The journey of self discovery of the millennial, is unlike any other living generation today. We're idealists, travelers, "late bloomers," unconventional in many ways, and definitely more spiritually and mentally grounded than others. We are the ones that created Social Media. To be frank, we've changed history forever.With my fascination of millennials, I often do my own research to see what emerging theories are being produced in Psychology about us.
Famed Psychologist, Dr. Jeffrey Jensen studies 20 somethings, and has declared that our twenties is its own developmental stage of life. For many years, Deevlopmental Psychologists have used the framework of Erik Erikson which lumped us together from ages 20-45, and called it "Young Adulthood." Arnette seems to be the academic father of studying millennials. In 2004, he published Emerging Twenties: The Winding road from Late Teens Through the Twenties. "According to Dr. Arnett, in the past half century what most people experience during the years from age 18 to 29 has changed dramatically in industrialized societies. Instead of entering marriage and parenthood in their very early twenties, most people now postpone these transitions until at least their late twenties, and spend their late teens through their mid-twenties in self-focused exploration as they try out different possibilities in love and work." Check out some of his work here.
One thing I know for sure, is that a large number of millennials (at least those who are anti, "the plan") are striving to find their own place in, purpose in and meaning of life. It's apparent that as more millennials (especially in the US) are travelling and becoming more aware of different cultures, that the polarity between choosing to apply Eastern and Western values is strong. More yoga, more mindfulness, more fitness, more health consciousness, less dogma, less traditionalism.
Its an interesting journey, and one to me, that really help defines what it means to be a 20-something. I often appreciate ancient words that shine light on the possible path ahead. Words that not only awaken my consciousness but also help me question what I believe. Before we enter the phase in which we decide to live our own lives, we are only taking the "truth" that we were socialized to believe. Your religion, your values, and your morals are largely influenced by your upbringing; moreso than not, they were fed to you by your parents or support system growing up.
In my own journey of life and self love, I appreciate the value of learning to connect to my own spirit about what I believe and how I want to live my life.
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus
Even more than ever, Gratitude and Being Present is essential for the Millennial. Our cultural obsession with instant gratification truly tends to distract us from life.
Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.” – Albert Einstein (or woman of course).
Words like these can create a shift in values. Our parents, the government, the media and ideas of adulthood send us a message about the importance of collecting "things" such as homes, cars, investments, and titles. Success is traditionally associated with anything that we can acquire, but what if deep down inside, you don;t really care about what you acquire. Granted, "retirement" is important, but do you want to release those ideals from your experience? Do you want to create your own boundaries and lifestyle? I mean, it's kind of a 4th world problem: Do I want to take advantage of the Wealth around me, or do I want to Live like a "minimalist" and "enjoy life" like primarily the rest of the world?
We see stories and stories about those with riches feeling unloved, devalued, hopeless and invisible all the time.
As lost as they think we are, I believe that millennials are pretty insightful. With respect to Classic Greek Philosophers and inventors during the Enlightenment Period, our social, mental, and emotional intelligence has brought forth a shift in society. When history looks back at our years those born between 1980 and 2000, they will note the amount of innovators and everyday intellectuals. An array of beings that didn't necessary have one sure track to living, but women and men from all cultures that really knew how to live and embrace individuality (even if a large number end up broke a 75 haha). Let's be honest about what we have going on here. We're the outtest (LGBTQ community has made history). Not only the highest ( next to the original hippy bunch), but young people are popping up with multi-million dollar dispensary businesses everywhere. We know how to really turn our passions into paychecks (especially when we can't get jobs); this is the generation of the Instafamous and YouTube Celebrity! Let's leave the Bloggers, Tech Start-ups, and App creators in their own Kingdom...because it's historically mind boggling.
Granted I believe millennials have great emotional and intimacy issues, but in time because we are such a pro-therapy, pro-wellness, and pro-transformative bunch, this will all be settled by 40, which compared to our parents is great because most of them didn't start connecting to their true emotions until 40!
In sum, we're awesome. You're awesome. Continue to forge your path and fall on your face while you're at it.
What quotes, stories, or people have impacted you to reconsider how you want to live your life? I'd love to hear your own story. Email firstname.lastname@example.org