I am 24-years-old. I currently rent a somewhat shitty, but not totally terrible, apartment where maintenance never fixes anything they say they will, but it is in a safe area so I can’t complain too much. I have a roommate, whom I love, and a steady, full-time job at a digital agency where I’m gaining tons of ~real world~ experience.
I barely have a credit history, but I pay my student loans every single month and am never late on any of my other bills. I am single and can barely get a guy to text me back in a reasonable time (or at all). And don’t ask me about kids. My uterus is barren AF and frankly I am quite happy about that.
All in all, I’m just your average 24-year-old in 2016, simultaneously happy with my life and totally disappointed in myself all at once. I’m happy because I know I’m not the only one in my current predicament, and knowing this makes me feel a little less behind and a lot less alone.
But at the same time, I feel like a total waste of space because all the fancy magazines and real adults are saying my generation are just a bunch of entitled, lazy big kids with adult paychecks, running amuck and not having a clue what reality is. We’re millennials, blessed by default and lazy by choice.
And maybe they’re right. I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that there’s this sense of comradery among us 24-year-olds in 2016 which I love, this feeling of being all in together on our collective fuckedupedness. We joke about the lack of commitment that is otherwise scoffed at. We laugh at our inability to cook a decent meal. We shrug off the lack of control we feel over everything, and figure that it will all work itself out in the years to come.
We have each other’s backs.
And this, I think is what makes our generation wonderfully unique. We don’t think about each other as competition, we don’t see one another as roadblocks to get what we want. We know that we’re all intricately connected, and our decisions impact one another. And I’m proud of this.
I’m proud of us.
We’re the generation that asks not “What’s next?” but instead “What else?” We don’t think about things in a step-by-step mentality like the generations before us, with deadlines and benchmarks. We don’t hear the ticking clock hurrying us along. We don’t see marriage at 27, kids by 30, and a house in the suburbs by 33.
Instead, we’re thinking about how our friends can be our family. How maybe getting married later (or not at all) isn’t that bad. Maybe we start coming to the realization that we aren’t cut out to be parents, or that we never want to climb the corporate ladders. Maybe an apartment rather than a big fancy house will become our palace. Perhaps the love of our life is actually the art we create.
Whatever our ideas of happiness and success are, it departs from conventional expectations. We’re doing things differently, and I feel like that’s still okay. I still feel like we’re okay. We see all aspects of what we could be, what we could do. We’re the thinkers, the movers. We may not be where we thought we’d be, or where society thinks we should be, but we’re making big changes.
We’re still goddamn adults even if we don’t have a mortgage or won’t be CEO’s of a major company by the time we’re 28. We work hard, despite what the older adults think. And this is the truth about being 24 in 2016. We’re always told we’re not doing enough, that we aren’t enough, but the reality is we are more than enough.
We’re all just fine.