When I read about a rise in the number of youths struggling with stress, anxiety and depression, I cannot begin to fathom why this is a reality. What can we do to change that?
I recently came across a simple equation that gave a distinct explanation. Happiness = Reality - Expectations
The problem is, Generation-Y has skewed and unrealistic expectations. We are day dreaming about realities that existed in previous generations instead of focusing in on the cold, hard truths of the world today.
As a result, our stress levels are high and our happiness is always in the negative. However, if we begin accepting the following realities, we can increase our chances for success and happiness.
1. We will not get our dream jobs right out of college.
People who say "do what you love and you will never work a day in your life" are usually old.
I guarantee they all spent those first few years slaving over mindless, mundane work or twiddling their thumbs at their desks.
Nevertheless, they stuck to it and with time, they found more exciting tasks.
Eventually, yes, their jobs became their passions, but not overnight by any means. In order to be happier, we need to expect realistic career goals (and salaries).
2. We will not be financially stable until age 30.
When the job market doesn't provide what we are looking to do, many of us consider a bachelor's degree as the bare minimum and opt to go back to school for further enhancement.
The fact remains, with or without an education, we will not be financially independent at the same age as our parents were.
With threatening student loans, we are not able to sacrifice and save the way our parents could, especially since basic luxuries are our necessities (ahem, try living a day without a data plan).
The earlier we admit to this situation, the better.
Besides, we tend to have a “live in the moment” type attitude and prefer world travel to taking money to the grave, like our ancestors did.
3. We will not accept anything without questions.
Our questioning behaviors are a form of self-implicated stress, but still, the truth of our generation. Whether it be religion, the environment or politics, anticipate a full debate.
We do not accept anything just because some authoritative figure said so.
We like structure and detailed reasoning for everything. We grew up in environments where our opinions mattered and decisions were made collectively, as families.
We do not aim to be disrespectful or rude, it is just a reality everyone around us needs to recognize about us.
4. We will not be able to love freely.
Developing and maintaining a relationship is much harder for us, since we bring along so much baggage from our pasts.
Love is not just about attraction and companionship anymore; it is valued as something almost unattainable.
We are still discovering the meaning of loyalty, dedication and the spooky unspoken word: forever.
Also, we are all driven by pessimistic statistics and assume divorces are the norm.
Yet, if we acknowledge that our generation just needs a little bit more time to believe in love, we can start leaving those stressful extended family conversations behind.
5. We will not have the same definitions for success.
For past generations, the picture perfect dream included a home in the suburb, white picket fence, kids, a golden retriever and maybe a Benz in the driveway.
That’s cute, but honestly, who’s got time for grass cutting and snow cleaning these days?
Also, if we will be financially stable by 30, odds are, we will only get married after the age of 30.
Thus, the probability of parenthood plunges. Adoption is definitely a great route for which I would advocate, but again, some couples just don’t want to have kids and that is okay.
Owning a penthouse downtown and being able to subway to work might be your definition of success. The sooner we break stereotypical definitions of success, the happier we will be.