In my previous post, I spoke about how great I believe our generation is, and how much greater it could be.
And I mean it. I wouldn’t have started this site if I didn't.
But more than this belief in our potential, I think there's something more important at stake: that is, the responsibility that comes with that potential.
Growing up, we were told that we could change the world. And I used to think that that time was for later—when I had more money, when I officially "became a grown-up", etc.
The thing is, I woke up one day and realized, well, I was a grown-up. Not because I was paying bills or worked at a job; it was simply the insight that I wasn't responsible for just myself anymore.
When you realize that some things around you suck; that you have the capability to do something about it; and you actually do take action regarding it, that's when true maturity begins.
Here's a caveat though: in order to have that capability in the first place, you first must be capable yourself.
It's just like that wear-your-own-oxygen-mask-first rule: you're no good helping others breathe better if you're passed out from the cabin pressure (or the fear. Lol. 🙈)
You can't give what you don't have. And you definitely can't make deep, long-lasting nor effective change happen for your family, community, or company if you're not able to do it for yourself.
If you wanna build that ideal self who can effect the most change, you're gonna have to start with the small and concrete changes on yourself first.
Which is why habits are the perfect place to start.
Here's part 2 of 8 things all my millennial friends complain about—all the bad habits that I believe are holding us back. And some actionable advice on how to possibly fix them, too.
5. How Difficult It Is To Be Healthy
What we complain about: If I could have a peso for every person who's asked me "what my secret was" for getting fitter and didn't exactly like my answer "um I just ate better, cut sugar out and exercised", I'd be loaded.
Whether they tell me that they could never give up rice ("B-but what's gonna complement my adobo?") or eat the same meal over and over again (because it's "sad"), all their replies basically hint at the same question:
How to resolve it: Here's what you need to know: what you eat plays a larger role than exercise does; your mental shift matters as much as your physical one; and as a Filipino millennial, a culture of food obsession's working against you—so tread carefully.
On a diet level, my one key habit was consistent, weekly meal prep. Like I said last week, coming up with this SMART system helped me concretize "eating better" and led me to my initial -22 lbs.
On a mental level, 12 years of gaining & losing weight has taught me that viewing food as a negative emotional tool is what stops real change. If you use food as a source of comfort to cope during hard times, that's a warning sign.
It was only when I started appreciating food for what it was—a daily source of nutrients and energy, and the occasional source (from many!) of a positive emotion like joy—did I learn to stick to a healthier lifestyle.
6. How Hard "Adulting" Is/Getting Older in General
What we complain about: "Omigod we're so old!" (guilty) or "Huhu can we just go back to the '90s pls" (presumably cause we had no cares then).
We say these to mean a lot of things: a yearning for simpler times when being an adult in this economy wasn't so hard; our anxiety and insecurity during this life stage; how sadly fast our childhoods seemed to go by, since our generation's formative years were the only ones in history to happen before, during and after the Internet Age; etc.
So much out of our control: recessions, tech advancements, and an all-time high in job market competition. "No wonder we don't want to adult!" you say. It's too hard.
But the question remains: how do we tackle these cards we were dealt with anyway?
How to resolve it: Mark Manson's seminal book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F—k, has a few points that I believe can help address these mindsets.
A common narrative in our generation goes that happiness is a destination we should strive to reach. It assumes that it's a solvable formula: if I get X, then Y. If I find a job I love, then I'll be happy. If I marry my dream guy, then I'll be happy.
Not only that, but happiness has become the ultimate thing to strive for.
Manson argues that this premise is flawed because problems are inevitable. When you solve the problem of being single by having a boyfriend, you simply trade in the stress of being lonely with the stress of being in a relationship.
When you solve the problem of answering to your parents by moving out and living on your own, you simply trade that problem in with the new one of learning to support yourself fully.
So if your definition of happiness is about reaching a state where you never have problems, then you'll never be happy regardless of what you do in life.
Because all choices come with their fair share of problems–even ones that seem "stress-free".
It becomes then, that happiness isn't a destination, but a process: you simply solve the problems you don't like so you can trade them in for problems you do like. And happiness becomes a byproduct of continuously doing that.
In order to address this mindset of bemoaning our unfortunate situations (like our age and the responsibilities that come with it), frame your pain using a more useful question: which problems would I rather have?
Once you realize what they are, simply go and choose them.
Just know that you will experience both joy and pain in the process; that this is normal; and most importantly, that this doesn't mean you made the wrong choice.
In the end, you'll end up creating a life of wholeness rather than happiness—and you're much better off for it in the long run.
To take it further, an effective way to commit to these choices is to ground them in a sense of purpose. As Nietzsche states, "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how."
When you define the value of what adulthood means for you—whether it's proof of independence, or love of family through sacrifice in your job—you will find that there will now be things bigger than you are; things that, at the end of the day, will end up being more important than any stressful adulting you experience—helping you bear with any difficult card that gets dealt your way.
In the interest of making things reader-friendly, I've decided to make this a 3-part series!
If you enjoyed what you read or found my writing helpful, I'd love it if you could subscribe below. Stay tuned for Part 3!