When looking for a job, it’s amazing how often that little word, ‘qualifications’ comes into play. Sure, maybe I’m organized, interested, and able to communicate well, but I definitely don’t have 3+ years of experience in the field. To get that 3+ years, however, you need a certain major, be unpaid, and work part-time.
As young adults, practically all the people I know my age want to be able to survive. Financial stability is a dream. Gone are the days when a person works for a single company for most of their life, can depend on having medical insurance, retirement, and time off. The rise of the gig economy is flexible, but it comes at long term cost, heaven forbid a person gets sick or old.
There is a lot of anxiety in my generation, both the mental health issue and also as a result of systemic issues blocking us from getting the resources we need to survive and have a stable life.
Anxiety, in a way, keeps us alert. It keeps us awake. It makes us think about the options so we don’t fall into an easy trap. Anxiety as a mental issue is when that alert is never turned off, when all of the options are considered over and over again, and when thoughts themselves become the trap.
When the world is stable, anxiety can be solved through therapy alone. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help retrain cyclical thoughts and meditation can help calm a restless soul. The problem is that our current age isn’t so stable for a lot of people.
Not all Millenials are rich white middle-class young adults who eat too much avocado toats. Millennials are in fact the most diverse generation compared to anyone before it, in beliefs, race, sexuality, etc. Anxiety is a real problem, perhaps as a mental issue itself for individuals, but also as a result of the problems this generation and the one after faces with climate change, global shifts towards populism, mass incarceration of black bodies, etc.
Anxiety is something that needs to be managed, and absolutely we should do what we can to change it on the individual level. However, a generational wide problem is indicative of a system-wide problem. We should all try and push ourselves to understand the bigger issues and see what we can do to solve the systemic issues we face.
Photo Credit: Enya Callibuso