October 17, 2007

On Generation Y

An article in Newsweek delves back into the issue of 'twixters,' something that was brought up around my senior year in college. They never actually use the word twixter, but the concept is the same: twentysomethings are taking forever to 'settle down' and are using their twenties as a time to find their life passions (often living with their parents and/or flitting from job to job).

It's obvious to just about everyone that my generation is unlike previous generations in many ways. We don't get married during or right after college. We don't find a job and stick with it for the next 50 years. If we don't like our boss, rather than go home and sit in front of the TV and zone everything out in an attempt to forget about our craptastic job, we quit. Why suffer with an ingratiating boss when we're still young and can get out of it?

But then there's responsibility. And narcissism and selfishness. Why should our parents foot the bill when we are able to take care of ourselves? At what point do we say 'enough is enough' and stop relying on mom and dad to finance the search for our 'life calling.' At what point do our parents say 'enough is enough' and stop footing the bill? (According to the article, the stopping point for many parents is age 30).

Another feature of a twixter or the Generation Y is that we often care less about money and more about having a fulfilling life. In other words, we'll work for less pay if we love what we're doing. I wonder if that's true or just one of those things people say when they're answering a poll, but don't really believe. I have no proof to back up my skepticism other than the obvious love for high-priced gadgets, cars and hipster clothing I see so many twentysomethings wear. Maybe their parents are also footing that bill.

Experts (and the article's author) say much of the blame rests on the shoulders of the parents. Apparently, parents have instilled in their children the belief that they can do anything they want, no matter the cost or skill involved. This paired with the fact that we've never had to work for anything or earn anything (or at least not to the extent of prior generations) is a deadly mix (I wonder how much of an impact a lack of having to do chores when growing up has an effect--it seems like kids no longer have to do chores). So these young and naive kids go out into the world expecting to get what they want without working for it. Eventually they'll stumble upon the perfect job that lets them do something they love during work, pays them enough money, and still allows them to have a fulfilling life outside of work.

This is all totally possible, I believe. You can have that perfect job, a family, passions outside of work and a fulfilling life. But it may not happen by the time you're 25. You may have to work for it and even put in more than 40 hours a week. You may have to have a job that just pays the bills and then work on fulfilling your dreams during your own time. It's time for my generation to get over its narcissism and stop letting their parents foot the bill.

But I'm reminded that even if I had the perfect job (owned a bookstore and wrote children's novels), in the perfect town (a smallish mountain town), with the perfect house (an old cottage), and even had a dog to go with it all--I still wouldn't be fulfilled. Things and places and even people will never fulfill me. I will never be satisfied with what the world has to offer because the world is fallible and imperfect just like me. I still have a void that can only be filled by Him--by my Lord and Savior. It may seem silly or maybe naive, but I look at the world around me and see different. I look at Britney Spears, Paris Hilton or even less ridiculous celebrities and see that they're looking for the world to fill their void. I look at people I come in contact with all the time--not celebrities--and see them searching for meaning in their life. Yet, nothing seems to be working. How can we expect an imperfect world to fulfill us? It will always let us down. We'll always let others down. Yet Christ has never let me down. Even when I don't understand right away, He's never broken His word or promises.

Now that's something to write home about. You know...once I move out of my parent's basement and find the perfect job.

No comments: