My generation has a new addiction. With shiny smart phones, fancy laptops, and all the other technological dreams we could ever need, our instant gratification problem has lent itself to the destination addiction.
A likely scenario in your childhood – When you were a little kid, your parents may have taken you along for a ride. Perhaps it was a cross country road trip or just a cross town visit of family. Whatever it was, you can bet your bottom dollar that either you or someone else in the car asked, “Are we there yet?”
The dreaded road trip question seems to be everywhere these days, despite all the time we spend not trying to be in traffic. Are you at that dream job? Are you at that dream school? Do you have a spouse? Do you have children yet? Are your children headed to college? What jobs have they gotten?
Our cultural milestones are more about the places we have yearn to arrive.
Education & Career
As a kid, all you wanted to do was grow up. You were tired of all the rules, all the responsibilities. You just wanted to let loose. Spend your own cash. Spend your time how you like it, with who you like it.
Often this desire for freedom is met in a college education. College is romanticized in the movies. It’s the place for adventure and exploration. There are new people in a new place, and you can make a new name for yourself.
However, as soon as you arrive and get settled into your new life, you quickly realize you need to figure some things out. Questions about your career plans and post graduation goals are thrust quickly upon you and at regular intervals. You anticipate them at every family gathering, wincing as you tell each family member, “I don’t know,” then slip away to your room for some peace.
College is the perfect time to explore yourself and interests you may not have known you had, but these days, the expectation is that you come prepared to learn a certain thing in a certain timeframe and do that for the rest of your life.
It’s hard to tell the older generation that college should be a time where you survey your options and make a next step based on what fits your goals. This also means that you are anticipating changes and you are holding your plans with open hands.
What if you come in eager to be a biomedical engineer, but take a linguistics class that is very interesting to you?
You should explore every option, one by one, without jumping into something new, but looking to it as an opportunity for more growth and experience.
In terms of your career, we idolize this. Work is where we spend most of the hours of our days. As a student, your time is spent inside classrooms and libraries and dorm rooms. As an employee, your time is spent with your colleagues, in your workspace, in your town or city. Graduates want to be able to land their dream job right off the bat. Scrolling through LinkedIn, contacting alumni from their alma mater, attending networking events. All of these actions are in pursuit of one goal.
A good job is something to be cherished. But I believe it is unreasonable and unhealthy to put all our eggs in one basket. There isn’t this perfect job with the perfect job description that you’ll land on and work for the rest of your life. That story is increasingly rare these days.
Now, we bounce around from job to job. And it’s more likely that we acquire skills as we go along, we learn to learn with our colleagues, and those skills that we’ve developed along with our personality can help us find a job that is a good fit for us. However, we still need to consider workplace environment, salary, benefits, etc. There is so much more that goes into the right job than what we are led to believe.
Love works the same way a career does. Ok, it doesn’t work the exact same way.
What I mean is that relationships, romantic or platonic, need to be worked on. We have to work on our flaws – pride, selfishness, our own comfort, vulnerability, past trauma, trust issues, etc. We don’t fall into the arms of our one true love the spring before we graduate. The whole ring before spring put a lot of emphasis on being at a place that many aren’t ready for yet.
This new generation isn’t ready for marriage at 21 or 22. They are worried about student loans and finding an apartment and making a budget and dealing with roommates.
Our society has turned our attention to where it thinks we should be without having us ever consider how long it takes for us to get there and what it takes for us to get there.
Love requires sacrifice and forgiveness and honesty. Despite what the movies tell us, that’s not just going to happen one day. We have to got to be more loving people.
Many people think that if you’re in love you will never endure any wrongs, and that’s not true. Love is the willingness to endure wrongs and not look back.
There is a difference between being someone who forgives and someone who enables an abuser. If you’re in a healthy relationship, you aren’t being wrong horrendously and repeated without an ounce of remorse for the other person. In a healthy relationship, you understand that your small fight with your partner has no bearing on your affection and commitment for them. There is a big difference.
The destination addiction is real, my friends. If you find yourself looking towards the future, take a deep breath, look around, and be right where your feet are.
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