It’s that time of year again.
The summer of possibility sets in, new graduates travel home for the weekend, and conversations float around the dinner table, always echoing the same terrifying statement: “So…what are you going to do now?”
The generational gap between millennials and our parents has been a popular topic of conversation recently. We’ve been called everything from lazy to entitled and are famously credited as the culprits for pretty much everything that’s wrong with the world today. After all, we’re setting new records for living at home, renting instead of paying off mortgages, and moving further and further away from that stereotypical idea of success.
But maybe society’s definition of success is due for a little revamping.
Merriam-Webster still maintains that success is “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, and fame.” And for our parents, perhaps those things made sense. In 2015, however, the Canadian financial company D+H launched The StudentNation Survey, which asked high school and post-secondary students in Canada how they would best describe success. The leading answer with 65% of the votes was “being happy most of the time”. Of that population, 63% rated the next most important determinant of success to be “having a job or career that they love”. Interestingly enough, 17% of the students surveyed rated “having a large house and an expensive car” as the least important characteristic of a successful life.
Millennials aren’t entitled special stars waiting to be spoon-fed.
We are innovative houses of potential that are highly motivated by passion, and we’re willing to take some time to find out what that passion truly is.
Most people think of their formative years as that awkward adolescent stage where you’re just trying to figure out how to apply the optimum amount of eyeliner and make sure there’s nothing stuck in your braces. But the most intricate and rapid formation of your life happens in your 20s when you’re forced to discover what your passions are and craft a plan to achieve them.
After all, a few years ago, you were in a high school where you had to ask an adult for a hall pass in order to use the bathroom. We’d all like to think that there’s a seamless hop from being a Netflix-watching, pizza-eating university kid to self-sustaining professional in a fancy apartment with a plethora of mutual funds. But that road is a lot bumpier, longer, and complex than Hollywood would like us to believe.
Yes, you will mess up, and yes, you will probably fail at least once.
In his 20s, the powerful Bill Gates was a Harvard University drop-out and the co-owner of a failed company.
Covergirl and nominee of Sexiest Woman Alive, Megan Fox, was so broke that she couldn’t afford to buy razors so she wore pants all the time.
Best-selling author, J.K. Rowling was a divorced single mom living on welfare because she had just been fired from her job.
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job as a News Anchor.
Jim Carrey had dropped out of school and was living in a van.
And Walt Disney was fired from his job at a local Kansas newspaper because of his “lack of creativity”.
The people who tell you that you have to know exactly what you’re doing with your life in your twenties are the same misguided souls who think that high school is the best four years of your life. So go out, make some mistakes, take some wrong turns, and laugh a little along the way.
Being a little lost in your 20s is a small price to pay to find out what really makes you happy in life.