In Defense of the Millennial
by Erin Honor
As children, we are often encouraged to chase our dreams. We are ensured that absolutely anything is possible.
You want to be a race car driver? You can do that.
You want to be an astronaut? You can do that.
You want to be a superhero? You can do that.
In my eighth grade classroom was a poster that read, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” I remember not fully understanding the poster. I mean, why would I want to miss? Missing would be unacceptable. At the same time, I loved that poster. I loved the idea of dreaming big and I loved being told that it was okay to dream big.
The thing is, somewhere along the road between beginning high school (though this sometimes even begins in middle or elementary school), the idea of dreaming big is shot down; discouraged even.
Suddenly a child will find him or herself inundated with the complete opposite message. You want to save the world? That’s cute, but let’s get real. Get good grades so you can get into a good university so that you can get a well-paying job and buy a home and support yourself. A writer? No, you can’t do that. How about a physicians assistant? You should be a physicians assistant, you are pretty much guaranteed a job after graduation. You want to see the world? Maybe you can do that after you retire.
Let’s be realistic.
No one really loves their jobs.
My response to all this?
I don’t understand why this is the message that is drilled into the minds of young people, and I don’t understand when exactly the big change from, “dream big,” to, “play it safe,” occurs. It bothers me more than anything.
People often complain about my generation (as any older generation will do about the generation below them), the Millennials. We are called lazy. It is said that we don’t want to work. We are entitled. We are self-obsessed. Of course there are people like that within my generation, there are people like that in all generations.
But what if we are, in fact, just waking up?
We live in an extremely amazing time. In my almost 20 years of existence, I have seen the computer and internet become something that is in every single household. I have seen the birth of the flip phone, of texting, and now the iPhone. I lived for the first iPod. I lived through blogging, youtube, and online businesses becoming actual career options. I lived through giant, bulky computers and television. I have lived through computers and televisions so slim and sleek that you would think that they would shatter just by brushing up against them.
What I am saying is that we truly live in a world where chasing your dreams has never been more possible. With today’s technology, living a life that fulfills you has never been a more viable life path.
That being said, you definitely need to work hard.
Sitting around and waiting for your life to just fall into place is, in my opinion, the reason that people wind up in dead-end jobs that we hate. The world doesn’t work that way. I believe whole-heartedly that we all have a purpose in the world, and that each and every one of us has something that we are passionate about, but just because you are meant to do something does not mean that the opportunity to do it is just going to come to you.
To live out your passions, you need to pursue them with passion.
While following your dreams has never been easier, this does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that following your dreams is easy. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Those movie stars who, “came from nowhere,” or that best-selling author whose first novel became a phenomenon? Those people spent years upon years building themselves up and working towards their goals and failing more often than succeeding.
The difference between them and the people who don’t reach their dreams are that they chose to keep going and keep dreaming.
Picture your biggest aspiration as a wall made of a huge piece of maximum strength duck tape. You throw yourself at the wall with all you have, but you don’t stick. You throw yourself at it again, stick for a moment, and then fall to the ground fast and hard. You keep throwing yourself at the wall, but to no avail. You now have a choice here, you can throw your hands up in the air and say, “screw it, this will never work,” or you can make the decision to keep going.
You are there all through the night, throwing yourself a the wall over and over again. You are exhausted, bruised even, but determined. Eventually, just when you think that you are at your wits end, the unthinkable happens.
And it is all worth it.
Now, I know that getting yourself to stick to a wall is probably not on the top of your list of goals and aspirations. Trust me, it’s not on mine either. What I am saying is that it could take years upon years to just get your foot in the door when it comes to accomplishing your dreams. It is a long and tiring road. But I do truly believe that if you keep throwing yourself at something over and over again and putting the entirety of your life-force into it….
There is no way that you can not accomplish your dreams.
We all deserve to live a fulfilled life and to do the things that we want to do. It is all up to you and your willingness to put in the work towards getting there.