Young people (which for the purposes of this blog post I will define as ages 15-25) are faced with a unique challenge as we approach the 2020s. Growing up in a connected world, they have been exposed to the lives of the social and economic elite in ways that persons a generation ago could not have imagined. Part of growing up alongside the heros of pop-culture, tech, and sports, along with the ever-more manicured public personas of classmates and “friends,” comes the inevitable – and frequently unenviable – comparisons that come along with it. No longer are we “keeping up with the Jones;” kids today measure their lives alongside the Kardashians, Biebers, Zuckerbergs, and (Lebron) James. The result? A virtual neighborhood where not only do you have the shabbiest house but almost no chance of realistically catching up.
Part and parcel with the above, we have raised a generation of kids that has been protected from not only life’s dangers, but life’s decisions too. Suddenly, a young person wakes up only to find that not only can that not live the life of social media mega millionaires, but it will be darn difficult to achieve the same level of success that mom and dad have afforded for all of these years. School is hard, the real-world is unforgiving, and many have not formed the skills necessary to deal with these challenges. The result I see all too often: bowing out. Taking a semester off turns in to dropping out entirely. Moving home temporarily becomes indefinitely. Enough time goes by and a “short break” has become “the new norm.” This can be difficult for the young person to handle. It can be difficult to generate inertia from stop. It can be depressing and anxiety provoking, too. And it can lead to some very maladaptive habits.
Fortunately, there is hope. It will not feel easy, but I say again, there is hope. This young person can get back to the life they were meant to lead. Come talk to me about how.