Look, I’m one of you. I too grew up being told that I could “follow my dreams,” and “be anything I want to be.” Our generation experienced some of the most privilege and comfort of any childhood ever: cable TV, rooms full of books & toys (even in the poorest houses), the innovation of technology (video games, the internet, PCs, followed by cell phones and smart phones), sports teams, music lessons… I needn’t go on. We were literally living the dream of generations before us, thanks to the prosperity of the ’90s and the hard work of our grandparents who laid the foundation for these great years with their industrial innovation.
When the bubble popped in 2008, I remember thinking, “Well, there might be a recession coming, but that won’t impact me.” And, I know I wasn’t the only one. For a year or more before, the news spoke of nothing else than the impending recession, and yet we bought houses at the top of the market, embarked on new degrees, and incurred debt – credit card, student loans, you name it. Because we’ve always had what we wanted, so why would adulthood be any different?
So now we’re 30-something. The world needs 30-somethings to be more than adults, it needs us to be influencers. Every time we complain about “adulting,” we resist graciously stepping into the privilege of adulthood. Showing up to work, paying your bills, setting up retirement plans, buying houses, raising children, buying insurance, doing your taxes is the bare minimum of what the world needs from us. Yes, these things have always been hard, but we will do harder and more important things if we can get over the challenges of these basic fundamentals of adulthood.
If we can step out of the perspective that “adulting is hard,” and embrace the challenges and privileges that come with adulthood, though, I think we’ll be inspired and encouraged to get through the less than enjoyable details.
Baby Boomers are all too excited to hand us the reins and let us become the leaders – they’re impressed by our innovative ideas, they’re encouraged by the potential we show, and they’re ready to help position us for success if we’re willing to step into a position of responsibility.
Young adults who embrace their adulthood can influence the world like no generation before because we’re armed with more resources than anyone before us. We have the world at our literal fingertips. We possess more quality education than any prior generation. The previous generations are living longer and are desperate to pass along their wisdom. We are living in a culture that is beginning to encourage emotional health and honesty.
We are positioned for success – and what will happen if we allow this opportunity to pass us by? What will happen if our generation decides to just “Netflix and chill,” and never influences, never puts any of the good that’s been poured into us to use? Can we agree to stop using the word “adulting,” and more importantly stop living our lives like it’s an achievement to “adult,” and start rejoicing in our adulthood, and all of the privileges, responsibilities, and challenges that come with it?