about the housing market? Couldn’t tell ya. What about the prices of higher education? Honestly, it just seems to get worse by the year. What about the job market? Well, that answer depends on who you’re asking. So if the nation’s leaders aren’t doing anything to help with these social constructs, what can we do as a generation to make things better? The answer may be bold and super simple, and that’s rewrite the rule book.
Hell, we’re seeing it happen right now. The new wave of young adults is abandoning the idea of the “perfect life” checklist. Month by month we’re seeing fewer families being made, less institutional marriages being had, and more people carving their own career paths instead of heading into the typical workplace pool of applicants. Gone are the old traditions of the typical American dream, and in is now a much looser and creative way of approaching life.
If we were being completely honest, starting a family is one of the hardest things any young couple can do now. With healthcare being super expensive and the cost of living at an all-time high, it has just become impractical to start a family. Instead of having kids, we now see people focusing on themselves and creating experiences. People are now looking to break out on their own. At any given moment in time, we have never had so many people working as freelancers and being their own bosses. This allows the youth to control their own destiny with their careers, but also allow them to have the time they normally wouldn’t have for things like traveling. Yes, people are still having kids, it’s just happening much later in life at a slower pace, which truthfully might be for the better.
This generation overall just has a new sense of independence when it comes to everything. Nothing is being handed to us anymore (us much as some of the older generations might like to say). We have to go out and learn to be more self-sufficient as we scratch and claw to make something with our lives. As weird as it may sound, this breaking of the mold could be a step in the right direction. Maybe without the pressures of feeling like we need things like a spouse, kids, and house we can learn to be happier with less anxieties pushing on our chest. No matter how you decide to live life just remember it’s important to do things for you before you finally decide to slow things down. So take the old rule book of life and just chuck it out the window because all you can really do anymore is to just do you. Happiness is a rare commodity now, and if you can find it outside the box then just go outside the box.