My parents have had a difficult time understanding exactly what a degree in advertising is going to get me in life. Today, the average person living in a city sees about 5,000 advertisements a day. I figured that somewhere in the ad world there would be room for my unusual outlook.
When I was younger, my mother found my room to be a whirlwind of absolute chaos. I hung my posters upside down and had faces of various members of the Rolling Stones popping out from above my bed frame. I was a strange child. I guess things haven’t changed.
To me, advertising isn’t just “selling you something you don’t need”. Advertising is persuading people to see things in a new light, to be open-minded, to be weird.
And since I very much enjoy wading in a swamp of strange serenity: advertising is my calling.
I hope you understand, mom and dad.
I’m 21 years old, barely off the brink of this decade and I already feel it going nowhere. Four years of college has not exactly prepared me for the real world; unless the real world includes learning how to pick out the good clothes from the Good Will or differentiating mainstream music from good music. How do people do it? Getting out into the real world and finding a job, soul mate, life. I highly doubt that all of those macroeconomic tutoring sessions or envelopes I licked for my internship supervisor have prepared me for the eventual.
From evidence I have gathered, many people feel the same way and the generations before us have as well. Living our lives doesn’t feel so monumental at this moment. However, as insignificant as they may seem, the decisions we make build our character and transform us into the people that we will become. In order to take control of our future selves, we must make intentional decisions and leave fate for the fools.
“The median age at first marriage in the early 1970s, when the baby boomers were young, was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it had climbed to 26 for women and 28 for men, five years in a little more than a generation” (Henig). Many things have changed since 1970. People are more aware of the world, communication has become global and education has become more available. Maybe it’s not a bad thing that people aren’t too quick to fall in love and get married. “Contrary to neuroscientists’ earliest assumptions, the brain continues to markedly rewire itself even after puberty” (Henig). This means that the immense decisions that were once made in the beginning of the second decade of life might be better made towards the end of it or even in the third decade. While it is true that humans do not reach the “end” of brain growth, they do reach a more stable brain development towards the final years of their twenties. Real connections become evident and unnecessary ones are deemed irrelevant.
The baby boomers and previous generations have gotten married, had children and found their careers all before the ripe age of twenty-three. Consequently, these people, now in their fifties, believe that our generation is unmotivated and lagging behind in life because everything is being accomplished at least five years or more down the road. What they do not realize is that perhaps it is not in our best interest to achieve so much in so little time. Perhaps it is more important to find ourselves before making such large decisions. Our parents’ generation had high levels of divorce; if we marry later in life will we be sure of our partners and less likely to divorce? Will this make us better parents? Our generation has found the root of a good family: two people who connect well enough to keep the family together. We won’t know for sure, but in twenty years, if this equation works, maybe it IS better to marry later on in life. It may also be better to secure a career and years of travel before finding a partner. So many people have settled down without truly knowing what is out there. How can you know that you are doing what you love every day without exploring every possibility? These questions are what the Millennials have realized must be answered before they are so quick to scratch off their list of milestones. Even though I am a member of this discourse community of Millennials who are “behind”, I firmly agree with its ideals. I refuse to make any decisions without knowing all of my options. How many times do you hear a father tell his son “don’t tie the knot until you’ve had your fun”. If they offer this advice to their sons, they should follow through to their daughters and not just in that aspect of life, but every other one as well.
How do Millennials achieve “the finding of one’s self”? Social Networking profiles; through these sites twenty-somethings are embracing a new way to show the world who they are. Three-quarters of Millennials have at least one online profile where they can post their thoughts and ideas that represent their personality. The important factor in this generation is our support of individuality; we even acquiesce to awkwardness. It is no longer necessary to conform to the coolness of Tom Cruise or Danny Zuko. “Awkwardness is simultaneously non-threatening and entertaining…most of us exhibit moments of awkward behavior. Of course, we try really hard to mask it, to fit in, to be conformists. Still, when we see someone else behaving in a way that we sometimes do ourselves, we feel connected, safe, and a little relieved, because it turns out we’re not the only freaks in town” (Kim).
“Should parents encourage their 20-year-olds to shirk adult responsibilities lest they hamper an advantageous period of self-discovery and wild experimentation?” (Henig). This is the time where we must scorch the memories that haunt the sculpting of our lives, and build a new masterpiece. Regardless of the childhood we have endured, this is the time where we can pick the people we surround ourselves with and read the books/listen to the music/watch the films that are consistent with our ideals. It is the time where we put the pieces together in deliberate way s so that our lives will pan out the way we want them to. “We know that 80 percent of life’s most defining moments happen by age 35. We know that 70 percent of lifetime wage growth happens in the first 10 years of a career. We know that more than half of Americans are married or living with or dating their future partner by 30. Our personalities change more in our 20s than any other time. Our fertility peaks. Our brain caps off its last growth spurts … The things that we do and the things that we don’t do are going to have an enormous effect across years and even generations” (NPR).
The New York Times says that we are growing up later than ever. “Adult children” is what they are calling us. Well, there are reasons for that: “Among the cultural changes he points to that have led to “emerging adulthood” are the need for more education to survive in an information-based economy; fewer entry-level jobs even after all that schooling; young people feeling less rush to marry because of the general acceptance of premarital sex, cohabitation and birth control; and young women feeling less rush to have babies given their wide range of career options and their access to assisted reproductive technology if they delay pregnancy beyond their most fertile years” (Henig). With the invention of the Internet and the vast variety of communication outlets, the world has become an informational competition; the more you know, the more qualified you are. Our generation has not given up. We have just as many pioneers as our predecessors, and they are coming into the frontier younger than ever. At 19, Mark Zuckerberg created a website that is now has given him a net worth of $9.5 billion according to Forbes, making him the ninth most powerful person in the world.
With every generation comes a new bundle of rules to play by. The Millennials are adapting to the newest innovations that are revealing themselves daily. Today knowledge is a key tool in life versus past generations’ hard work. We have learned to use our experiences to build our character and construct our course to attain our goals. This generation is also learning to be careful when striking off their milestones. The rush to the wedding chapel is no longer and a decision to accept a desk job from nine to five is not easily made. 20-somethings are taking the high road and putting themselves first and foremost. It’s important for us to understand who we are before we make the most important decisions of our lives.
I am not one of those people who cry at the correct moments.
My tears are linear, like a man’s train of thought.
As of late, I shed tears for something of the high-fructose variety; an entire ear of corn if you will.
Every time I see someone go after their dream, those waterfalls come out of no where.
I just watched an episode of a show that I will not name because I will not be accepted as an adult if I do….but at the high note of the dreamer’s performance, I began to blubber.
Graduation is quickly approaching for my friends and I, and I wonder if any of us will get to have this moment of dream satisfaction. Will we reach the high note? Will somebody who is watching us have the same reaction I had from that show that remains unnamed?
My fave advertisers evs