Today’s world is confusing — so confusing, in fact, that I have been inspired to put off yet another paper to express my ideas in hopes that anyone out there can relate to my issue. I am a 20 year old girl, midway through junior year of college. I’m more than halfway to getting my degree, which means more than halfway to a life of immediate work to pay off the student loans I didn’t give a second thought to three years ago. And yet while I’m so close to this glamorous life, I find myself constantly thinking, “What the hell am I doing?”
I log onto Facebook for a quick scan before starting homework, and three hours later, I’ve read several articles on how to live my life to the fullest, watched three videos on how to be successful and make money, and read stories of families and lovers saying that love is what makes life worth living. This problem is not just on the internet; it’s in magazines and billboards, television, and even books. It’s like everywhere you turn, SOMEONE is telling you how to most successfully live your life, based on THEIR idea of success and happiness.
What I gather from this is that to truly live my life to its fullest potential, I’m supposed to fulfill my dreams of adventure and travel the world to “find” myself, while also conquering my career goals, making as much money as possible, finding true love and raising a family. Meanwhile, as a woman, I’m also supposed to look sexy, thin, and beautiful, but also not care about how sexy, thin, and beautiful I may or may not be.
It’s as if our generation is expected to be perfectly balanced between two very distanced sides on the spectrum of life, in all aspects of life. Generation Y, as we’re called, is being bombarded with videos and articles left and right telling us to live freely and selfishly, yet we are constantly looked down upon by previous generations who see us as selfish and useless to society.
One side of this spectrum includes being ourselves and expressing our differences. This includes, but is not limited to: dropping out of school, quitting a desk job, traveling, trying extreme sports, being “free”, experiencing new lifestyles, and finally not conforming to society. The idea of living life as an adventure has become such a popular topic and goal of our generation, especially in media, that it’s almost as if this lifestyle IS conformity. Having a 9 to 5, 5-days-a-week job seems to often be looked down upon and even feared as a future for many people my age.
The other side of this spectrum involves buckling down, getting shit done, climbing whatever career path ladder you have chosen, having a stable career, popping out babies with your equally as successful significant other, and starting to contribute to society as soon as possible. The people who push for us to have this kind of lifestyle are usually a generation or two ahead of us, who see us as selfish and don’t understand our desire to have something more than years of repetitive work days ahead of us.
Again, I refuse to give an opinion on what lifestyles will truly make a person happy in life, for the sole reason that I believe no one really has the answer, no matter how vehemently they profess otherwise.
I am only looking for someone who is as confused as I am.