Maaaan, life is hard. It's so unpredictable.
Just when you think you have it figured out, you're thrown a curve ball and whiff. Badly.
In baseball, you get more at bats. You start seeing more curve balls and you get better at hitting them.
Life isn't that much different. What if I told you it's not that unpredictable. It only looks unpredictable.
Many of life's problems already have solutions. What worked three hundred years ago, often still works today. The tools might be slightly different and the situations might be slightly different, but they're pretty much the same. The ball might curve a little differently but, fundamentally, a curve is a curve.
That's why you see all those “things I should've done in my 20s” or “why millennials are…” articles. One of the tricky things about writing for an audience greater than one is that you are often pushed to make generalizations. We see it all the time in mainstream media. (oh and those “Generation whatever is the reason we're all in some kind of mess — just throw those in the trash)
Despite the passing years, many of our challenges remain the same. How do I get a job? How do I find a mate or get my family off my back about not wanting a mate? How will I get a raise? How will I retire? How will I start a family or get my own family off my back about not wanting to start a family?
As individuals, it's more effective to think in life cycles and milestones, not in ages or generational cohorts (GenX, Millenials, GenY, blah blah).
There are a handful of milestones that most people will experience – marriage, divorce, starting a family, first job, getting fired, second job, retirement, death, etc.
Not everyone will experience every life event but at each major milestone, you and your thinking will shift a little. You need to draw more knowledge from someone who has navigated the event already, less from someone who happens to be closer in age. That's how you overcome those challenges successfully.
If you want to successfully navigate all of life's milestones, the answer isn't in asking people your own age or reading articles for people your own age.
On average, a 30 year old woman who is expecting a child will have more to learn from a 45 year old woman with kids than another 30 year old who isn't expecting or have kids. It could be on big issues, like “how do you balance kids versus career?,” or small ones, like “what do for childcare during teacher in-service days?”
The 15 year age difference is less significant than the milestone of having and raising children.
The different “generations,” which are themselves artificially created anyway, are even less important. The 30 year old will face the same issues the 40 year old may have faced and will draw inspiration and knowledge from her.
When you have a problem, do you look to someone in your generation?
Or to someone who has faced those issues before?
If you're wise, the latter. 🙂
Remember, all this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.