Sunday, May 8, 2011

Plight of the Twenty-Somethings

The American Dream still burns in all of us. We learned in school how life was supposed to work, we grew up truly believing that we could do anything we set our minds to, and here we are. Welcome to the quarter-life crisis. In my reading of this issue in college, I never thought it would affect me. Disillusioned, anyone? Is it time to move out of my first job? Is it possible to find something meaningful? Is there anyone out there who really does enjoy going to work everyday?

Maybe the problem is that I was raised to believe work was something you wanted to do. Isn't that what our parents and teachers said - what do you want to be when you grow up? Wasn't that the question at my high school graduation - what do you want to study? Now I am here, and what I want doesn't seem to exist in a real job. Who has my dream job? And when are they going to retire? Times are different and we are all holding tightly to our current jobs regardless of whether it is a good fit or we enjoy it. We fear unemployment. And we fear unemployment because of one more question - what do you do for a living? It's the standard opening line when meeting someone for the first time...

If life is made up of more than just a nine to five, should the job matter this much? If what we do is just one extension of who we are, why is what we do the only thing we mention to others? Unemployment often feels like failure. We fear failure. If it must be failure, it is just failure in one aspect of life. We don't have to fail our other responsibilities or commitments.

I want to live a life that is not defined by my job. As unsatisfying as my job is right now, focusing on the rest of my life is the only thing that will keep me sane. I live on a beautiful property. I am married to a wonderful man. I have two loving families. I am currently learning about how social media is a tool to aid non-profit organizations - on my own time. I am excited about my next big travel adventure. I am in the middle of decorating my first home and making it look like me and Mister. I run. I walk. I have quick access to beautiful trails.

I'm a twenty-something. I don't like my first job. And until I find something that makes me want to bake muffins and bring them to all my co-workers, I'll re-direct my thoughts so that I can remember daily that my life is beautiful.

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