Quarter-Life Something: How Do We Measure Success?

I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about how 40 is the new 30, and that late 20-somethings/early 30-somethings these days have different decisions to make than our parents did: marriage, mortgage, degree, job, etc. All of those decisions were made right out of college, or in their early 20s.

Now, kids are taking five years to graduate, more are going to grad school, most are scared of commitment and in general, no one wants to make their own decisions. Is it that 20-somethings now are lazy? Is it that we take our time to really figure out life, or is that just an excuse to not feel lame about not taking life serious? Does it take longer now to figure out what direction one wants to go in than the allotted time of high school and college (excluding trust fund “adults”)? Does it take all of our 20s to make that decision, and if so, shouldn’t that be taken seriously?

In high school, you were supposed to work hard to figure out where you wanted to go to college. In college, you were supposed to work hard and figure out what you wanted to with your life. After college, you were supposed to work hard and, well, work hard, climb the ladder, move to the metro (you always heard taking the subway was cool) and by the time you’re in your mid-30s,, you will be making six figures, I mean, you have to be – you wrote it down on your goal list after graduation. If everything goes just like people told you (parents, counselors, etc.) it should go, then you should be right on track to an early 40-something suicide.

I think adults – and by that, I mean the late 20- and young 30-somethings I’ve been referring to – are actually smarter than any before. We are not following the mainstream, we are taking our time. And maybe I actually want to be an artist – sorry, Mom and Dad, for the money spent on that marketing degree. I want to go to film school just because. I want to start my own company, I have an idea, and I think it might work. I want to wait tables and not do anything for a few years… is that okay?

I will admit it’s hard not be influenced by the generation. The independent feeling that makes you feel like a sell out, if you sell out. I think we have to be the most creative generation, or is that just media (mostly social) telling me so? With things like Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, social networking, anything new media, the Nick D’Aoisio (Google him, it’s admiring and painful), tumblr blogs about memes getting multiple thousands of hits, all of it makes me think I should be contributing something. What can I do that’s cool? Wait, I don’t want to be cool, I just want to be different. Wait, I don’t want to be different, I just want to shop at American Apparel. Wait…. I just don’t want to work.

If you don’t want a real job, then don’t get one, or just get one and write about how bad it sucks on some blog on some site and someone might read it from some computer. I’ve never written a blog. Oh wait, is this is a blog? So I’ve done it. I’ve done it all from an internet café listening to Frank Ocean and wearing my outfit that makes me feel so anti-hipster (it’s hipster) with my cash crop, the laptop.

Either way, it’s not back to the office for me tomorrow, I’m almost 31 and I’m a little confused, and maybe, just maybe, this blog, this site, will be the first of many, and then maybe my clothing line will get picked up, and then maybe…. well, forget it. I have to be at work early, and the rent doesn’t pay itself. Maybe next time.

Featured image via ShutterStock