I am totally enthralled by the online conversation happening in reaction to HuffPo’s article titled “Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy” with this simple equation: Happiness = Reality – Expectations.
There is also a great conversation happening in response to this (explicit) Gen X/Y-er’s rebuttal to the HuffPo article.
Both articles contain a lot of generation/class warfare, which seems … less than helpful. Basically the first article is saying that Gen Y is delusional and entitled, having been told by their Baby Boomer parents that they were special their whole lives, and they are disappointed because: their expectations are higher than reality can support + they are comparing themselves to their peers’ inflated images on Facebook.
I was born in 1979 and am sometimes classified as Gen X and sometimes Gen Y.
My opinion: Reality has tanked and young adults are having to lower/change their expectations. This is not necessarily a bad thing. (Anyone who lived through the Great Depression had to do it too.)
We can no longer expect to get a job that pays a living wage (or a mortgage) in the field we studied in college. We cannot expect to own a home of our own before 40 and/or without debt. We cannot expect to get health insurance, benefits, or a retirement plan from our careers. We cannot expect to keep a job longer than 2 years. We can no longer expect to have clean air to breathe, un-poisoned food to eat, or pure water to drink.
Sure, this sounds awful (and depressing). And I can start feeling really pissed off at older generations who have: filled the oceans with plastic, oil and nuclear waste, poisoned all the water with Roundup, etc. etc. etc. ETC!!! But the HuffPo article author would say that I was blaming others! And it’s kind of true, blaming others, no matter how accurate the judgement, is not solution-producing.
But it’s got me thinking…
What IS the problem? Exponential Growth is Unsustainable.
Then, if you’re really feeling productive, what is the Solution?
Stop Growing Unsustainably.
I think the only way to stop growing unsustainably is to change the target / change the goal. The goal for our parents and grandparents used to be: Make More Money. (There’s a great documentary streaming on Netflix about how plowing and greed for quick money off wheat started the Dust Bowl.) And maybe that’s still the goal for Gen X and Gen Y… But it can’t be anymore. (Unless of course we’re content to go the way of the dinosaurs.) Now it has to be: Live within the Parameters of the Land. Or: Focus on True Happiness. Or what?
But maybe I’m just being Lazy, Delusional and Entitled…. Thinking there’s something more than working at McDonald’s and acquiring massive debt to be a good Consuming American.
Thoughts? What is our new goal, given that exponential growth is no longer possible (and was never a good idea to begin with)?