|Taken from my Pinterest|
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I know that myself and many of my friends, by the age of 14 or 15, felt like we had to know what we were going to do with our lives, but we also felt like we were too young to do anything of substance because whenever we talked about it or attempted to start something, it was met by incredulity from the older generations. I can't even begin to explain the feelings of confusion that that combination of pressure and lack of support brings.
Since graduating from high school, the pressure only seems to have mounted, with many more people coming out of the woodwork to make your life their business - they question your choices and your life plans (or lack thereof). They ask you when you're going to move out, what age you want to have bought a house & committed yourself to a crippling mortgage because apparently that's a necessity. They want to know how many kids you want, why you aren't in a long term committed relationship yet, and what your plans are for retirement.
You see friends and peers coming into their own, declared at the ripe old age of 19 or 20 to be a success or failure and, wait what? Back up! You want me to start thinking about retirement??
As a kid who is beginning to realise that these people can all f**k off because I know what's right for me and I'll stick to my guns, I've been thinking a lot about what the factors are that almost force kids into feeling the need to stop being kids by the already traumatic age of 14 to consider the options that will lead them to old age and a life of regrets at all the missed opportunities.
Looking back, I can see that most of these feelings, because let's face it there's always been those frustrating stickybeaks, comes down to the Information Revolution. From so young an age we as Gen Y have been exposed to more information than we can even begin to comprehend. We know that anything we want to know about can be found with minimal effort - a few words typed into google and something should surface sooner or later - but more often than not it just leaves us feeling lost, overwhelmed and not knowing where to begin.
Add to this that we are, and always have been, constantly bombarded with information by the media, for a lot of us all day every day, and our prospects of living out our time as contented laid-back kids goes from bad to worse. Facebook, magazines, news sites, celebrity gossip, advertisements - these things are all part of our daily routine, and more often than not, they are telling us what we need to do or who we need to be like.
Combine this utter bombardment with being questioned over our retirement plans before we even have a chance to get a steady job, and it's easy to feel like there is no way out. So how on earth do we overcome the confusion, sort through the information, ignore the stickybeaks and get on with our lives as we choose?
The answer to this is something that I'm still working on, but seeing as I am already responsible for encouraging an awful lot of kids to pursue the path that they want to instead of the one that will lead them to a well-paying job that's respectably high strung, I suppose I shall just continue along that line.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
I've been in well paid jobs and been praised by all the nosy people out there for my good sense, but felt miserable, and I've been in jobs doing what I love that pay not enough to afford even my coffee addiction and been heavily criticised for it, and yet have felt content and secure in myself and in my decisions. Not to say that well paid jobs can't be enjoyable or even the right path, but just that if that well paid job is the one that makes you happy, then consider yourself lucky.
So, by all means talk to people that you trust about any plans that you may have**, whether you feel heavily convicted to follow them, they're just vagaries in the back of your mind or they're yet to even surface and your life plan, at the moment, is a blank canvas. Their ideas and input are often invaluable, and these are generally the people who will also encourage you to follow your own convictions. But for heaven's sake, if all they're interested in is how much money they expect you to be earning or what car you want to buy when you have a mid-life crisis, then run! Or maybe offer to take them out for a drink and use the chance to question them about their dream careers as a kid and encourage them to rekindle that flame...
|Taken from my Pinterest|
**I'd highly recommend grandparents or friends you can make while volunteering in nursing homes. While some of them are as nosy as they get, many have lived long enough to realise that it is okay to take life slowly, not to mention they'll tell you fantastic tales of all the mischief they got up to over the course of their lives that will bring laughter, tears & joy, plus the all important realisation that there is plenty of time to find your place in this wonderful little world of ours.