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1. The Power of Passion
Ever asked your Millennial, “Why don’t you just get a solid 9–5 with health care and a 401K? Ever thought about working for the state? They have great benefits.”
Why, yes. Yes, I have. I have thought about what $80K/year would look like in my bank account. I have thought about the fact that my sole health care provider is the Urgent Care situated between an AutoZone and Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combination.
But, I have also thought about the ache I feel when I consider giving myself to a job I’m indifferent about, rather than exploring the passions I have. I have thought about how exhausting that might be, to the point where I’d rather pour myself a glass or three of wine than make time for what I love at the end of the day. I have thought about the toll it takes on your mind and body each day you sit in standstill traffic trying not to scream. I have thought about how conceding on your dreams isn’t a cognizant decision, but rather a slow process only visible in hindsight.
I have thought about these things. Because I’ve done them.
That’s why I choose to pursue my ridiculous passions while I am 25, because that sounds a hell of a lot better than hitting my 50th birthday, thinking: “This is the year I’ll do it!”
2. Respect the side hustle.
You know what else? Millennials are pretty damn good at making it work. We aren’t all eating avocado toast and $12 juices for lunch every day. On the contrary, most Millennials I know are driving Lyft after work, waiting tables on their Saturday, or writing for Vocal during their lunch break. Just because we are swapping cubicles for BOSU balls doesn’t mean we don’t #GSD and make that cheddar. We just go about it in a different way.
3. Money is for experiences, not mortgages.
Which brings me to the last point: What are we spending that cheddar on? A down-payment on a home in a safe neighborhood with a reputable school district? Hah. You wish, don’t you?
No, we are blowing cash on student loans, dancing lessons, a beekeeping class, or that new editing software that will take our YouTube channel to the next level. We are the generation of idealists. The ones who unapologetically cling to our dreams, spending our money on the tools and experiences that bring us closer to them. No matter how slim the chances are. And to us, we’d much rather dream big from our shoebox apartment than watch others live out our dreams from the 72" in our Pottery Barn living room.
You will think of us as irrational, irresponsible, and reckless. You'll pray we cash in our passion for improv for a longterm relationship and stable career. You will worry about whether or not our cell phone bill is getting paid on time. You will ache when the Birthday check you mailed last year is still not cashed. You will want to call us. You're genuinely worried about our safety, after all, but your hand will waver over the phone. You don't want to bother us. We are adults now. We have a life. You'll think you need to let it go.
But you should call us. After all, you're the one who taught us to dream big. You're the reason why we have the confidence to take risks. You packed our lunches with little notes saying "You can do this!" or "Today is your day. Make things happen!" You consoled us when we failed and insisted we keep trying. You're the reason we are unable to give up. So, please. Call us. Ask about our lives, ask about our struggles and successes. Learn about our passions. But please, don't ask us to "just get a real job."