For many of you, you know my story. It is one of incredible victory and agonizing defeat. One where every day was a choice. I was met with obstacles throughout my twenties and left me with a few options. I could stay stuck where I was, swallowing with it the bad cards I was dealt, or choose to stick to my beliefs and move forward. On certain days it was grueling. Other days there was ebb and flow, with the grace to navigate life. It was and has never been easy. I graduated from college in the worst economy imaginable. It was 2009. I had great grades, 5 internships under my belt, and a double major. It took me 4 months to get hired on a church staff and 14 months later, I found myself looking for another job. More than anything, my twenties have been full of work, endurance, and brute will.
It has been work. Hard and long work. There have been days where I’ve wanted to stay in bed, moments where I’ve solely wanted to go play, but the drive to pay my bills and stay out of debt won. I had the nomad years and I’ve had the years where I’ve been planted. Whether it was Estonia, Houston, San Diego, Northern Indiana, Kentucky, Northern California, or St. Croix, I’ve found home could be cultivated wherever I was. The grass was always greener somewhere else. I would finally be happy when I had ___________. You complete the blank. More money in the bank account, better food in the fridge, or finally replacing my worn out car. (Still needs to happen. Little Purple, you’ve been with me for 16 years and only have to make it 8 more months.) Life and adventure on the road was sexy. It was alluring. It made for a beautiful feed, delighted, and inspired others. Every time I would return home I would find the same people and it would sound amazing. “Here’s my latest travels, I met these people, and this crazy anecdote happened.” Who doesn’t like talking about adventure or living the life on the open road? When things got difficult, no problem, I could pack up my two 50 lb bags and move on.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a trend in my age group. It is beautiful and terrifying at the same time. There’s a need to escape reality. Somehow ownership and responsibility have become new four-letter words. (I get it, I used to believe buying furniture meant I was settled. I might of cried when I bought a washer and dryer.) More than anything, I look around and it seems people lack basic skills. Simple things like knowing how to do laundry, cooking a meal, buying healthy groceries, or keeping a budget. I’ve watched this and found myself in shock. They could make me a great coffee, are some of the most creative people I’ve met, be great conversationalists in social settings, but yet lacked drive to understand and learn the skills that were necessary for living. Millennials, I’m one of you and am stating this- it’s time for something new. We are the generation that has been given everything, that has the most education, and the most resources available to us. We were raised believing that we could change the world.
What if we did something with it?
More than anything, I want to remind you that a good cup of coffee and putting in hard work is worth it. That the adventure and incredibly beautiful moments can be found in the ordinary just as much as on the road. Sometimes contentment, lasting community, and living in the fullness of who you are can be found behind a desk just as much as living out of a van. Continue to roll out of bed and wear all the beanies, skinny jeans, and grayscale clothes you like. But do it with purpose. Find what you love and develop your craft. Show your work and choose to share it with others without fear. Find the tribe to run with and those who push you, creatively, in your faith, and in your work. Don’t despise the humble beginnings in any field whether it’s art, design, tech, or business. All of us start somewhere. Take your Moleskine of ideas and develop them. Look at your dreams and make something happen. If you find yourself stuck in a situation, validate your heart, and make a plan to become “unstuck.” There’s so much beauty found in living the mundane of life. I found it will bring you the strongest resolve you’ve encountered.
For some of you, you’re a student. Find the fullness of the college experience you came for. Travel, learn, experience the diversity of people you’re surrounded by. Develop your craft and practice the skills you’re learning. Go after your dreams with tenacity. For others of you, this means just going and getting a job. It’s real and you may be super overqualified. Go do it. What you will build in character and integrity when starting at something far below your pay grade will be priceless for you as an individual. If you feel stuck in a nine to five, take pen to paper. Dream about what you really desire to do, where you long to go. Let creativity awaken and burn within you. Make a plan and a few action steps. How can you keep your creative soul thriving, while working behind a desk building someone else’s vision? Develop a bit of side hustle and do the thing you were born for. Don’t know what that is yet? It’s time to figure it out.
Regardless of the season you find yourself in….
To my fellow millennial, it’s time to start something new.