Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Millennials and college

One of the articles on the Today show this morning was about the youngest current generation of adults: Millennials. I am proudly in the middle of Generation X, and my future bride is just as proud to be squarely in the middle of the Millennials.

Here are some of the facts that define the generation according to the show this morning...
  • Ninety million strong, making it the largest generation alive
  • 75% are on Social Media, hands down the largest generation represented on FB
  • 25% do not have a declared religion, the most of any generation
  • One in five have posted a video of themselves online
  • The best way to distinguish one in the wild is you can't see their eyes because they walk everywhere with their heads down looking at their phones
And while most Millennials won't argue those points and aren't angered by them at all, this last fact makes them furious...
  • This generation will be crushingly disappointed when they graduate from college and find out they aren't as special as they were led to believe.
I've talked to Alli extensively about this last point, and have heard it be the topic of more conversations with her peers than anything else. Every child born from the BabyBoomers until today have been taught and retaught and urged and re urged towards the idea that a college degree gives you a better future than not having one. And on at least some level that is true for every generation, every generation except Millennials that is.

Generation X saw the decline of factories and mills as the fallback jobs they once were for those who weren't smart enough or interested enough to be a so-called professional. But there were still brick & mortar jobs to be had, the same for our parents, the Boomers. But unlike those times, this current generation is falling victim to the same technology they love so much, and the same job that once employed five to ten people now only requires one person and a computer.

The issue I take with this is not that technology is stripping away manpower jobs, but the fact that these poor kids were and still are being force fed the college magic beans. "Go to college and you'll be guaranteed a job!" I understand adults need to be responsible for their own issues and crying, "Life's not fair!" will only get you limited sympathy, but I'm not feeling sorry for this generation as adults, I'm feeling sorry for how they were treated as impressionable teenagers. Under the direction and suggestion of adults I trusted, I did a lot of things as a fifteen, sixteen, seventeen year old I would never do with the knowledge I have now; heck, we can all probably say the same thing. What frustrates me is no one is saying sorry to this group of kids-now-adults who are paying back horrendous school loans without the good jobs they were promised.

To make it worse, this group is paying back these school loans working for low wages, often at multiple jobs, and almost never in the field their degrees are in. In fact, I heard a number once that only one out of every three Millennials will ever work directly in line with their field of study. All of this while living under the constant comments they are a lazy generation who desires only instant gratification.  

There is a lot more I could rant about in regards to this but it would make the post way too long. I guess my main issue is the college thing which has been a frustration of mine since I myself was nineteen years old and saw so many young adults in the unemployment lines even though they had college degrees. All these years later, that annoyance is renewed as I see Alli's sixty thousand dollar school debt hover over her head, and no jobs for her anywhere in sight. (Certainly not for lack of looking.) 

If the next generation is indeed the future of our country, all we can hope is that they don't hold a grudge for all the lies.

OFF about sums it up

I have another post in my brain, but I wanted to respond to the last post. To put it simply, my feelings were spot on as they related to my job which in turn was feeding a lot of the anxiety I was dealing with. Without going into too much detail, I'm looking for another job and doing so with a good amount of financial fear with the wedding coming up so soon.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Feeling off

As I transferred the white load of laundry I'd forgotten about last night from the washing machine to the dryer, questioning under my breath how I could forget something so simple, I started to wonder why my emotions and actions have been so off lately. My dissatisfaction with my new bank, my sense of displacement in my new home, my weird habits, my sense of dread over finances, my random homesickness, and more... all of it leaving me feeling like something was a bit off.

Being married to the ex at such a young age, and sharing our graduation of maturity, and then having it stripped away without a reasonable explanation, all then followed by the quick progression of leaving the Log House, failing on the AT, and then losing my Dad, were in hindsight, the kind of things people lose their minds over. I sometimes wonder if at times I've been on the edge of a nervous breakdown... or worse. What used to be my normal rhythms, the unseen and unrecognized progressions of life, had a severe break in their cycle in 2010 and '11 and '12. I see that now. But in dealing with them in the moment, that was a hard realization to understand let alone even know was happening.

As a very young twenty-something, life events --even intense ones-- are easier to handle because young adults don't really know what adulthood is supposed to look like, so they just take it in stride and muscle through. (Most of them.) And if you have someone by your side, those challenges are even easier to deal with because there is a dual survival mentality: you can handle big issues easier with someone to share them with. And even how you handle those things become a mutual decision which by its nature becomes less about covering each other's backs and more about facing the problems head on, linked arm-in-arm; a common thought process overriding two separate minds.

But as you get older I tend to believe you become more guarded and cautious. I thought about this recently in regards to buying a house. Even with her sixty thousand dollar plus school debt, Alli and I make more than enough money to buy a house; almost double what the ex and I made when we bought our first house with me stocking drywall and her waitressing which were hardly jobs a rational couple would hang their financial-future hat on. But my age makes me throw up the danger flag that buying a house is stupid right now. Not a single similarity to my decision-making process as a twenty one year old.

And then there's the pondering whether I'm limiting Alli in her own progression of maturity. Am I, at fourteen years her elder, blocking her from experiencing those things because of my cautious, rational thinking behaviors? Is that fair to her? Alli makes me happier then I've ever been in my life, but being with her brings about all these fears and concerns that I should help her --and us-- make smart decisions. My guess is that comes from knowing I don't have all my twenties and thirties to fix my mistakes like I did the first time. Right or wrong, that's where I'm at.

So back to feeling off... All of this maturity in the face of starting something most people do in their twenties is probably at the center of my emotional well being. I had a partner that was a partner at the normal time and we grew together at the normal pace things usually grow, and now that I'm doing that all over but this time with a partnership from different age ranges, comes with certain introspection's.

To mistake this feeling for only deriving from my upcoming marriage would be shortsighted. My life is different now in a way I never would have imagined or foreseen. I only have one parent now, I live in a different state than the previous thirty five years, the house I thought I'd have forever is no longer mine, I'm uncertain if I can continue pretending my career ambition is to be a banker, my closest friends in the world are nine hours away, everything that was safe and secure and without question is no longer any of those things. It all has me feeling off, disconnected, on the edge of being lost. I know some people who would say that where I was at, was at best, a sense of complacency. And I think they would be correct. But even though that seems sad, my life was comfortable and known, with no questioning. Again, right or wrong, I think a lot people settle into that right around the age I'm at in my life.

I need to add one more thing, this is not a case of cold feet. I am ready and eager to be married to Alli. I just don't see a clear plan for my life that was there a few years ago when all was safe, and I think that scares me. That last part is probably the core of all this. I think I'm just scared. Whatever all this means, I'm feeling off.