Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash
The other day I thought, "Why don't I feel like an adult?"
Adults have luxuries afforded to them, like being able to go on holiday or at least go out for dinner without having to re-budget their whole week around it. Children have luxuries like not being responsible for everything or not having to go to work all the time.
I have neither.
And I'm depressed to boot.
Many contributing factors cause depression: genetics, trauma, and lack of good self-care. A plethora of overlapping and ephemeral things all blur and move around each other, creating complex emotions.
I don’t think I’m alone in noticing a prevalence of these feelings in people “of my generation.” There seems to be something about being a Millennial that is making me depressed.
The first argument, usually made by a rich, old bloke living in a nice house, is that Millennials are sad because we believe we are special snowflakes. I’m sure you’ve heard this one before — young people were told their whole lives that they’re unique and interesting and given a prize merely for taking part in a competition. As a result of such coddling, our childhoods have left us particularly unprepared for the "real world."
Is there a grain of truth in this? Possibly. I don’t recall being told I was great all the time — just when I was being great, which was, to be fair, nearly all the time.
I have two objections to this view. Firstly, you have to be a particular type of sociopath to blame someone for what happens in their own childhood. And secondly, you have to be delusional to expect you will receive the same kind of treatment received in childhood for the rest of your life. All “special snowflake” children of all generations grow up and become non-unique adults, following a similar life plan. This is known, even by dumb millennials.
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I think the cause of my ennui is rooted in uncertainty and unlikelihood. Put simply, it’s the fateful combination of not knowing what I want and knowing that even if I did, it would be pretty implausible for me to get it.
Sometimes I feel trapped in a prison of too many choices.
The norm no longer exists for me — what my parents did isn’t a feasible option anymore. With all of these sprawling pathways into the future, none of them seeming particularly easy or pleasant, we are either forced into making a decision we don’t have faith in or not make one at all and live paralyzed in fear.
Sounds fun, right?
Doing a job that isn’t a passion is nothing new. However, in the past, the reward for doing a more “practical” job was enough money to live and prosper. Now, since none of us will ever be able to buy a house anyway, more and more I’m asking what the actual point of it all is. Working to earn enough to rent and eat food and occasionally buy stuff seems existentially empty. I’m left wandering around from one thing to another, with no real achievable end goal in sight.
To make matters worse, a lot of the blame for this is shoved right back onto us. Millennials are commonly branded as lazy (yes, ok, I am, but that’s a personal issue, not a generational one), and our lack of milestone achievements are seen as a result of not working hard enough. "Productivity" has become our keyword — we are a society that values people based only on what they provide.
Sounds scary, right? Can you blame me for feeling a bit sad?