My generation, the Millennials, has been coined the Strawberry Generation for a lack of resolve and our tendency to bruise easily because we grew up in privilege. I won’t deny it — my generation has not seen much hardship or strife, and we have lived in relative comfort. We were given anything and everything our parents could afford to give us, so we never really had to work for what we wanted.
So what does the future mean to my generation, the ones who grew up with First World comforts? The future does belong to us. Doesn’t it?
The general consensus among my friends and I is that we’re scared out of our minds. Most of us have just graduated or in the middle of getting degrees. In short, we’re just one step away from the “real world”.
For most of us, it’s the first time we’ve had to properly think about our future. Unlike our parents and their parents before them, we’ve never had any major external factors, finances for one, to push us to work for or even set a goal. There are definitely pressures, from our parents and school, to pursue a degree, but most of us are blindly working towards a higher education with no ambition in mind.
At the same time, the Internet and social media boom has opened up a lot of doors. It’s not unusual to say you’re a Social Media Executive or an Influencer anymore. People have even carved out a career making six-second videos on Vine. We’re lucky to have so many options presented to us and so many different and new paths to pick. With choices come decisions: How do we choose when opportunities are so boundless it leaves us stumped?
And of course, there are financial worries. I’ve just started paying my own bills and the hefty cost of living is definitely clear to me now. Sure, there are many avenues to make money, but the worry is how many of these new-fangled opportunities can actually support the life we want, be it luxurious or simple.
Myself, I’ve dreamt of being a singer, a blogger, a baker and even a stand-up comedian. I want to post covers on YouTube in the hope that a producer will chance on me and sign me on, à la Boyce Avenue or Jayesslee. All pipe dreams, I know. I've never made the effort to work towards those goals.
No surprise then, that for the longest time after graduation, I was lost. I was torn between this future I'd dreamed up in my head and the need for the stable job my mother had always told me about. She suggested I become a teacher, an “iron rice bowl” position. But I was frightened of the responsibilities that joining the workforce would bring — I was scared of adulthood. (Cue dramatic horror movie soundtrack.)
After a while, I got sick of my internal conflict and started to move toward something for a change. I figured the best way to get a taste of the real world was an internship — that’s how I ended up with a three-month internship at ELLE…and subsequently a position as a digital writer.
Will the future end up in ruins in the hands of Strawberries like me? I believe it won’t, because eventually we'll stop hiding behind our computer screens and our parents, and start doing something for a change.
My advice from what I've learnt so far? Stay humble and most importantly, be eager to learn. If the future is ours, we might as well start learning how to make sure it’ll be a good one, no?