They say that some things in life won't be realized until you get a little older.
I've been stubborn to coming around the following truth I'm about to profess, but I think it's time to admit it.
I'm ashamed to say this: but millennials, we are lazy as hell.
Our previous generation was right and there is no doubt about it -- something is off about how we motivate ourselves to work and succeed. Whether it is the constant seeking for external gratification from social media likes or instant approval, we have driven ourselves past a cliff of honest expectations and gradual self-improvement.
A year after graduating from college has given me this epiphany. Looking at all of the current graduates before and after me there is an alarming sense of high expectation and resistance to do anything that isn't trendy or current to the status quo of those around them.
Disclaimer: I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League pre-professional social scene that is filled with passionate and intellectual minds but also entitled brats and exuberant transgressions.
Across the aisle, lots of people my age are doing what they are told is the right thing rather than figuring out what that means for themselves. I live in a timeline that is filled with activist posts and thoughts, but they come from the young finger tips of young professionals working in corporate offices.
To put it bluntly, our laziness isn't defined by our physical ability to do actual work -- but in the audacity to actually stand for something and risk doing it.
When I attended Penn, there were many youth organizers and public servants involved in doing community service and mentorship programs. Today, unless they choose to do Teach for America or go to grad school, they're consultants and Google/Wall Street employees.
Their voices are now reduced to Tweets and Facebook updates rather than being enacting their passion to do work that they care about.
And let's stop acting like it's only about the money -- some of these millennials are not getting paid any much higher or lower than those who do act on their true aspirations.
Sure, these salaries might be higher than a freelance musician or personal designer, but our entire philosophy has been based on looking busy rather than actually producing anything.
For example, if you are under 30, I challenge you to scroll down your social media timeline at your fellow peers. Take a shot... of coffee, if you are at work... each time you see someone posting a selfies image of them "busy on the job" or "making moves."
Now take a double shot if that job isn't anywhere near their actual professional pursuits or passions. You should be either drunk or highly caffeinated by now.
And this isn't just our fault. I blame our parents and the generation before us.
Yes, those original hippie-MTV watching-gangsta rap listening crew are now trying to parent us better with all of these damn self-help books and after school tutoring/ coaching that has made us less confident and more robotic than ever.
The generation before us excelled because they were able to make mistakes and grow from them. We live in a current atmosphere that doesn't know what a mistake looks like and when they do encounter one believes that death is upon them.
I can't begin to recall how many times I have been nauseated from hearing the whining of peers think they were not going to amount to anything after receiving a "C" on a midterm -- because they were raised by parents who seriously made them think they were worthless if they got one.
Since graduating, I have learned a lot about developing my own personal since of real goals and expectations. When I first moved out, others around me were so pressed on having the best apartment, newest car, and compromising their personal goals to score a job that paid them the highest salary.
You would think that we were in our 30s raising families the way some people spoke of what kind of life they wanted straight out of college.
At first, I felt the pressure of trying to balance my budget to get what was presumably a "nice spot" downtown in Philadelphia. But then I had a "WTF am I doing?" moment and got real with myself.
Who am I doing this for?
That's the question every millennial my age need to think carefully about. Too often we are quoting books and magazine articles as to why we make the decisions we make. STOP IT. Because neither those publications nor television shows are going to take you out of excessive debt or boost your confidence -- you have to do that your damn self.
So I got to a point where I realized that how I was going to be living was going to be based on how old I was. I was going to live my age.
I'm 23 and a young professional. My studio apartment is in West Philly and I'm blessed to live comfortably and pay less than $500 a month for it. And no, I'm not living all the way in the boondocks to keep it.
I left my initial corporate media pursuits behind to pursue my passion for multimedia journalism full-time, and build my own brand. So I'm not working crazy 60-hour a week jobs that are taking me away from spending time with my friends and focusing on my real dreams. And no, I don't have the crazy paycheck they have that I most likely wouldn't be able to spend anyway.
But what I do have is my sense of agency to enact the type of change that is necessary to help solve some of the major issues in my community. I don't just post Facebook statuses about poverty; I actually get to interact with the homeless. I'm not waiting until I am 40 to feel important enough to make a change...I'm out there thinking about the now.
Because if there is anything millennials should know today is that one day we won't be one. And our youth shouldn't be wasted on our laziness to recognize that.