I think we’re all in that weird transitional period where we’re overqualified for unpaid internships but paid work in our fields is woefully out of reach. And by “we” I mean a certain subset of creative 20-somethings trying really hard to “make it” in big metropolitan cites, even though we’re not totally sure of what “making it” entails. Call us the Lena Dunham Generation. Or don’t. I know there was quite a ruckus about how representative or not representative her show is about actual 20-somethings, but it definitely resonates with that particular subset I mentioned above. And for some reason, according to what I’ve read in The News, it’s bad, somehow, that it resonates with us? Something about being “privileged” and “narcissistic” and all those other buzzwords that are required in every article written about Millennials ever. I’m not totally sure; I kind of stopped paying attention around the 17th time that I read I was self-absorbed. It must have been because I was so absorbed with myself.
But it’s true that this group definitely doesn’t represent an entire generation; a lot of Millennials never left their hometowns and instead settled down, got married and had kids before their 20s were even half over. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because these people seem quite happy and satisfied; it’s just that to us, the Thought Catalog Generation, the VICE Generation, the Fuck! I’m In My 2os Generation, this seems like such an alien choice to make. How can we even think of settling down when those “dream jobs” we keep striving for still seem so out of reach? We’re 25 and still getting our bosses’ coffee, and we’re supposed to think about buying a house now? Most of us just want a dog but feel unprepared for the responsibility, and other people our age are having kids? A baby is like, three dogs, at least. What even is a “dream job” anyway?
No, most of us right now are more focused on living out our Twenties like the romantics we are. A lot of us look at the high school friends who already have kids now, and think “shiiiit, they ended their twenties prematurely! Why would anyone want to do that? They’ll never know the joy of watching the sun rise from their own rooftop after a crust-punk warehouse party with their best friend and a bunch of out-of-towners they just met at the aforementioned crusty warehouse party!” And the answer is, because it makes them happy. Just like how what we’re doing makes us happy, on some level, despite however much we bitch over a brunch of chicken and waffles about the times our bosses yell at us or that one time we fell asleep on the subway and a hobo spat in our mouths (hypothetically, Mom). Because if it’s not a hobo, it’s probably a baby spitting in your mouth. I’m not sure exactly what point I’m trying to make here anymore. (Hobos and babies have a surprising amount of things in common?)
So before I got really sidetracked into talking about crust-punks and hobos, I think the point I was trying to make is that we’re all following our dreams in our own weird ways, and we should respect that rather than attack each other for being “self-absorbed navel-gazers” who need to “pull ourselves up by the bootstraps” and “just grow up already.” For some, following our dreams means sacrificing that introspective part of our twenties to start a family right away, and for others it means being in that weird transitional period between being too broke to keep working for free, and finding good, creative, paid work in our chosen fields. You know, at least for now.