If you’re connected to any sort of social networking I know you’ve seen what I am about to address. I’m talking about these lists of things talking about how “20-somethings” have it so rough while they are muddling around waiting to figure out what to do with their life. Cautioning the dangers of petering around these times while encouraging lofty ambition. With every new publishing of one comes a wave of updates from people who feel as though they’ve went through a Buddhist monk-esque epiphany and now hold the keys to living a fulfilling life.
I hate these things, and in an ironic-meta sort of way, I am basically writing one now.
They come in many forms; “30 things to do before you’re 30” or “A note on 20 somethings” but most of the variances of the articles end with titular choices. All the articles basically offer the same thing: some vague advice about trying new things and being yourself while surrounding yourself with the best people possible.
I always find the people that “share” them the most are the same ones who complain whenever there is a new facebook layout as if they got tagged with seven finals, only to revert their allegiance to this newfound layout when the next update rolls around.
Are we really that uncomfortable with change? Is our generation so shaken and scared by our future prospects that we look to anyone and everyone who is willing to tell us how to live our life?
I know that I am in a far better position than generations of my family that came before me and I try to remind myself of that everyday. My grandfather was hitting the beaches of Iwo Jima on his 18th birthday, I don’t think he was worrying about what the blogoshpere had to say about the hippest places to travel.
It’s almost as if our generation creates things to gripe over so we can have a shared sense of dread for each other.
If everything ahead of us is laid out beforehand will that really take the fear out of living? Why do we need to have everything so structured all the time? If a teacher doesn’t hand out a syllabus for a class do you go into a panic attack? Let’s become more comfortable with ambiguousness.
The fact that life is enigmatic is what makes it so precious. We don’t know what lays ahead of us and that is OK. Would Harry Potter have been as entertaining if we knew -- spoiler alert -- Snape was going to kill Dumbledore beforehand? All we can do is fight through the troughs and try to keep ourselves as humble as possible through the highs and hopefully become the best selves we are meant to be somewhere along the way.
I don’t have a list of places you should live or new cool hobbies that you have to try, but instead a set of simple advice that I have received over the years that has worked out for me.
Put yourself out there as much as possible and try new things. Get off the Internet and experience the world for yourself, instead of vicariously through other users online.
Most importantly, don’t cripple yourself because of your fear of failing.
Life is scary for everyone. In a transitional period like we are going through in college it may be especially scary considering we are preparing to embark on our own journey without anyone holding our hands for the first time, but guess what— you’re going to be alright.
Tim Wessel is a senior majoring in a finance and is The Daily Collegian’s Thursday columnist. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.