To what are we aspiring?
Almost every day, I wake up in the morning and check my phone to become either temporarily entertained (Facebook) or artificially inspired (Pinterest). I get ready and I come in to the office, where I switch between doing my job and reading articles that inevitably help to “form my opinion” on whatever the subject may be, wasting away 8 or 9 hours in a state of multitasked productivity. I leave for the day to head to my home, which I own and repeatedly decorate with Houzz-inspired ideas and Pinterest projects, and my husband. On the weekends, we take trips, filling in our time with the things that make us excited and happy before returning to start a new week– feeling refreshed and alive before becoming drained again.
This is the modern-day adulthood in a culture where adulthood is dead.
I belong to a generation that is constantly discussed–in the media, by our parents, and most importantly by ourselves. We are narcissistic and entitled. We spend hours forging a virtual presence, consuming information at an alarming rate only to churn it back out to our peers, our “followers,” further perpetuating the myth that we are intellectual, creative, interesting, and above all, perfect. This is not just a day job but rather a full-on obsession, the modern-day version of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ but on a digital front.
More importantly, my generation affords itself a decade of discarded time, of goalless meandering to find what “inspires” us while simultaneously gaining life experience and making mistakes–we call it our 20s. Over and over again we tell ourselves that we don’t want to work desk jobs, that we want to fulfill our dreams and that there’s nothing wrong with that because that’s what your 20s are for. But how long before it’s our 30s or our 40s as well? With extended lifespans, who’s to say that the first half-century of your life can’t be spent “figuring yourself out” while the second half is reserved for this ever elusive concept known as “adulthood.”
This is not unprecedented–our entire country was founded on rebellion against “the man.” But the generations that preceded ours, living in a world where college wasn’t yet a mandatory venture for all Americans, were often married and raising small families by the time they reached this point in their lives. Their 20s were for working hard, rearing young, and climbing the ladder toward the ever-present American Dream. But to what do we aspire?
This is not a call to arms, but rather a question. Where are we going? If our goal is to avoid the oppression that is growing up, how do we plan to build our society around this? Must we accept the curse of responsibility as an inevitability or do we need to adapt our culture around our goals?
We are bored. We are offended. We are introspective to a fault. With our basic survival all-but guaranteed, we grow more and more focused on finding our own path and become further disassociated with the collective. We all want to be something bigger than this life, something really special. Why do you think we are obsessed with the apocalypse? Because we want something to change. We’re all itching for our chance to shine. We have everything and we are still just as unhappy as every other generation before us.
I don’t know yet what I want out of this life, but I think maybe it’s about time we embrace a little responsibility for our actions as the up-and-coming adults in this world. And if we can’t do that, then we need to start setting a plan into motion that will allow us to thrive while maintaining our state as eternal 20-somethings.