How much of who we are is a reflection of circumstance versus a reflection of our own freedom of thought, expression and power of will? Could two millennials from two very different walks of life be very much the same?
Josh is a 35 year old male who grew up at the helm of one of the most Conservative states of all of the USA. I am a 30 year old female who grew up in one of the most progressive cities in the world. Josh enrolled in the Marines after high school. I enrolled in University after high school. Josh is married with a children. I have yet to marry and start a family. Josh works for the police. I am unemployed. It’s true, on first appearance, we’re very different people.
We’re very different on paper, that’s for sure. But we’re also very similar in a lot of ways. We’re both very much aligned in our desires for equality, how to treat people and how we wish to be treated. We both studied the same subject in school and understand the importance of good communication in all aspects of life. We both have sincere appreciation for travel, for culture, for people being able to be their authentic and true selves. In a lot of was, we’re two peas in a pod.
What do you think? Are we a product of circumstance, or is there something more to who we grow up to become? Josh and I are sharing some discussions had, some questions answered and some lessons learned. Half of this will be displayed here, on #MillennialLifeCrisis, whilst the other half can be found on Josh’s blog. So, without further ado, these millennials come to you with its noisiest authorities insisting on it being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Where did you see yourself by the time you were 30 and where were you actually by the time you were 30?
Josh: I set a lot of goals for myself before I was 30, but many of them were experience orientated. I wanted to have traveled the world, seen a lot of different cultures, served in the military and maybe… had kids and got married. I didn’t really think a lot about the marriage card until my mid-twenties.
I ended up achieving most of them. I served in the U.S. military as a marine. I had a very successful military career and I traveled. I think I hit 15 countries and 4 continents by 24. I did a lot of traveling outside the military, so I got to experience a lot of cultures. I stayed with families in Cambodia and South Africa. I got lost a couple times in Europe and South America. It’s nice accomplishing goals, but it doesn’t always bring happiness. I wish I had worked more on myself and well-being in those years. I have a lot of regrets during that time, drank a lot and slept with a lot of women. I didn’t have a lot of meaningful relationships, but meaningless ones, if that makes sense
Vee: I set a great deal of expectations for myself for where I would be when I was 30. I wanted to work in management, I wanted to be changing the face of how people thought about and felt about sports. I wanted to have travelled the world, have mastered my skill-sets and have really enriched the lives of my nieces and nephews. I wanted to be the woman who had it all.
Right now, at 30, I am unemployed, still working on changing the way people feel about sports… but I think that will always be a work in process.
If you could go back in time and tell your 19 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Josh: I could probably write a novel for my 19-year-old self, but one single piece of advice… that’s tough. I probably would tell myself to immediately pursue education and continue doing it until I couldn’t anymore and not give up when moments get hard. I’d also tell myself to not be scared of girls and be respectful to them.
Vee: Oh goodness, it’s really hard to pick just one. I think I’ll have to settle with ‘Dump that asshole and do it right now!’
Did you feel pressure to complete school within a time period and find steady work, immediately after college or high school?
Josh: Yes and no, I felt like when I graduated High School it was kind of the thing to do. If you didn’t go to college I felt like society looked down on you and I felt shame for not wanting to pursue education. I feel like a lot of motivation is brought about by shame, its good to avoid doing things because you feel shame for not doing them.
But, I did start working pretty quick. I had a bunch of crappy jobs and then I got a good one. And, then in the middle of the Iraq stuff I joined the military. It was something I’d always wanted to do and it changed my life. I don’t know if I’d say it was good, but its effect was really massive. I felt like I gave the best years of my life to the marines and I know I can’t get those back.
Vee: I went to University right after high school because I received a scholarship. To me, it just seemed like a no-brainer… get the degree now, do the fun stuff later. After I graduated from University I packed up all of my things and went on a road trip for several months. It was incredible. Then, when I returned from my trip, a job just sort of fell into place… almost as though the universe had a plan for me.
Do you feel like if or when, you’ll have to be involved in their lives to a certain extent, pta, sports?
Josh: I hate the expectations that go with kids. I feel like as a parent you’re supposed to be at all the school events, join the PTA, play youth baseball and dance. It’s really hard finding time for everything and I don’t want my kids to miss out, but I’d rather spend the time one on one with them rather than watching them dance. I’ve learned I can’t do it all.
Vee: If I ever do have children I hope that I am involved in their lives. I don’t think I’d ever have kids just to pawn them off on their dad, or my family members. If I have kids, I want to be my own version of Lorelei Gilmore.
Do you feel like there is a salary or amount of money you’ve expected to be making?
Josh: Yes and no. I used to think I should make at least as much as my parents, but now, years later I don’t care. My family was pretty middle class. My Dad worked on the assembly line making cars at Ford and my mom was an Interior Designer. I don’t know why I felt this way, it really doesn’t bother me anymore. I want to give my kids a good life, but I feel like I can do that with less money or more, it’s just about how I spend and save it.
Vee: I have never had a fixed salary in my mind that I desired. I simply wanted to be able to support myself. I’m a very simple person in nature, so it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. I feel like so long as I can make enough to make myself happy and keep myself housed and fed and healthy, then I’ll have done well.
Do you feel shame or any unfair expectations?
Josh: This is a tough question. I think the world is full of shame and unfair expectations. For me, I freak out about money. It’s a big trigger for me. I want to be able to feed my family, keep a roof over their heads and provide. I also want to take care of them emotionally and developmentally. I want to support their dreams and leisure pursuits. I know it’s all pretty deep, but when those expectations get derailed, I stress out and have to center myself. When I was single I could have cared less about a lot of this stuff.
I feel like I’m also comparing myself to my peers from High School and College. And it’s not fair because everyone is different. Every person has unique expectations put on them and self-inflicted. I think it’s incredibly helpful to get past the shame and understand our triggers.
Vee: I feel as though there are most definitely unfair expectations placed on all females in this world. You see it in the media every day – in the laws that are being created, or rewritten to give women less choice and in the lack of representation of females around virtually every executive table and so very many industries.
Furthermore, I feel there are unfair expectations put on millennials. Gen X wants us to follow in their footsteps, and if we don’t they get angry. Baby Boomers don’t understand that we have different values then they did when they were young. I don’t think they want to understand. Both generations see us as entitled, neither generation really tries to understand.
Want to read more about how Josh and I are both extremely similar and extremely different people at the same time? Check out the other half of our interview questions on Josh’s Blog. Visit Creative Words of Life >