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Adulting as a Millennial: A hard look at why navigating life is so tough

By Asha Tarry

There’s so much discussion about millennials these days and much of it is unfavourable.

Part of their notoriety stems from the fact that this group has now reached adulthood and accounts for much of our population. With birth years spanning from the early 1980s to around 2000, this generation has left the nest and is navigating adulthood.

You’ve heard the complaints and the criticisms – they’re weak, lazy, unmotivated, quitters. But have you stopped to look at the real issue surrounding these generalised labels? Complaining about an entire generation of people is easy. So, let’s do the hard work. Let’s try to understand why we see this group in such a negative light, and then, offer some solutions.

Adulting As A Millennial: A Guide to Everything Your Parents Didn’t Teach You is a book dedicated to understanding Generation Y, and how sitting in the middle of Gen X and Gen Z has affected its maturation. It also attempts to explain why this group has received the most biting criticisms of any other generation.

Gen Y lacked structure

As the book explains, no one can pinpoint any one factor that created the stereotype. Millennials are a product of their times. They grew up in an age when the family dynamic was changing. Many grew up in single-parent homes where Mom or Dad had to work, and they were left to fend for themselves. This is not a criticism; this is a factual characteristic of the era.

Left to their own devices after school and occasionally on weekends, the Gen Y group lacked the structure prior generations grew up knowing. We can now surmise that this structure and pattern of routines shielded earlier generations from the hurtful labels we give millennials.

As children, Gen X had more opportunities to engage in activities at school, church, or community organizations. Their families were home more often. Getting the kids to activities that occupied their minds and provided a physical outlet was the norm. In contrast, Generation Y – as a generalised group – missed out on this crucial engagement. Consequently, a generation of young adults who do not value commitment was born.

A generation labelled as “quitters”

My book points out that one of the staunchest criticisms of millennials is their lack of commitment. Through no fault of their own, they grew up in a time when the “practice makes perfect” motto was not enforced.

Because they had fewer opportunities to engage in competitive and self-fulfilling activities, they have grown to be a generation that seems to flounder about from one thing to another without real investment or passion. This situation pertains to work, relationships, and all aspects of their lives.

Not laying blame

This lack of commitment can be seen in many areas of life. Mostly, it means starting something they don’t finish: a marriage, a project, a job, a promise – anything. This inability to finish when the task gets difficult stems back to never having been in an environment that promoted and revered commitment.

It’s important to note that we are all products of our environment, and none of us can control the effects this factor has on our lives. The parents of Gen Y adults are also not to blame. They, too, were products of changing times. Unfortunately, they lacked sufficient support for their altered family dynamic because there were no resources and no activities for their latch-key children. As with all other past generations, we can now look back and put together some of these pieces that point to why millennials are struggling to manoeuvre within adult life.

Offering solutions

So how do millennials get unstuck? Can they learn to shed their negative perception and be happy and prosperous in their lives? The answer to the latter is, yes! However, they will have to muster up some commitment to get started, and then there are a few measures they can take to get out on that road to happiness and success.

First of all, anyone needing guidance, not just millennials, should find a mentor. The problem is this: sometimes, you don’t know where to get the things you need. However, mentors who have experience in these areas can provide answers and become friends, assistants, and teachers. They will be your biggest champion and your harshest critic when you need it.

Find a Linkedin mentor

Where can you find a mentor, you might ask? It depends on your most pressing need. If you are struggling in your career or struggling even to find a career, a wealth of resources can be found on LinkedIn. This professional social media outlet profiles people succeeding in the jobs millennials want and possessing the skills millennials need. A mentor found on LinkedIn can be a valuable resource for gaining the tools you need to land the job you want.

If your most prominent area of struggle is in your relationships, you need to seek a life coach or maybe someone who can serve as a mentor. What many people do not realise is admitting you need help is not a sign of weakness. It is the first step of strength it takes to pursue your goals.

Closing with positive thoughts

Now that millennials are adults, we can see the trends and patterns that formed their stereotypes. Growing up in an age devoid of commitment and where quitting was the norm is now showing its wake of devastation. As with all people of all generations, seeking a mentor to learn how to navigate life is a positive step. And finally, understanding and finding solutions for this vulnerable generation goes a lot farther than continuing to perpetuate the stereotype. Through understanding and mentorship, millennial adults can successfully move on from being known as the generation of “quitters.”

Asha Tarry is a US-based author, award-winning community mental health advocate, psychotherapist, and certified life coach. Tarry is the founder of Behavioral Health Consulting Services LMSW, PLLC which provides consulting, counselling and coaching to creatives and small business owners in the wellness and entertainment industries and educational sector.

Visit Life Coach Asha for more information.

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