Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Pursuit of Happiness

One of the greatest inner struggles I faced with quitting my job was being categorized as just another unhappy, over-privileged Millennial. (A term I despise, for what it's worth.) With the constant barrage of articles and studies scrutinizing my generation's every move, I didn't want to become just another statistic. 

Despite my frustration with the treatment of Millennials in the media, I took a certain pride in not being "one of them." I've always been a bit of an old soul, and don't always identify with the "Me Me Me" generation: I loathe YOLO-ing and if I read one more listicle about things twentysomethings love/hate/do, I may throw my computer. (Is this considering myself "exceptional?") 

However, while I may not always relate to my fellow Millennials, I'm getting pretty damn tired of the national pastime that is Millennial-bashing.

A couple of articles have been floating around on various social media sites regurgitating the concept that Millennials are just the worst. These are just the latest in a long line of Millennial-bashing pieces. Why not? We're easy targets. Not only is it socially acceptable and politically correct to marginalize an entire generation, it's seen as noble. 

I am not entitled or lazy. I don't think I'm particularly special or deserving of special treatment. I just want fulfillment and happiness in my life. The Declaration of Independence lists life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as certain inalienable rights endowed to everyone. So why the hell is my generation getting so much grief for pursing happiness? (In case you were curious, the Declaration of Independence was not written by Millennials. Shocker.)

What does it say about the society we live in when the pursuit of happiness is looked upon as being a selfish endeavor? Perhaps Millennials are so often unhappy simply because we feel guilty for seeking happiness. We may blog and tweet about the minute details of our lives. We may post pictures of our outfits, meals, and pumpkin spice lattes. But while others may see this as a cry for attention, I see it as a quest for community. Millennials are nothing if not loyal: to our ideas and to each other. We seek out togetherness. Although jealousy, comparison, and the fear of missing out may run rampant among Millennials; so do passion, creativity, and hope. 

Photo courtesy Chuck Fortenbacher, Jul2013.
Not sure how I missed the goofy pose memo. 

This is my favorite group of Millennials; my friends who have become my family. We laugh together, cry together, drink together, and nurse hangovers together. We all work hard to maintain a balance between paying the bills and pursuing our passions. We cheer each other on, share in our struggles, and rejoice in our triumphs. I don't know where I would be without them.

From one struggling Millennial to another, know that I support you. Know that I believe in you and your endeavors. Know that I am proud of your accomplishments. Life is an adventure, and I consider it an honor to be sharing it with all of you.