This post starts as just a repost of a couple things from Good:
New American Dreams
New Young People’s Lives (if you only have time for one of these read this)
Is this just a cyclic thing? Our parents grew up and got big houses in the suburbs and lived private lives, so we want to grow up and get small apartments in cities and have a lot of friends? (you could certainly explain my opinions by that…) Will our kids want big homes on the range again? It is tough, as the article hints, to be 5-15 and think “well my parents are successful, someday when I am successful I will be just like them” and then be 15-25 and think “I can’t live the same lifestyle as my parents, nor do I want to… what’s next?” There are a lot of contenders that I’ve heard about, but most of them are either poorly defined or suck a lot:
- get a bunch of humanities degrees
- be a bankerman, let your I-banking job suck you up and spit you out a depressed millionaire, retire at 30
- join the peace corps, and then …?
- be a nerdman, let your computer job suck you up and spit you out a burnt-out half-millionaire, retire at 40
- do exactly what your parents did
- get depressed or angry or something, drink a lot
- I guess party a lot? I don’t know, a lot of people do that, right? And then join a rock band or something, and end up kind of burnt out or die tragically?
These all seem boring or ending in burned-outness, or both.
I mean, then there’s the obvious answer:
- just live your own life, do what’s reasonable, don’t get burnt out at all, and don’t worry about it so much, it’ll be okay.
But that’s very vague and hard to strive for. And it seems like the kind of thing that, if you don’t plan, you’ll just sort of drift until you’re 40 and then be in a life you don’t want and say, well I hate this, midlife crisis!
It might be easier if I had more experience with life. I don’t know how people’s lives really are. For all I know, everyone agrees that your 30’s are the best decade of your life. Or maybe it just keeps getting better. Or maybe life only gets good once you move to a different country five times, or maybe most people are miserable most of their lives and only a few holymen have figured it out. I guess it’s not been a problem for previous generations, because we have more choice than most of them. Well, this sword is double edged, at best.
Whoof. I’m all over the place. I swear, one of these days I’m going to quit thinking so hard about living my life, and start actually living my life.
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