I come from a generation that was told that everything was in reach, if only we would follow our Lisa Frank-hued dreams to the end of the magical aspiration rainbow where they converged at Happytime Station. Astronaut? Of course. Ballerina? No sweat. President of the United States of America? Yes, yes, yes! Your heart will never lead you astray!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we live in a world with a serious dearth of Presidential Ballerinas. Of course, that’s not for lack of trying, and now people see our generation as “generation me”. The generation that can’t stop sending tweets long enough to put in a hard day’s work at the Imaginary Job Factory, doesn’t buy enough houses, and won’t start making lots of babies already, damn. It’s not uter-you, ladies.
In truth, I know a lot of people my age that are extremely hard workers, way less self-obsessed than GIRLS would have you believe, and would buy a house in a heartbeat if only the Imaginary Job Factory hadn’t tragically shut down years ago.
If Millennials complain, we are usually told that if we hadn’t gotten our Bachelor’s Degree in stupid things like Puppetry or Public Education, we’d be perfectly employable. Fair enough, and that would have been some stellar advice back when we were all riding the dream pony to A-for-Effortville back in the day.
I didn’t really follow my dreams. I followed a boy to art school which is almost the same thing only way dumber. If I ever meet someone thinking of following a boy to art school, I will tell them how stupid they’re being because I owe it to past me.
I will be the first to admit that I didn’t make a wise choice when thinking of my future career. I started out in Fashion Design and then switched my major when I had my daughter, entering the very in-demand and high paying field of Art History. Yes, I love history. No, I shouldn’t have spent money or time on a degree in Art History, and sometime between looking at unpaid internships that required a Master’s Degree and five years of experience to do preservation work on priceless artifacts for free and my fifteenth failed attempt at landing an administrative assistant position, I began to wonder who allowed me to do such a thing.
Well, I did. I’ll own it. I had no direction, no parental pressure, no real guidance beyond “Do what you love, and you’ll never be bored!” It honestly never occurred to me that I would totally end up bored anyway because unemployment isn’t exactly thrilling.
So that’s why I will offer my kid what I didn’t have: a voice of reason and a modicum of common sense.