I was perusing my Facebook last night, as I tend to do, and I came across this article, 20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get. Of course, I don’t claim to know everything. I’m always open for a new learning experience, constructive criticism, and find new ways to grow. In all honesty, I found the article quite insightful. However, on the same token, I feel it’s not completely accurate.
To be a 20-something right now is a really scary thing. I was thinking about this description and how broad it can actually be. To be a 20-something, you could be in school, graduated and searching for a job, entering the job market, have been in a job for several years, have been job hunting for several years, going back to school, hoping to find your right calling in life, all, or none of those things. Is it really fair to lump 21-year-olds in the same category as 28-year-olds? Chances are, they are on completely different paths and in completely different places in their lives.
I realize, though, that most “20-somethings” would really fall within the 23-26 range. This makes me think of myself and my brother, for instance, since I am 22 (almost 23!) and my brother just turned 26. My brother and myself have always been very motivated individuals. Our mother taught us that in order to excel you need to make yourself irreplaceable, you need to make your co-workers and peers feel as though they could not survive without your help and your work. And we certainly know that you should be the first person in and the last to leave, and always do anything you’re asked with a smile. But I know plenty of other 20-somethings that could not be more unmotivated.
What it really means to be a 20-something in today’s world is unpredictable. Society is asking for so much of us and expects so little. Us “20-somethings” are looked at as adults, but treated like children. We are told to know exactly what we want to do for the rest of our lives, and where we expect to be in 50 years, but are expected to live each day as it is our last. We are given responsibility, only to be treated as though we have not earned it (and in some cases, maybe we haven’t).
I know many “20-somethings” that have their lives in order, and I know many that don’t. I know plenty who are on the path to success, while there are still plenty who are on the path to finding themselves. After all, isn’t that what being 20 is about — Finding yourself?
So why not take the pressure off those of us entering one of the worst job markets in a deflated economy? Maybe our resumes aren’t perfect, and we certainly don’t know it all, but there is much more to the average 20-something than meets the eye. Sure, we may waste hours scrolling through BuzzFeed, Instagramming, Tweeting, and watching YouTube, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have more to offer. Look beneath the first impressions, the exterior, and deep down to what drives and motivates us all — the determination to find the perfect job, or if we are simply searching for ourselves, our soul mate, or a way to earn enough money to move out of our parents’ house.
The next time you encounter a 20-something on the street, in the workplace, or behind your favorite stores cash register, remember: We are not all created equal. And we will be the ones ruling this country, and this world, when your generation has handed it off. There is hope, we just need our chance to shine.