(I like this post’s style. It’s sort of Hyperbole and a Half meets Quora.)
So yes, now that you’ve gone away and read the whole thing, I agree with all of it, and read the whole thing, except:
• I think it’s overstating the “you’re special” message. First of all, we’re not stupid, and I don’t think THAT many people between 20 and 40 are unhappy because we think we’re more special than we are (see below).
• I think it’s understating the fact that the world was expanding hugely while the Baby Boomers were being raised, so the message that, oh move out, work hard and you’ll be just like your parents is a load of HAH! YEAH RIGHT!
• (Combining the first with the second) We may not be special, but we’re not horrible, awful people, and there’s no way that we, as a generation, can achieve anything like our parents’ generation did, so it’s not a matter of frustration and disappointment with the gap between expectations and reality, but frustration and disappointment with the gap between expectations and wildest most hopeful possibilities.
I’ve written before about the Crushing of my Swimming Pool, but seriously. My parents’ house cost a couple of years of my dad’s salary at the time. If I tried to buy a house like that, it would be about 20 years’ salary. And not just because I live in a weird area full of successful professionals, but because I live in a weird area full of successful professionals who also have to compete with hedge fund managers and people with multi-billion-dollar microchip-manufacturing businesses in China and like the idea of a house in California.
So then my parents would probably say well, people who buy houses like that around here aren’t regular employees, they’re the ones who own the corporations, and if we lived somewhere else it would be different. So is it my generation being stubborn and insisting too much on fulfillment if we say no, we don’t want to live in some small mid-state town where there’s no industry and live revolves around the Walmart parking lot, just so we can take pictures of a single family home to post to Facebook and announce we’ve made it? Cuz I still see that as being very far away from “Expectations”.
(Three posts in one day! Lookit me now!)