By JASMINE ANDREWS
If you’ve seen Gary (Vee) Vaynerchuck’s 92Y Talk With Stephanie Ruhle or Simon Sinek’s viral Millennials in the Workplace interview, then you know everyone’s got a lot to say about millennials. Baby boomers born in the 1940s grew up in a completely different world than the one we have now. As a result, they don’t understand us, nor do they attempt to, and the Generation X they birthed believes that we are a lost ugly legion of twerking, Instagram-addicted neanderthals who don’t know the value of reality. Admittedly, Generation Y’s are a bit more forgiving, believing that while we are still crazy kids running amuck with our noses glued to our smartphones, we may just have a chance to turn around our shallow ways and focus on a traditional life that includes sacrificing your 20s (the prime years of full joint rotation) just so you can have the job you want when you’re 40, then (hopefully) retire when you’re 65. But hey, most of Generation Y is stuck within the pre-computer age where cassettes and DVD players were a thing, so we’ll take what we can get.
But really, can we blame the world for questioning us? Can we blame the world for not understanding a generation of Millennials who really don’t know themselves?
I am being honest when I say we millennials really don’t know who we are. We “know” information that we receive through the media, through free articles, and through blog posts exemplifying all that we think we want, but have never actually tried. We are hungry for the good life. We are thrill-seeking adventurers who want the most out of every day, every second, every interaction and every moment. We are looking for fulfillment. We are your morning-yoga coding machines, in search of what it means to live a full life. For us, this means a life outside of what was once the typical American dream, one where you work a cubicle-based nine-to-five for 80 or more hours per week, earn a meager salary, settle for an ok spouse, and have children that will get the “best” education public schools can offer. Then, after it’s all done and you’ve penny-pinched your savings away, you’d live a modest, unsatisfying life of retirement where there’d be just too much life, too many years after your social security checks stopped coming in the mail.
No. No, no, no. As a passionate generation, we want to start living our best lives now and forever. We all want to be on Forbes list of 20 under 20, not 30 under 30. We want to take vacations now, not wait until our scheduled two weeks are allotted to us. We want to run our own businesses, control our own lives and have our own relationships with whomever we want, whenever we want, however we want to.
Unfortunately, no one ever taught us how to do these things. No generation before us has shown what it means to be authentic and live a true-to-yourself lifestyle.
They just told us, “Be yourself.”
But how? We are a bright and eager generation with a mass of knowledge and access to unlimited resources at our fingertips, but we have not yet learned true wisdom –applied wisdom.
Well, allow yourself to be your own guiding light, at least for this article. While I’m not the self-fulfillment guru, I am a millennial who is just as obsessed with living a breathtaking, authentic life as I’m sure you are. Here are a few tips on how to be yourself this year.
Step 1: Make a list of all the values you hold dear to yourself and one of all the things you’ve always wanted to do.
Step 2: Review and plan.
Decide to commit. Remember, this isn’t a new year’s resolution (that’s pretty cliché), you are committing to your present self to create the best version of who you are.
Step 3: Remember that you always have a choice and that you always will.
It’s easy to scroll through Pinterest and blindly follow the advice before you, or to do the same with any self-help book or activity log that may just find its way into your fingers. Instead, take back the choice in your life. We seem to have forgotten what it’s like to actually have options as opposed to letting someone provide preset opportunity for you.
Step 4: Reflect: How do you want to live?
No matter what, life is a personal experience and you are the author, narrator, hero and protagonist of your own story. Whatever is being spoon fed to you doesn’t matter – you have to live your life for you in your own way without limitation.
Step 5: Experience, experience, experience.
Ultimately, if you do the things on your bucket list and expand upon the values you’ve set forth for yourself, you will begin to develop into an even more incredible and stunning human being than you are now. The pathway is yours to follow, and you must remember that all those books, motivation pages and activity planners should only be used as tools, not as the defining force in your development. You are your own person, a dynamic human being who deserves to live a life that reflects who you are inside.