The Exploration of Unemployment: Weighing Expectations vs. Reality
Okay, I’m gonna get a little serious again here in this installment because I’ve been thinking a lot about what happens when the expectations we had for ourselves and our lives don’t match up to the reality we’re in. I’m at that age (26) where I feel like anything can still be possible. And you know what? It damn well might be. But, I’m also at that age where I need to settle down a little bit and make some money and start putting down roots. That doesn’t mean my roots will stay rooted, they could still be repotted elsewhere in a new city or profession, so to speak. It’s just that it’s time.
But, is it ever time to stop dreaming? I’m still young enough to believe that given enough hard work, effort, chutzpah and belief, I can make my dreams come true. If you would have asked me 10 years ago where I would be when I was 26, my answer wouldn’t be this. It would be so completely different. Even 5 years ago, or a year ago, my answer would be wildly different than the reality I’ve been facing today. My expectations for where I would be at 26 seem so outrageous now I can’t even believe I even thought of them. I know my friends feel the same way I do.
And it’s not just because of my employment situation or financial situation; it’s because none of us really know what we’re getting into. None of us really know how to be adults until we’re treading water in the scary world of bills and car payments and maybe terrible bosses.
I look to college graduation and shake my head at myself – why did I think I had everything all together? Why did I think that graduating college meant I was an adult? Sure, I was 21, grad school was in my future, and so many life experiences awaited me. But I was definitely not an adult.
Anyway, I’m getting off track. What I’ve been meaning to say is, when are we as adults supposed to buck up and debunk a little bit of our expectations? I don’t want to sound as if I’m whining or complaining, because that’s not the case. I think that our generation is one of dreamers. Some people have called us entitled, and maybe we are. But, it’s my belief that our parents and grandparents allowed us to become entitled. We were told to dream of things they never had the chance to because they grew up during the Depression, or the baby boom, the Civil Rights fight and the Cold War. Many of them made promises that their children would be able to do the things they couldn’t, dream for the things they weren’t allowed to dream, reach for what was beyond them.
Here we are now, still dreaming, and having to come to terms with reality. Sometimes it’s harsh, sometimes it’s not. But, it is definitely different. I’m not saying our generation isn’t lazy- some of us are truly lazy. I feel that ours is a generation that is lost. The financial crisis in the country, student loan debt, the over saturation of many job markets, the cost of living, the crazy cost of education, all of these things have made it hard for us to do what we dreamed of doing when we were little being tucked in at night.
Truth is, when this reality hits, we have to suck it up and do what we need to do to make a buck, get the ball rolling, and hopefully get our lives on track. It’s been said by so many that it’s easy to find the job you want once you’ve already got a job you don’t. I hope that’s true for so many of us. I hope that this pounding the pavement, hustling and trying to make things work to make ends meet will all turn out for the better for many of us in this boat. Things have already started turning around from my awful 2012, the sun’s shining a little bit brighter.
But, I’ll never stop dreaming. I’ll never stop thinking that there might be something better out there.
Featured image via shutterstock