THE SKY’S THE LIMIT–AND OTHER LIES FROM MY CHILDHOOD

Note to readers: read this first paragraph in your head to the tone of one of those commercials that claims you may be “entitled to” something if you had x, y, or z happen to you.

As a child, were you often told things like, “you can be anything you want when you grow up” or “you can do anything you set your mind to?” Did your grandma constantly overwhelm you with love and tell you just how *special* you are? Were you in any way mislead by your parents to believe that you really were one of a kind? If so, you may be entitled to–wait, wait, wait.

This is just what they want. They want us to admit that we are “entitled.” Everyone in our generation clearly believes that the world owes them something and that they should be handed free money while they galavant around Europe, yearning to “find themselves” post graduation.

Or at least that’s how certain people have described my generation to me.

Now, I’m not off to start a war with my elders. I agree with you–you may be wiser and more experienced than me. But I wish that I would stop hearing people refer to my entire generation as lazy and entitled narcissists.

I reject this notion that technology and social media has made everyone Google-crazed robots who only care about how many likes they got on their latest selfie.

The fact of the matter is social media is here to stay, and we will always have these fancy devices that know way too much about us and track our every move–literally. But I believe that we can use these things to our advantage. 

When we were little, many of us were repeatedly told that we could do or be anything that we wanted. We were given basic ideas at a young age: teacher, doctor, lawyer, police officer. But as we got older, new professions and ways of earning a living started emerging. We started to see ways of living that previous generations never considered.

Now, we can choose from a myriad of paths to go down. You don’t have to be a salesman or a dentist. You can be a food blogger, social media strategist, founder/developer of a new popular app, YouTube star, Uber/Lyft driver, and the list goes on and on.

The thing is not everyone accepts these new professions as serious means of making a living. Suddenly, all the ‘dream big’s become ‘think realistically’s. Some might not see these unconventional career paths as legitimate.

I’m here to argue that technology has afforded us with new opportunities, so why wouldn’t we take advantage of them to their fullest extent? A few years ago, naysayers claimed that all these social media strategist-type jobs were going to be short lived because they never believed in the power of these little apps on our phones.  Now, social media is one of the top priorities of companies when deciding how to market their brand in a digital age. Many taxi companies are literally going out of business because of these ride-sharing services powered by our smartphones. And some YouTube stars are now earning millions of dollars from ad services.

So, maybe it wasn’t a complete lie. Maybe the sky is the limit, and the lie was that these people might not have believed it when they were saying it to us. 

When I was little, I secretly wanted to be an actress. I knew I couldn’t be anything because what I really wanted was to be Hannah Montana–can you blame me? She was an eleven-year-old secret Popstar who doubled as a regular kid at school. But I digress… I wanted to be an actress, but I told everyone for years and years that I wanted to be a doctor. Because even as a little kid, I fed into the baloney that the only way I would be successful in life was if I chose one of the five career options they offer to elementary school kids. 

Maybe your Grandma was right and you are the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg of your generation. Maybe you really are one of a kind. But on the off chance that you are just like the rest of us–hopelessly trying to be anything but mediocre–don’t despair. You have two choices: you can work a little harder to prove to your friends and family that your life choices are valid and meaningful or you can accept that despite no matter how much something means to you, some people might not always get it.

Hoping to find success or land a job after spending thousands of dollars on education, doesn’t make you entitled. It makes you reasonable. You want a return on an investment. It doesn’t mean that you are expecting a job to be handed to you. But it means that after years of hard work, whatever you end up doing with your life–whether you become a world renowned scientist or a vegan mommy blogger–you want to know that what you are doing matters because, once upon a time, when you were told that the sky was the limit, you believed them. 

Now is that such a crime?

TLDR: You can be anything you want to be–as you long as you really believe that.