In my interaction with older adults I find plenty of condescending remarks toward millennials and more specifically to 20somethings. A lot of it is warranted but some of it is flat out wrong. One of the things I believe is flat out wrong is the perception that 20somethings somehow do not value success and sit around playing video games for half the day while working at a coffee shop for a few hours a week to get free coffee (if this is you, well then you need to read this post).
I would say that 20somethings are trying to redefine what success looks like by desiring significance more than what others deem to be “success.”
Significance is not driving a BMW by 30, owning a 3 story house, moving up the corporate ladder, or having enough money to travel in Europe. Don’t worry, none of these things are bad on their own and kudos to those who have been able to do accomplish those things by 30, but when they become how we define our significance I think we’ve completely failed ourselves.
I’d like to share a few ways that I believe lead to becoming a significant 20something.
- Have someone speaking into your life. Your spouse or significant other does not count. This means having honest conversations which are never easy. This means being vulnerable and humble enough to ask for advice. We need outside perspective otherwise we become no different than the people we call narrow minded.
- Speak into someone else’s life. I know we’re young, but this doesn’t mean we don’t have something to offer others. Even though we’re willing to be humble enough to admit we need the help/perspective/advice of others, we must also recognize that God has equipped us to provide the same thing to another (or more) around us.
- Discover something new. For me this was discovering the joy of long distance running in order to live a healthier life. It took me until the age of 24 to find it, but what it really took was a willingness to step beyond the box I had placed around my life of how I operated day in and day out. No one at any age should get stuck in the rut of doing life the way we always have, but especially not someone in their 20s.
- Help build a community. I think true community is a lot harder than we make it sound at church. True community means being with those we would often choose to avoid and giving space in our lives for people we would have previously ignored. Anyone can have community with their college friends, but few people can help build a new community.
- Make it a practice to give something away. I’ll never forget the reminder that Rose and I received after helping a couple in need from our church. We only gave up a few hours and some sweat but we left saying to each other, “it’s always better to give than receive.” So often we lose sight of this fact.
Are 20somethings really redefining what success and significance looks like? I doubt it, but I do think that we can choose to pursue these 5 ways (and others) in order for our success to be defined by things that have nothing to do with monetary value.