Often when I find myself up at night…. Pacing the thoughts of my mind as my physical body carries my feet to follow. I wonder. What am I supposed to be doing? What is the meaning of every over-planned action that my overachieving brain concocted into admission essays that turned to activities registration sheets that now crafted my sleepless life. Is this what twenty-somethings are supposed to feel like? I primed my logic into believing that Barbie’s many job titles were an aspiration to strive for, but now I’m questioning the reprehensible idea of going from being a pilot by day to an actress/singer by night. Gosh Barbie really knows how to live! I started tracing my happiness like a detective traces its perpetrator, I discovered that the happiest places on Earth often have no urgency of time. The thought of rushing to work is pointless in these countries. Sleep is celebrated. And no, work is not more important than family. In fact, the happiest countries combine work and family life together in a perfect blend of seamless pride. Why does America push this disjointed narrative that work is the supreme Alpha of life? For example, being a millennial I’ve gone through 9/11, a housing crisis, multiple drug crisis, suicide crisis, multiple wars, a complete depletion of economy, a world-wide pandemic, AND another complete depletion of economy. The idea of money and non-stop work is not even an ambition, but more like a requirement of survival, with the idea of enjoying the work that you do to be completely far-fetched. Who are we? Are we enslaved to our paychecks and the fun carefree lifestyle that we see on vacation brochures just a simple photo? I think it is time that we take control of our mental health. Just because our careers and companies choose to leave our mental well-being on pause doesn’t mean we should as well. According to the World’s Happiness Report, six variables that impact evaluation is “GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and freedom from corruption.”[i] The issue is that the idea of happiness in a millennial world has to consistently be morphed as we become more conscious to social disparity. The plan of ignorance being bliss no longer makes the cut. Millennials are demanding more and we won’t take anything less for the freedoms that we are not only entitled to but rightfully deserve. We are taking our demands to the front lines through protests, political office, and continuous reformation of still legal slavery that is the prison system. Until America accounts for the very large wage gaps of gender inequality and racial inequality, happiness will only be for rich white men….which is literally who the country has only accommodated since its inception.
[i] Helliwell, J. F., Layard, R., Sachs, J. D., & De Neve, J. (2020, March 20). World Happiness Report 2020. Retrieved July 11, 2020, from https://worldhappiness.report/ed/2020/