How much of who we are is a reflection of circumstance versus a reflection of our own freedom of thought, expression and power of will? Could two millennials from two very different walks of life be very much the same?
I am a 35 year old male who grew up at the helm of one of the most Conservative states of all of the USA. Vee is a 30 year old female who grew up in one of the most progressive cities in the world. I enrolled in the Marines after high school. Vee enrolled in University after high school. I’m married with children. Vee has yet to have any desires to marry and start a family. I work works for the police. Vee’s unemployed. It’s true, on first appearance, we’re very different people.
We’re very different on paper, that’s for sure. But we’re also very similar in a lot of ways. We’re both very much aligned in our desires for equality, how to treat people and how we wish to be treated. We both studied the same subject in school and understand the importance of good communication in all aspects of life. We both have sincere appreciation for travel, for culture, for people being able to be their authentic and true selves. In a lot of was, we’re two peas in a pod.
What do you think? Are we a product of circumstance, or is there something more to who we grow up to become? Vee and I are sharing some discussions had. So, without further ado, these millennials come to you with its noisiest authorities insisting on it being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
The other half of the interview can be found on Vee’s Blog Millennial Life Crisis
What were your parents’ expectations of you growing up and how did their expectations differ from your own, if at all?
Josh: Growing up in the 90s, I felt a lot of pressure from my parents to play sports and be successful at sports rather than school. I played football and wrestled in high school. I was awful at baseball and basketball, which looking back, I get the sense my Dad wanted me to be better at. I enjoyed both sports, I just wasn’t any good. I was a pretty good wrestler, it came naturally to me, but I never felt encouraged by my parents to do it.
I grew up in awe of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The Braves and Yankees were seemingly on top of the baseball world. I felt a lot of pressure to be good at basketball growing up. I also grew up in Kentucky and basketball is really big there.
My expectations… I kind of just did me. I liked wrestling and football, as I mentioned. I was a big reader, I wanted to move out ASAP and explore the world. The experience was more important to me than success and still is.
Vee: My parents are very old-school and conservative in nature. Being their only daughter, they raised me to cook and clean and ‘look after the home’ because they were preparing me to be a housewife. Their expectation of me was that I would marry young, have a buttload of kids, much like they did, and that I would spend my life raising those kids to be happy, healthy well-rounded members of society and keep my husband happy in the mean-time.
Honestly, I never really saw that as a plan for my life. My expectations for myself was that I get my education, I land a job where I would work my way to the top, then break apart from the business to start my own. The fact that I’m not married and that I don’t have children at 30, it really bothers them.
Are you happy with your life?
Josh: I feel content with it. I have lots of joyful moments and a lot to be thankful for. I’m excited about the direction my life is heading. I’m married and my marriage has its good and bad moments, but ultimately I’m pretty happy with my marriage.
I’ve got two kids and they really give me a lot of joy. It can be so hard at times with kids, but the good moments are so good.
Vee: Right now, I cannot say that I am. There are some very good things in my life, and I am not undervaluing those in any way. In a lot of means, I am very blessed. But, I am not happy. I think an important to note that you can be appreciative for what you have and still be unhappy.
What are your goals for the next 5, 10 and 15 years? (Lululemon says that if you write them down, they’re more likely to come true)
Josh: LuLulemon gives some good advice. In five years’ time, I hope to have finished graduate school, have a master’s degree in communications and working in the advertising industry full-time as a copy-writer. In ten years I want to be a creative director at an advertising agency, maybe have my own firm and partners. My kids will be in college (Yes!). I’d like to have saved a sufficient amount of money to help them out. Having my student loans paid off maybe a ten-year goal for me, I’ve got a lot of student debt and grad school will hurt, but it’s a goal I’ve set for myself.
15 years from now, I’m hoping to be approaching retirement. I’ll be 50. I don’t expect to retire at 50, but it would be nice to have it within sight. That might sound little nuts, but I want to buy a sailboat and sail around the world.
Vee: Accelerate my career.
Build a life with someone.
Travel to at least 100 different countries.
Write a book.
Start my own business.
Do you feel like there is a framework you have to find love within? Do you ever apologize for the people you date or love?
Josh: I feel pressure to love the typical girl, date for the typical time period, purpose on one knee and have a proper engagement. My wife and I did none of this and we’ve made a fantastic love story. It’s not perfect, but I wouldn’t change any of it. I love her and she’s who I want to be buried next to. I felt shame for not waiting for marriage before we moved in together. She got pregnant before marriage and my proposal was a mess. But it’s worked out and we’re happy.
Vee: There is no stipulations on love for me. My parents pretty much stay out of my life where love is concerned. I think they realized many years ago that I wasn’t going to get married and have a boatload of kids like they wanted, so they’re just trying to stay out of it and see where love leads me.
I’ve never apologized for anyone that I’ve dated. Not to myself or to anyone else. I’m a firm believer every person teaches us something about ourselves. Every boyfriend played a role in shaping me into who I am today.
What do I feel inclined to apologize and make excuses at family gatherings?
Josh: I feel awkward a lot at family gathering–like the large ones. Everyone either has a mental image of you, or you have one of them. I hate social media, I have aunts and uncles tell me they see my kids and on there and know how good they are doing. Well duh, we don’t post the videos of them fighting on there. Everyone feels like everyone is perfect from social media until you get close. I think it’s a generational issue. It’s different then what I remember growing up with.
Vee: I don’t really want to admit to this but I apologize for my family’s racism a lot. I’m really not proud to admit that, but it’s the truth. I have a lot of family members – aunts, uncles, cousins, etc… who are verbally racist. None of them are violent, they would never beat anyone up or something, but the point is, their words do hurt and their words are really uncalled for.
What does success look like according to the people around you? (Parent etc.?)
Josh: Yes and no. I used to think I should make at least as much as my parents, but now, years later I don’t care. My family was pretty middle class. My Dad worked on the assembly line making cars at Ford and my mom was an interior designer. I don’t know why I felt this way, it really doesn’t bother me anymore. I want to give my kids a good life, but I feel like I can do that with less money or more, it’s just about how I spend and save it.
Vee: My parents wish that I were married with at least five children at this point. I don’t think they’ll ever let go of that desire for me.
When it comes to my friends, I find myself very lucky in the sense that, I really just think they want me to be happy. Whatever that turns out to be, I know they’ll support me. I also think that’s true of my brother’s as well. They may step in if I try to do something not in my best interest, but so long as I am happy, I think they’ll be happy for me.