Six industries, 30 cities, and seven ex-boyfriends later, I find myself fully engulfed by the second chapter in my pursuit of happiness: “adulting.”
Adulting is a unique phenomenon for us millennials. As this generation matures, we are greeted by a world very different than our parents. The American Dream has experienced the greatest shift in modern history and we get to test drive it.
We started to get comfortable wearing success as the young LGBT of the modern age, and that is NOT our reality. I dare not challenge the achievements of the generations before us, for without their success I would not have come out at 18 in the midst of “Fratland, USA.”
What is being challenged is the naive perspective we millennials have adopted. Our lifestyles and our weaknesses will soon be tested by three key realities that lay before us. To understand our solutions we must first be aware of our challenges in the chapter ahead.
Challenge #1: Our weakness lies in what we take for granted.
The American victory on same-sex marriage did not happen overnight and did not happen because of us. The normalization that we enjoy today is a product of the leadership before us.
We must replace our mistaken sense of comfort with confidence for the long term, so that we too can send the elevator back down.
Our challenges domestically do not compare to those of our counterparts abroad in need of our help. There is no more American imperative than to fight for LGBT rights around the world. When we shifted the tide in this country, we took on a new responsibility to spread that light.
Challenge #2: The competition is fierce, but realities are distorted.
We live our day-to-day alongside images and messaging of lifestyles “better” than our own. We believe the manipulated narratives of our peers and can’t help but compare them to our own. It is our nature to do so and social media has brought it mainstream, yet we have no idea if what we interpret is even truth.
The world is more complex now. The simpler times of a good job, safe home, two kids, and comfy retirement plan have vanished. Yet with this young complexity comes a surplus of opportunity. Overly optimistic? Maybe, but I choose to see it that way to keep life open to great story.
At the end of the day, we must channel all of life's influences positively, for if we fail, our tomorrow will too.
Challenge #3: We are instant gratification fiends.
When we were kids, we watched Willy Wonka and could easily relate to the “I want it and I want it now!” mentality. In fact in many ways, our generation is accused of never letting this go. But we’re adults now, and that mentality is just ridiculous.
Our expectation of the real world has been innately skewed by our upbringing. The real world doesn’t care that you want to be rich or famous, in love, or traveling around the world before you’re 30. It goes at it’s own speed, one much different than what we desire.
The simple solution is patience. Practice patience like you practice masterbation. There’s no way you’re not highly skilled at this by now, which makes it a clear and promising benchmark.
Motivational idealist and global guru of high thought, Simon Sinek says it best:
“What this young generation needs to learn is patience... that some things that really really matter, like love, or job fulfillment, love of life, self confidence, a skill set, any of these things, all of these things take time.”
These are our realities whether we like it or not. We can either confront life and step up to the plate or lay in naive stagnancy and discontent. The choice is up to you.
Our community influences cultures and inspires good in humanity. We are eclectic as hell and brilliantly fearless people. The laughs go on for days as your network crosses cultures, countries and continents.
Don’t take life for granted, don’t underestimate the challenges you will face, and have patience. If we can overcome these challenges, we will succeed as the first generation in this new pursuit of happiness.
We are the American Dream 2.0.
As our very own Ru Paul so elegantly says: “don’t fuck it up.”
“Live with Purpose - Inspire Always.” - Kevin Coop
This post is dedicated to the LGBTQ of the world celebrating the power of you this Pride.