not-so-roaring late 20's

From reading the blogs of other folks my age, it seems there is an overwhelming number of people out there who are lost, sad and generally not satisfied with their lives. Even though fourty is supposed to be "the new thirty", we all know we've been around a while already and, on the same hand, the clock is ticking.

Most of us have a degree (or two) and about 5-7 years work experience which, on paper, usually means reaching senior manager or even director level in a corporation. Many of us, unfortunately, have not. Still toiling away as individual contributors, or worse, sitting on our asses unemployed. Office Space and Dilbert are frighteningly realistic reflections of our lives. To add to the pain, many of us missed the economic boom, only to catch the bust and watch thousands of dollars in stocks and options slip through our fingers. Bad bad timing.

And as we approach the big 3-0 and watch as friend after friend gets engaged and then married, it's hard not to hear our clocks ticking louder, reminding us that now is the time to find a mate and settle. But those plans are hard to firm up when the rest of your life is an emotional and financial mess as are your career plans.

This all makes me wonder if we're pioneers in this lifestyle. For the generations before us, life was a little more scripted. The men got a lifelong job at XYZ corporation working 9-5, the ladies stayed home and took care of the kids, upon retirement they'd collect their pensions and move to Florida. OK so it was a little tougher for those of us with immigrant parents, that is for damn sure. But still, they somehow had this collective optimism that people of my generation just don't seem to have. Maybe it's because we've learned that there's no such thing as "the American Dream", we seen too many instances of hard work going unrewarded or even punished, and we just don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are the jaded generation.


Mr. Syndromes said...

You have managed to sum up my entire life perspective at the moment in this entry.

Impressive, though i'm not sure if I should feel happy or sad that other people may be as jacked up as I am ;)

Ben said...

Well put.

I should note that we are also a generation of spoiled brats. Our immigrant parents (if applicable) has the survival skills and determination to build their lives in North America from scratch. They toiled and created a foundation from which to raise their kids ... into the spoiled North American lifestyle of Nintendo and luxurious conveniences taken for granted. And as such, our upbringings (mostly) killed our sense of hardwork, dedication, and rid us of that same societal survival instinct that gave our parents their success. A genetic trait deftly (though unintentionally) cut off.

And then we complain that life has dealt us a raw deal. We have disjointed cards that make no good hands, and we don't have the aces of determination up our sleeves that would have saved us so. We don't even have the good sense to realize that it's still in our own hands to produce something from those cards. Instead, we complain and whine, and find excuses to make ourselves feel better. Here's the one we've all heard and used: "This economy sucks."

As if our adverse environments -- the ones that our parents fought and prevailed against -- have removed the responsibility for our own success. We all know I'm guilty of it -- heck, you're reading it right now.

Ack, I was going to blog about this, but it will just have to stay as a comment for now ... until Van changes her feedback system and wipes it out. :-)

Anonymous said...

i can't wait to turn 30. i haven't really enjoyed my late 20's at all. probably b/c i hated law school. 30 will be a new start. i've always enjoyed my work, even when i was getting paid pseudo-third world wages in taiwan (seriously, $12k a year?). you can probably guess though, that despite law school, i'm not planning on being an attorney right away. that would probably just extend the misery of law school.

jenn said...

I think I feel exactly the same way...
I'm really happy with everything in my life, the way things are going/headed but its seems like everything is running 5 years too late...I need to add another 5 years to my life before I turn 30...