Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation

I read this article in NY Magazine yesterday and it made me want to expand a little on my own personal reasons for taking this trip, since Jared already wrote about his.

This was a subject that I discussed at length with various friends this summer, and is obviously a current running through the lives of a lot of my peers right now.  The conclusion my friends and I keep reaching is a little different though (and I am borrowing heavily from my friend Lindsay here): we are a generation of educated individuals who were told all our lives to “think outside the box,” to have our own ideas and identities, be creative, “dream big” – but when we got out of college there was just another box waiting for us in the professional world.

When I graduated I was completely lost.  I had never been the kind of kid who wanted to be a doctor or lawyer, so I spent my education pouring my energy into the activities and classes that interested me most with the idea that at least I’d be pursuing each endeavor with as much drive as I could muster…which is how I ended up in Canada with an English (Theatre – ha!) degree and no idea of what to do next.  I decided to again follow what interested me most and move to New York.  From all of this I know I sound like some sort of hippie gypsy child (which is half true) but the truth is that I am also somewhat of a compulsive planner and already had a strong network of friends in the city.  But New York is still expensive, so I took the first job I could find as a legal secretary.  I nearly cried when I saw how small my paycheck was after taxes (state and CITY tax?!?  I still think that is some major BS, NYC), but I made it work, took another, better job at another law firm, and all of the sudden it had been 4 years and I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I had worked myself into a box and I didn’t know how to get out.

I did some deep introspection over the past year and what I kept coming up with is that I did not want to spend my life doing something I wasn’t 100% engaged in and committed to.  My relationship with Jared made me realize that I want to be just as passionate about my professional life.  So when I read this article, I thought it was interesting that this lament of my generation was exactly the justification I used to quit my job and take this trip.  We’re told we are special, but we don’t feel special.  So I’ve decided to figure out what makes me special.  I want to be in charge of my time and my income, for better or worse.

My hope for this trip is that I can use this time to get in touch with what drives me, and make a living out of it.  I don’t want to get rich, I just want to have the luxury of control over my own time.  I’ve had a job since I was 17 years old and have always taken pride and comfort in having my own money, so being supported financially by my husband is NOT something that comes easy for me, but I need to be taken out of my comfort zone.  I know that I am ridiculously blessed with an understanding and supportive husband who wants me to have the opportunity and space to figure all of this out.  Thanks babe.

I have a surprising number of friends who are doing the same thing by striking out on their own and starting businesses based on what they love and know best.  It’s so inspiring, and I’m so lucky to be able to feed off their energy.  The irony too is that this economic craphole (technical term) we’re in seems to be what’s making this all possible.  The boxes are disappearing so we’re making our own.  It makes me excited for the future – it makes me feel like we’re taking control of our lives.


One response

  1. Yay! Good job, Whitney and thanks Jared for the $$! My husband and I are in the same boat, with me working on building a business (some days it feels more like a Business, and others, it’s a “business.” ) 🙂

    I think you have to be flexible, adapt and learn to ask for and go out and get what you want… not just take what you’re given (NYC TAXES, por ejemplo).

    This probably doesn’t make any sense, but wanted you to know I was reading and enjoying your blog!

    Emily Cresse

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