Here we go again, another whiny, feel sorry for me millennial, talking about how mean the world is. From my cushioned middle class household, I was raised in a perfectly nuclear family without ever having to worry about things children shouldn’t worry about. I got a university education at the school of my choice, and even had the privilege to do some traveling. With a life like that, could I really be so naive to say that I have been dealt a bad hand? I am not here to go about denying the chances I have been lucky enough to have been given in my life. Sunshine and rainbows aside, there are always going to be obstacles to face.
So, what exactly is the “Millennial Mountain” you might ask? To what am I referring to exactly? To me, it is the massive steaming heap of parental and societal expectations that have been placed in front of us measuring what it means for each of us to be successful human beings sharing this planet. Everyone’s mountain is different, some are Mt. Wycheproof (the world’s smallest mountain) while some are Mt. Everest, and each might have a different view from the top. What each has in common is the path that we are being told to take to reach the summit. For some this path is paved, and for others it still involves a bit of bushwhacking, but for all, this path exists. This path includes getting educated (by whatever means), getting a job, getting married, having kids, retiring, and dying. Admittedly this is a blanket statement. Not everyone has these expectations placed on them individually, but this is what society tells us we are supposed to do. So, what if you don’t want to follow this path? What does that mean? You don’t want to get married? You don’t want to have kids? You’re doing life wrong. Or are you?
I guess I should also say that really the mountain we are climbing here does not necessarily have to be millennial. I acknowledge that each generation has their own trials and tribulations that they must face, overcome, and conquer. However, I myself am a millennial and I am climbing this so called mountain, so here I am going to refer to it as the millennial mountain. All this goes to say is that where I am many of stood before me,
and many will stand after. I am not unique in feeling lost in my twenties. I have a deep desire to experience and see the world around me, and to grow and prosper, but am struggling along like the rest of the twenty-something’s out there.
What often gets lost along the way, while we are each traversing our mountains, are the means by which we climb them, and the trials and tribulations that we come across to get there. Are we belaying or bouldering? Are there bridge trolls and abominable snowmen? The hills and valleys that pop up along the way are what make life interesting, and how we choose to tackle them is what makes us who we are. Do we follow the path chosen before us, or do we take a path that we create ourselves? Do we even ever get to the top of the mountain, or do we decide that we are happy reaching a certain plateau and staying there?
It is easy to fall into the self deprecating trap that I have laid out in front of us. Poor us, life is so hard. Which isn’t completely untrue, life has its challenges. However, what I want to focus on isn’t how hard life has to be, or how hard life is. What I want to do here is carry on a dialogue that looks at how life can be outside of this paradigm, and shine a light on life off the beaten track.