Going Somewhere

I’ve got to thank my friend Angeline for indirectly alerting me to an opinion piece published by the New York Times today called “The Go-Nowhere Generation.” After my intense Millennial Generation/Gen Y month back in December and January, anything written about  my generation automatically gets read. I appreciate it when authors make insightful comments, but even if they don’t have anything new to add to my knowledge base, I’ll read it. This piece written by TODD G. BUCHHOLZ and VICTORIA BUCHHOLZ as the author line boldly declares, talks about the fact that this generation simply isn’t picking up and moving their lives to new states. The Buchholzs’ touch on the fact that economically, generations that come of age during recessions tend to have less risk over the course of their lives and tend to settle for what are objectively worse jobs even when the economy recovers, lament the fact that people in their 20s are simply staying put.

Though I am one of the members of this generation that does not follow the trend mentioned in this article, I think that they don’t give individuals who do enough credit. Sure, it’s easy to criticize young people in NV who have a high unemployment rate, but it’s silly to say that they should flee to North Dakota in search of a job. Now, I know that I am spoiled having spent the first 21 years of my life in California, but really, North Dakota? Sure, there are jobs, but what else does the state have to offer to young people who are looking for a well-rounded life? I think people value the relationships that they have developed with family and friends. Being around people you’ve known for a long time helps with a sense of stability even when everything else is uncertain. There is someone to invest in, rely on, and confide in. When you move, you risk losing those connections and even if you don’t lose them completely, it’s a lot harder to maintain those relationships when you’re not physically present.

It will always be possible to find good things in life, and it will always be possible to find things that we’d like to change. At the beginning of this year, I wanted a major change, so I moved out of state. The climate and I didn’t make the best of friends, and now I’m hoping to move in a few months to a much warmer climate. I have not lived in the same place for more than 11 months since I moved out of my parents’ house at 18. I’m used to moving, and I enjoy settling in to each new place I go, but it does get tiresome after a while. Nothing feels permanent, and I know that the relationships I’ve made in every place other than my home town will not be as strong as those that I formed with my dear friends from junior high and high school. I think that our values as a generation have been redefined by this recession. We’ve realized that there are things in our lives like relationships and helping others that are more important than impressive careers. We’re not as willing to slave away at a job because we’ve realized that there’s more to life than earning money. It may be unfortunate to find that we will forever feel the sting of this recession, but I am grateful for the lessons in priorities that it has brought, and I would rather have those lessons and the experiences they’ve allowed me to have than a higher salary and a “better” economy.