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October 19, 2010

More and more have I been hearing my generation being called the “boomerang” generation, implying that we get tossed out into the world only to come running right back to the ease and comfort of mom and dad’s home.  We’ve managed to do what is expected and graduate from university.  The problem is, many of us are expected to use our nearly useless degrees to find a job that pays us enough money to live off of as well as paying back thousands of dollars in student loans.  This seems like the world vs. us has a pretty unfair advantage.

Robin Marantz Herig from The New York Times recently wrote an article on 20-Somethings that explores what the world is to expect from us.  The question she poses is whether or not we are entitled to keep enjoying our youth, still full of discovery and understanding of self.  Some adults fear that we are just prolonging our time of self-indulgence, where we manage to skirt by with transient jobs and homes.

Much of this article focuses on the research of one psychologist, Jeffrey Arnett, who made one point that I really connect with:

Young men and women are more self-focused than at any other time of life, less certain about the future and yet also more optimistic, no matter what their economic background.

Self-focused we are, and this stems from our socialization of being a “can-do” generation.  Our parents, teachers, institutions, and other mentor-like entities constantly told us that we are capable of anything.  We just need to follow our dreams and anything can happen!  See, we were brought up in such a relatively content time in America’s history, with decent economic standing, relative international peace, and the advent of technology.

So how can we recover from diminishing job prospects and a dreary economic outlook?

We gotta keep on keepin’ on and do what we do best…keep being optimistic, and in the meantime explore ourselves and our world before we have to solve the problems of our progenitors.

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