If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the past decade it’s that I really don’t know a lot. My wife would wholeheartedly agree with that statement, I’m sure. But, one thing I do know is that I want my child to learn from my mistakes. And that starts with not listening to my opinions. It’s not that I will not have an opinion to give but it’s because I do not see the world through the same eyes as her. In fact, my truth is a muddied mess of my experiences, my mistakes, and my shortcomings as a person. Moreover, who knows what the world or the economy will look like in ten years, let alone when she comes of age.
That last part is of utmost importance, I’ll explain why in a moment.
Growing up, my parents always believed that my generation would be the generation that could “be who we wanted to be.” Likely, because their generation was taught to work hard, hold down a steady job, buy a house, and settle down. And they did what they were told. But, then the world suddenly changed in 2008, and many families were suddenly without a stable job, without income, and without their investments. It is my belief that the ‘08 recession had a heavy psychological effect on my generation and recent studies, like that by Merrill Edge, agree.
"Millennials playing it safe, being risk-averse and self-reliant is very much a reaction to what they saw in the financial crisis," says Aron Levine, head of Merrill Edge. "They saw that their parents and grandparents lost a great deal of money during that time and they want to be more cautious."
Yet, the Boomer generation, the generation of easy jobs and easy housing affordability judges the Millennial generation based on their experiences, often dismissing them as latte-sipping, lazy, or crybabies. All this vitriol leads us to a proxy-generation war and a whole lot of avoidable headaches. Headaches and proxy wars that are only amplified by social media’s impact on our society.
And with all the fighting that’s going on in our lives, we really don’t need any more headaches. If anything, throughout the years and the tonnes of advice my parents have provided me, their support has not always been the most helpful. And who can blame them? I live in a different country from them, with different customs and different ways of handling things. There’s no way they could predict whether they are providing me with advice that is useful or useless. Plus, a lot of advice given by our parents was completely contradictory.
Whether it was being told to “Dream big” and then to “Stop daydreaming” or “Focus on your future” but “live in the present”, I was pretty much damned if I did and damned if I didn’t. Instead, I hope that I manage to impart the following pieces of wisdom to my little one:
Be kind to others, be kind to yourself, and never listen to my opinions.