It took me a while to associate myself as a millennial. I’ve always felt that it was a description for younger people. Being born in 1985, it never really felt like the term applied to me as I wasn’t quite as care-free as millennials are made out to be.
I have come to realise though that I have some strong millennial tendencies, albeit not always obvious on the surface. One millennial concept I relate to strongly is the almost cult-like pursuit of happiness, joy and living a perfect life. (Um…hello insanity.)
And boy oh boy are we being targeted by the consumer culture. In a recent Forbes article, it’s stated that
the global market for health and wellness offerings reached $686 billion in 2016 and it is expected to grow at a 3.5% CAGR, to $815 billion, by 2021.
The article goes on to say the concept of wellness as a luxury is about more than just being fit—it is also about feeling happy and indulging in experiences that promote well-being, and sharing those experiences with friends.
So for starters, being happy and experiencing well-being are not one and the same. But even typing that sentence makes my palms sweaty as it is such an uncomfortable realisation, one that at times, I’m still not fully emotionally invested in yet. Like when you know intellectually something is good for you, but your heart and soul haven’t caught up yet.
Well-being is complex. Despite the fact that the consumer market is doing an excellent job of packaging it, I know from my many hours in coaching that it is a messy affair, something that does not sit well for us millennials who want to not only achieve a perfect life, but also perfectly achieve the perfect life. The way we do things and the way we achieve is often more important that what we do and what we achieve. Sound familiar?
I have come to appreciate, usually quite reluctantly, that we are the lightness and the darkness at the same time, sometimes in the very same moment, which for an A-type perfectionist (if we’re using labels) has often been quite devastating as I wasn’t equipped with the tools to process messy. I want perfect. All the time.
But my personal development process has also been revolutionary. It has changed the way I live my life in every moment. My darkest moments have provided the very necessary perspective to experience true, soulful joy. I no longer (always) pursue happiness, (well no longer most of the time) but rather moment by moment presence of mind, and when I get carried away by my pursuit of perfect happiness, I now have the tools to come back to myself. To experience joy and peacefulness in the face of huge adversity. To be calm in the chaos.
And chaos there has been. Despite my cute Instagram feed of my beautiful home, my lovely husband that regularly brings me flowers and treats, my two golden retriever puppies, I am no stranger to adversity. Family drama, retrenchments, death, career crisis…I could go on and on. If I wrote the whole list of shitty things that have happened to me you probably wouldn’t read any further than this, so I’ll introduce you slowly to my unique blend of crazy.
This blog is certainly therapeutic for me. I love writing. And one of the best antidotes to my perfection has been exploring spaces and places with openness and curiosity. Child-like curiosity. It’s the best type. So this is a space for that. But I also feel very strongly about sharing my experience as I feel I have value to add – you can be the judge of that. Either way, there is so much power in collective experiences and shared learnings. Whether that is the best restaurant to eat at or how to get through a shitty day with a shitty boss.