Taryn digs deep

*WARNING: It’s about to get all Dr. Phil up in here.

I’ll be blunt, working through your feelings is annoying, tedious, frustrating, necessary, healing, and all of that stupid stuff. I get that it’s crucial because it helps you grow and mature as a person. But dangit, it’s hard.

Admittedly, I love/d being numb. It allows me to float through life and not feel. Avoiding things/feelings means that I don’t have to try or put any emotional “skin” in the game. To that end, my subconscious has been dealing with me in that even when I try to “go numb” it has this precarious way of forcing me to confront with what’s going on with me.

I’ll give you an example. My dad puts out daily devotionals of which I edit. I also help edit and format them into books. I don’t mind doing it, especially since what he has to offer is quite beneficial for readers. Today, as I was going through his latest manuscript, I couldn’t help but notice how he phrased the dedication section. Normally he lists my siblings and me chronologically. This time, he grouped it by kid and spouse. While this seems innocuous on its own, the salt in the wound stems from my Dad’s bias towards marriage and family.

I just finished a stint in Vegas visiting my family. It was a great time as I love seeing my family. My brother recently got re-married to a wonderful woman whom I also share a birthday with. I could not be happier for him, especially since she is a great person and her family is pretty awesome too. This new edition to my family has gotten my father to reignite his “marriage and family line” diatribe.

I will wholeheartedly vouch that in terms of parents, I hit the jackpot. I couldn’t ask for more supportive and loving parents. That said, my dad loves his family. So much so that every conversation usually has some lowkey marriage, partnership, and children slant. Seriously, the man does not shut up about the sanctity of marriage and child-rearing. Now, I don’t have a problem with either of the two. But, as of right now, I don’t want either. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know if I will ever want them.

So back to the dedication and my reaction to it. Thanks to my recent sobriety stint and leveling up in self-awareness, I realized why it bothered me. While my dad has always told me he loves me and he’s proud of my accomplishments, it’s no secret as to what he values the most– marriage and grandchildren. I’m 0 for 2 with no signs of changing the score anytime soon.

Even though I’m happy with my choices and am stoked about where I am headed, the Ego in me feels incredibly inadequate and pissed. So much so that I’ve been unconsciously avoiding my dad’s calls.

I mean, I’m kicking butt and taking names. I’m in a position where I can focus on my art, my craft. I have my autonomy and I know how to use it. Why isn’t that enough? Why does it feel like the only goals worth bragging about are getting married and popping out children? It wasn’t until I saw the dedication page that I figured out this was bugging me.

This isn’t my dad’s fault, it’s mine for internalizing this feedback. Admittedly I am quite guilty of putting people’s opinions above my own. I can’t change people’s perspectives or views. I can, however, change how I react to them. I’m learning how to accept my choices and be proud of them. I can’t live my life for others. While part of me wants to go back to living with my head in the sand, I can’t help but admit that I feel better chipping away stuff in my head.

So, that’s it for this post. It’s weird being this transparent, especially to myself, but I suppose I won’t get to where I need to go if I don’t dig deep. On a side note, I will be posting my first podcast episode this week. I didn’t realize how much time I’d need to learn GarageBand. That and I’m being a “precious perfectionist” about the quality. Anyway, stay tuned for an announcement this week!

Are We Waiting to Grow Up?

I’ve been doing some research on an oh so secret project (I’ll explain myself later, promise) and I have been seeing quite a bit of literature out there “explaining” why Millennials “aren’t growing up” or “things Millennials are refusing to do” and I can’t help but feel insulted. The general consensus of older generations is that we’re: lazy, immature, financially irresponsible children who are shirking the necessary responsibilities of life. I could not disagree more. While no generation in its entirety is perfect, I do believe that Gen. Y has a few things stacked against them.

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It’s true that Gen. Y is holding off on major purchases, but with the average student loan debt at the end of 2013 being $29,400, can you blame us? These numbers were not even on the radar of 30 years ago. Most students today are facing 20 years of repaying student debt whereas our Gen. X counterparts only had a fraction of that debt. Of course, one can argue that we “dug ourselves into this hole”, but I can guarantee you it wasn’t a Millennial who sold the “student loans are a good debt to have because a degree is a solid investment” line. We also have to deal with the reality that workforce is stacked against us.

The days of staying with one job for 30 years are dead and gone.  According to Forbes the average worker stays at each of his/her jobs for 4.4 years. If you ask other generations it’s because we don’t want to stick it out, or we want to be the CEO within the first year. The truth is that most millennials are looking for jobs that can help them manage the unbearably high student loans they have to pay back. The average salary for recent 2013 graduates is $45,327. However, when you put that in context with the $29,400 student loan average and cost of living, it’s not an easy feat. So where are the decent paying jobs? They are still with the same people who applied to them decades before.

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Since the average retirement age jumping up from 57 in 1992 to 62 in 2013, Baby Boomers have not been making enough room for younger generations to fill in. This forces, Gen Y to work any job that comes their way to make ends meet. There are as many as 40% of recent graduates are employed in jobs that do not require degrees. Gen X does not understand this hardship because they have the experience and degrees to go after higher paying jobs.

These are just a few things that millennials are dealing with. I’m not even going to touch the dating scene as that could take some time getting into. With that being said, I fully accept the job market and my student loans. No one held a gun to my head as I signed my master promissory note and I am paying them back. Due to the fact that I (and most millennials too) am being responsible for my debt, certain life goals tend to take a backseat. What grinds my gears about these articles and beliefs held by older generations is that their expectations for us are quite ridiculous.

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The biggest argument against millennials is that we are immature and irresponsible because we aren’t settling down and getting married. So you’re telling me, that on top of trying to establish a decent career and paying back student loans, I’m supposed to be getting married and popping out babies simultaneously? In my opinion that would be the irresponsible thing to do. Why would I join in union with another person facing the same realities as myself while trying to make a family with a bunch of debt and a shaky job market hanging over our heads? Then to add insult to injury put a baby in the mix. Sounds like a great way for a marriage to fail. Yeah, no thanks.

In my opinion millennials that are not trying to rush into more responsibilities are more intelligent than you realize. It’s not that getting to the altar and starting a family are not goals of millennials, it’s just that there are a few things we need to take care of first. So before you go rushing to judgement about how we don’t want to grow up or are killing the real estate market take an honest hard look at what our reality looks like. It’s not 1980 anymore and we’re rolling with the punches as best we can. Don’t worry though, we’ll “grow up” eventually, Millennials do you agree? What are some of the things you have to figure out before you “grow up”?