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July 4, 2023

Where I come from, and the generation that I was born into, there were very clear guidelines as to what you needed to do in life to be a fully functioning citizen.

This is what it was:

  1. Get educated
  2. Get a partner/get married
  3. Travel the world
  4. Come home
  5. Buy a house
  6. Build your career
  7. Start a family

That pretty much covered it, and about 80% of my generation did do exactly as was expected. Maybe in slightly different orders but ultimately No. 7 was the goal. Start having children, and if it is ranked at No. 7, you won’t feel restless.

There was a very good reason for these 7 steps. Generally, they happened in the 20s to early 30s, and certainly by early 30s babies were on the way. The main reason for these 7 benchmarks was because this is how you continue to build your life as a contributing citizen to society, basically ultimately having 2.3 children, just to keep the population going. It was healthy, made good financial sense, and ultimately was defined as the route of all happiness.

Well, though most people did do this, a handful of others just couldn’t. They may have got to No. 1, skipped No. 2, jumped to No. 3 and just never came home….

Well that was me anyway….though I did end up doing No. 2 much later….everything in a different order.

Nowadays people seem to get to No. 1, and somehow can’t seem to start into any of the others, except perhaps No. 6….just because they have to have something to do. So why is it that today more and more people are not following the ‘correct’ route? Are just not doing what is expected of them?

There are many schools of thought, but one of the main answers is, simply because they can!

Women don’t need to be married to be a valued member of society, plus women can get educated and have their own financial freedom without relying on a man’s income. Men don’t have to commit to anyone as dating is now so accessible and fun online, no need to ever get serious, and men can know that their income can be used for whatever they want, not squandered on a needy woman who may only be after their money. But ultimately, more than anything else, in the past if you weren’t married by 30, society thought there must be something wrong with you, but now it’s very sociably acceptable to simply do whatever you like.

Our paths today are more empty of expectations, and more full of bigger dreams and motivations. This can mean that people can truly pursue their ultimate nature, and if you are someone who wants to change the world, now you can…you have no constraints anymore. You can make a difference!

Back in the day, the only way most people made a difference was by having a child. Today it’s more about doing something bigger. But isn’t having a child a big thing too? Some (particularly women) may well see being a mother as more of a thankless task, whereas if they get educated as a Surgeon, they can do that voluntary work in Africa and help save millions from malaria!

I think the data needs to be reviewed however. As how many young people today really are changing the world? As opposed to how many are actually sitting at home playing games on their phone while they are waiting for their tinder date to reply to their message?

I definitely grew up in a world of expectations. I didn’t follow them, not because I wanted to be different, but because I was different. Who I was, I wasn’t sure, I just knew I wasn’t ‘that’, and whatever I was, had a very strong drive that I couldn’t stop.  At that time, it was painful to see others doing things that seemed to make perfect sense, but didn’t make any sense to me. Thankfully I grew into myself and found a path that was purely mine, and the best thing about it was that I found a number of others also, just like me, moving through life beating to a different drum. Together we collectively built our own worlds…different from the mainstream and enriched with the worlds we were exploring.

The others back home did just as they were told and what was the funniest thing of all was that, even though they did all that was expected of them, those ‘things’ that were so socially acceptable never shielded them from the slings and arrows of life and it’s problems.

Perhaps today young people say that they don’t follow the expectations of their parents, not because they are different, but because they can now see with their own eyes that doing what you want and doing what you are told offers no different final outcomes.

So, may as well be yourself.

(However… let’s not let the population decline! – but that’s another post another day!)

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