Dear Population under the age of 30,
While I understand that you are embroiled in a time of your life that is often difficult to navigate and fraught with philosophical twists and turns, I feel compelled to point out a number of factors which could, in the long run, make your life easier...or at least your parents’ lives easier. Please, don’t think I am talking down to you, or otherwise degrading you. I am simply stating what your parents are too afraid to say for fear that they will “injure your fragile self-esteem.” Rest assured, I have no vested interest in your self-esteem. I am merely exhausted from listening to your parents complain about what an ungrateful bunch of spoiled brats you are. I’ve also witnessed the behaviour of many of you firsthand, and sorry, but I am inclined to agree with their observations.
So here it goes…
1. While you may have been led to believe otherwise, you are NOT the only person in the universe. Indeed, you are not even the only person on Planet Earth. Look around, there are lots of other people who are pretty damn sure the universe is not revolving around you.
2. Good behavior is rewarded. Bad behavior is not rewarded. Do not expect to flunk out of college, then live at home rent-free, without a care in the world. The hot water for your three daily showers, electricity for your computer, tv and 20 tech gadgets, as well as food for your never-ending appetite all cost money...money your parents are tired of dishing out.
3. I don’t care how horrible you perceive your childhood to be. #1, it was not as bad as you think it was, and #2, get over it, we all came from dysfunctional families. Seriously, you think you have the lock on that one? It’s a big boat, and a lot of people on it. Time to take responsibility for your own actions. Stop blaming it on everyone else. If that’s bad, go get a good therapist.
4. Six figure incomes generally do not just fall into your lap like a gift from God. I know it’s hard to imagine, but in addition to a full-time job, you may need to find a PART-time job to supplement your income in order to afford anything close to the lifestyle to which you feel as though you deserve. It is not the responsibility of your parents to fund whatever you cannot afford. Figure it out or go without.
5. Driving is a PRIVILEGE, not a RIGHT. If you speed, text behind the wheel, let your registration lapse, or otherwise do anything completely stupid with regard to your driving record, be prepared to pay the consequences. It is not the fault of your parents, the arresting officer, your drivers ed teacher, or the public at large. Pay the fine and learn from your mistake. Likewise, it is not the responsibility of your parents to pay your insurance so you can drive said car. If you cannot afford your insurance, then refer to Item #4 (the second job part.)
6. With age comes responsibility for your own actions. There is no shame in making mistakes, but for God’s sake, LEARN from your mistake. No one else is responsible for your screw-ups. It is all on you. If you do screw up, that does not mean your parents love you any less, but do not expect a big group hug and a rousing version of Kumbaya. Your parents will more than likely express their feelings about said screw-up, and will expect you to suffer the consequences. So man up, and move on.
7. Please try to at least attempt to act adult-like. No one expects you to be perfect, but for the most part, we all expect you to at least TRY to do the right thing.
8. Drugs are bad...ALWAYS, without exception.
9. When considering whether to continue smoking or quit, always pick QUIT. We’re tired to you smelling like an ashtray.
10. I know life seems like an unending DRAMA of the first magnitude when you are in your twenties, but trust the rest of us who have been there, it isn’t. You will survive, you will be stronger, and someday you will look back and think, “God, I was the most self-absorbed, self-centered person alive back then.” We will forgive you of this, since we were all in that moment, at one time or another. But in the meantime, please try to remember, there is more to life than you, your feelings, and your drama. Whatever drama you are inflicting on your parents, they are dealing with all of that PLUS their own. Dial back your expectations, please.
For those of you who think I’m being unduly harsh...please. I guess my exhaustion comes from the fact that there are a ridiculous amount of twenty-somethings (and younger) who have an overstated sense of entitlement. Personally, it kind of ticks me off. I’m not sure why so many young people today believe that they should get WHAT they want exactly WHEN they want it, simply because they exist. I had the time of my life in my twenties, and I made plenty of stupid mistakes. But one thing I can assure you, no one gave me anything. And it would have never even occurred to me to expect it,or even ask. Once you cross that line into adulthood, it’s all on you. If you have a support system to draw upon in times of sincere crisis, then that is truly wonderful, but don’t expect it. More often than not, in times of crisis, that is when you really learn how to be self-reliant. That is when you pick yourself up by the boot straps and find out what you’re made of. In the end, being self-reliant will make you feel so much better about yourself, your abilities, and who you are as a person. It’s called “growing up.”