“Happiness comes from living as you need to. As you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.” –Shonda Rhimes
What good is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul?
We live in an age different to that of our predecessors, obviously. In this context- and many others, actually- the main difference is what gets us out of bed in the morning. We’ve heard many-a-time how parents go through certain things so that their descendants don’t have to. ”Generation X” (early- mid 1960s to early 1980s), unlike “Generation Y” (early 1980s to early 2000s) seemed mainly motivated by making a living, they needed to make enough money to feed their families and send their children to school so that they could have it better than they themselves did. This already suggests that even with that mentality, they knew there was more to life; it just seemed unattainable at that time, so they passed the baton on to their children in the form of the gift and privilege that is education. This gift isn’t only school bound, or at least it shouldn’t be. It comes with an open mind, a mind hungry for more… So naturally, Gen Y wants more than a pay check. We’re after purpose (see “Four Ways to Discovering Your Purpose” blog) . Fulfillment. We want our names and presence to carry weight. We know the difference between existing and living and we’re all after the latter.
Our dear Gen X seniors, along with the many injustices of our time can make this a little difficult. More often than not, we end up choosing between a 9-5 and our passions or what we think could be our purpose, the scale tends to tip in the direction of the former. But does it really have to be either or?
Being a “responsible adult” doesn’t mean forgetting your dreams and doing what is expected of you. In fact, I am of the opinion that the responsible adult thing to do is the exact opposite, to accept the gift given to you by Gen X, and show Gen Z and Gen Alpha that you don’t have to let your dreams go in the name of success. In her book, Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes speaks on how living in her own world as a child resulted in her ability to create the incredible stories that so many people enjoy today. She stresses in one of the chapters though that gift and desire are’t enough. Knowing and acting on this is what being responsible means:
”Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do no come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change” –Shonda Rhimes
And that, ladies and gentlemen is how you pay it forward. The hard work. The X’s made sure we could get an education and broader perspectives, opening us up to more, to the void of purpose. The Y’s take the baton and run with it by doing the work; breaking glass ceilings, digging up foundations, kicking down locked doors. The Z’s are going to have to walk in play their own parts for the Alphas and so on. We’re all building, we’re all laying a brick.
First, though, the Z’s need to see the Y’s doing it. Sometimes it means diving head first into a world you know and love but have no actual experience in. If you are given the opportunity, faith it ‘til you make it; while working at it of course (see “Formal Education Will Make You a Living…” blog). Do it with excellence. The authentic you deserves to be presented excellently. Your children deserve to see you happy, they deserve to know that they too can be happy and live a life more abundant and fulfilling than yours, because you did.
So do it, and have fun while you’re at it. Live. For you… and for the Z’s.
Quality Growth International.