1. Traveling The World
As Millennials, we glorify travel so much. As if personal and professional success can be measured by the amount of stamps in your passport. I have personally succumbed to such pressure by opening up multiple credit cards with travel rewards. Only to spend more money in order to earn travel points…to inevitably travel and spend even more money. It’s a vicious cycle; and it’s a lie. We need to stop believing that we are supposed to have free time and funds for extreme travel. Instead, simply change your environment and visit a new coffee shop. Who cares if it is only two blocks away? There are so many ways to get outside of your normal day-to-day that do not involve debt and vacation. Find ways to dive deeper into your current surroundings and, simultaneously, invest in healthy life choices that ensure your ability to travel when you are older and *ideally* more financially stable. Nourish your brain and your body with healthy foods that support your heart and your joints so that you can be the 60-year-old showing up all those 20-somethings riding elephants in Thailand.
2. Buying A House
It was around my mid-20s that my parents started to realized I was not reaching major “milestones” that other 20-somethings were (marriage and children), so they subtly encouraged me to check at least one off the list by buying a house. One weekend spent house-touring, and 19,736 emails from a real estate agent…and I was DONE. I don’t make enough money to pay a mortgage, and I don’t save enough money for those rainy days when the hot water heater blows AND the electrical panel goes to shit. I love renting – because even when a LIGHT BULB goes out, I call my landlord. I hear you, Dad. I’m not earning any equity, but I’m also not weighed down by such a physical burden of owning a house. I’m not tied to one location, and I don’t feel guilty that I spend my Saturdays getting massages and brunch, while my homeowner friends tend to the lawn. Ask a homeowner what they did with their weekend, and I would bet 9 times out of 10, it will have something to do with yard work. Just…no.
3. Having a Wedding
I’m not against relationships or marriages, and frankly I’m not against YOUR wedding at all. Chances are, it’s an excuse to for me to get super dressed up (read: shower), take some sultry selfies, and drink a ton of free booze. But here in lies my problems with weddings. There are too many people like ME that get invited. Sure, I am happy for you, but is my presence really honoring the level of sacredness and ultimate devotion that comes with such a ritual? I’d bet that most guests are there for the wrong reasons, or go because that is what we are “supposed” to do. So save everyone the potential headache/hangover, and stop feeling like you are “supposed” to have a wedding. The kind where you spend $20,000(+) for others to eat and drink on your dime, when this is “supposed” to be about you. Take your hard earned dollars, fly to Antigua, get married on the beach, and share it with me on Facebook – the way you do every other major life event from here on after. Seeing as you probably won’t actually remain friends with 90% of the people that blackout at the open bar that you are “supposed” to have.
4. Having Tons of Sex
On occasion, I have heard former 20-somethings fondly reminisce about the days when they first fell in love with their partners – and how the entire town was their bedroom. Sexual escapades in every corner of the city (wearing gloves ADED from now on, thanks) and there seems to be this idea that youth equals SEX ALL THE TIME. And it’s made me wonder if there is something wrong with me for 1) not seeking a relationship with guaranteed/constant sexual experiences and 2) not taking advantage of my solo-apartment for frequent bang sessions as an expression of my youth and femininity. I like sex just as much as the next person, but why do we unnecessarily correlate frequency of sex with happiness? I’m simply not THAT sexually motivated. I’m motivated by things like social change, encouraging emotional vulnerability, and coffee. I think it’s safe to say we still have a fairly fucked-up (aka: Rape) culture regarding sex and “traditional” roles, and I think we need to stop placing sex on the ultimate pedestal. In fact, I think knocking it down a few notches would safely promote more self-acceptance and self-love, which is really what your twenties should be for.
5. “Paying Your Dues” At Work
If there is anything that 2017 taught us, it’s that the “boss” doesn’t always do the right thing. You are a living, breathing human. You are conscious and self-aware. And therefore you are capable of contributing. You are energetically capable of influence, transformation, and service. You bring value to every situation you are a part of and there is no job applicant in the world that can meet the qualifications it takes to be YOU. Take comfort in this. Take back the confidence that has fallen to the wayside for fear of threatening or offending those that have been on this earth longer than you. Always respectively listen, absorb, and remain open to all the unique and powerful energy that each of us exudes, but do not suppress your own intuitive spirit. And do not assume that time/age = expertise. You should not have to suffer, or quiet yourself, or passively “pay your dues” while others reserve the right to shine. You do not have to do ANYTHING to DESERVE the right to shine. That is your innate privilege, and your responsibility. To shine, so that others may be inspired. And together we will build a new culture that seeks to lift each other up, without simultaneously pushing others down. Because the only “due” you owe to this world is to be the most alive, most real, and most authentic version of yourself. That is your work. That is your job. That is what your 20s, and 30s, and 40s, and forever is for.
Standards keep people in boxes. Standards keep people small. And I’m no longer comfortable accepting the small life that I was “supposed” to lead.