I don’t really remember my first decade.
From zero to 10, a lot happens. We learn to walk and talk and go to the bathroom. Hopefully, we learn some of the basics of being a human:
If we could follow this everyday, all day, what a better world we would be in.
Your next decade – double digits. 10 – 20. Big years. Developing an identity outside of your family, going to school, learning to drive, maybe moving out of your parent’s house, working a bit, more school, romantic relationships. I actually found an old journal circa 2003 with a life plan in it. I should be finished law school, married with a child and well into my political career by now.
Because, just like that, myself and the other 1985 babies are 30.
What a weird bunch of 30 year olds we are. Some own houses and have babies and husbands/wives. Some own nothing. Some have careers, some are still finding themselves. We are the millennials, you know, and people that are not millennials (born in the early1980’s – early 2000’s) like to talk about us a bunch. Actually, I think millennials like to talk about themselves just as much. I love talking about myself.
Despite turning 30, I’m still planning on celebrating in a big way. A 30th birthday is enough of a milestone that regular excuses to miss an obnoxious birthday don’t apply. It’s already come up. One of my best friend’s husband’s agreed to forego their camping trip after he found out it was actually going to be my 30th birthday. The conversation was “It’s not like it’s her 30th birthday” … “Actually, dear, it is”.
Back to the last decade. The decade I am leaving behind – 2005 – 2015.
What do you have to show for it?
Well – my parents at 30 had bought and sold a home and bought another home, had two kids and were married. They went to Singapore (even though they had no business travelling and spending all that money ! (their words)). I remember when my parents turned 30 because I was 5 and my brother and I spent 2 weeks with my grandparents. I wasn’t allowed to talk on the phone with my mom because we would both cry and it would take my grandma some time to get me calmed down again.
In comparison – I’ve been to Singapore twice. I’ve been to lots of places, actually. I am living on my own for the first time minus roommates. I have less debt than my parents, but also less house (or car) (by which I mean I own neither). I have two degrees – but I’m making less than my dad did with a two year diploma. No babies, no kids. I do have a job. I have vague plans to buy an apartment sometime in the next 5 – 10 years (although I’m not entirely sure how). I also have vague plans to maybe buy a car. I think the highest priority now would be to decide whether or not to continue living in Vancouver, and, if staying, acquiring a place that would allow me a dog.
I’m not going to complain about how shitty the world is for me because of the baby boomers. The men and women that came before us brought the millennials as a generation a lot of good things. Things like how I can work at any job I want ( it might still pay me less than a man – but I’m allowed out of the house) how there is less pressure to be a mom and a wife and more support to do whatever it is that I am doing. I’m reading a book called Gumboot Girls about women that moved to northern BC in the 70’s to literally live off the land. It was women that did those things 40 years ago that gave myself and my buddies the breathing room to travel, go to school and authentically live our lives. Because of these boomers we discriminate against difference less. We talk about our feelings more. The internet ! Millennials changed the internet, but we did not invent it. I’m not going to call the Boomers the greatest generation, but I think it is important to also give credit where credit is due.
Many of these boomers supported their kids financially, emotionally and physically and are still supporting their “kids” well into their 20’s and 30’s. I had to borrow my parents car just last weekend (and my dad texted my uncle to make sure I got there ok). I love this. I try to support my parents too, although the ways and means i can offer support are different than what they may have done at 30. I can’t really write a check or pick up the tab for expensive dinners – but I can hang out with them, listen, and say thank you. I can be present. I can acknowledge how important our relationship as a family is.
I think we are richer, even though I’m probably poorer in a physical sense.
That is how I will describe the last decade. The expectations you have for yourself at the start of your 20’s – career, family, stuff are so much different than what you end up with, or even want, by the time your 20’s are over.
And you can understand what the hell Bob Dylan was saying when he said – I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.