In my early twenties, I have felt frustrated about adulthood on more than one occasion. As Millennials, we hate ‘adulting’ since we translate that word to ‘responsibility’ and that’s something we truly dislike. Most of the members of this generation — Generation Z included — hate adulthood. Paying bills, doing taxes, and paying off debt and loans don’t sound like things that make up a paradise. In fact, it sounds like misery. To some extent, we all are annoyed by those things, but we know we have to do them in order to keep the roof over our heads. So in order to stay alive, we adult. Whether we like it, we have no choice. After all, the emphasis on having ‘things together’ is loud and clear.
Every time I talk to my adult family or friends, all they talk about is making money and not paying off debt.
Typically, they talk about stocks — specifically the latest investing app, buying cryptocurrency, day trading, and of course general investments. I believe that those conversations are indeed important; they just aren’t the kind of conversations that drive passion and purpose. Even when we do talk about our purpose and personal growth, we marvel and are inspired by the traditional American rag to riches stories. Nevermind that these cases are rare and not everyone is going to reach that level of success. Let’s take a look at an example: Imagine some no-name bullied kid defying all odds and becoming a widely successful entrepreneur. Hardly ever do we talk about the middle of their journey. The feeling of being stuck. The crossroads. And all the times they wanted to quit right after they decided to follow this less-traveled path. Rarely do they openly express frustrations during turbulence. How hard the journey was is something we don’t touch upon. All we get is the beginning and the end. And that’s not the reality.
In our society, as an adult, we are so focused on the outcome and the beginning that we skip the meat! Isn’t that what makes the sandwich though? Why are we skipping over the trials and tribulations in the middle of the story? After all, the thicket is where the story builds and the obstacles happen.
Where is the room for transparency? For that needed space? We don’t talk about how difficult or how long it takes to reach that type of mindset, the one that allows us to grow. In fact, more of us than we think are faking it. I know I haven’t reached the pinnacle of success (success as I define it for myself), but I am at a midpoint — where things can go either way. The crazy thing is when I express my frustrations with the journey or when I try to communicate complex feelings of frustrations and confusion, I’m met with a brick wall.
Nobody likes to discuss that level of discomfort.
Besides, as adults, we’re not very good at offering the space to express that frustration. Nobody cares about the tough times or the journey itself… they only care about the wins and outcomes. The most fascinating thing is that everyone — and I mean everyone — has these feelings at some point or another. Everyone reaches that point where they want to give up and stop trying, but they’re scared to tell anyone. These uncomfortable truths and the middle of the journey are not courageous. These truths, though annoying and slightly self-loathing, perhaps even shameful and regretful, are real and shape our journey in adulthood. However, instead of openly discussing these feelings, We wait to share them when we or if we become widely successful. And I believe that is a disservice. Waiting until you make it to discuss the pain helps no one. And when someone does voice their struggles during frustrating moments, they are seen as ‘complainers’ or someone who isn’t ‘ready’ to reach true success. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Honestly, we don’t know how long someone has been in the thicket. As an adult who is in the middle point of my life, I know I might be here for a while. But I’m not going to lie about how my life’s journey is truly going. I refuse not to rant and ask questions, no matter how ‘unadult’ it makes me look. If Millennials say they’re all about pushing the edge and changing the status quo, why can’t we have a conversation about frustration without being judged? I think it’s time to change that.