Millennials and The Big 3
by Trapper S. Kinchen
The milestones we reach on the path of self-discovery remind us how far we’ve come. Of all the goals we meet on life’s journey, few are more significant or intimidating than “The Big 3.” They are the holy trinity of personal growth—leaving home, forming adult relationships, and pursuing a career—and, like each generation before us, we must rely on our faith in order to move out, move on, and move forward.
“I thought being alone meant that I would be lonely.” –Keli Hayden
According to Business Insider, 32% of people eighteen to thirty-four live with their parents, and—when you first join the workforce—staying at home can be a great way to build financial momentum. However, for many millennials, living with family sometimes leads to low self-esteem.
Until recently, twenty-six-year-old Keli Hayden was one of the 32% still in the nest. She graduated from Southeastern in 2012, and worked several small jobs before taking her current position a year and a half ago. Yet, in spite of her many successes, she was hesitant to live alone.
In January, she decided it was time to strike out on her own. So, with all her belongings loaded into the bed of a pickup, she moved into a small apartment about fifteen minutes away from her childhood home. It was a hasty but necessary transition. She said, “I needed a chance to get to know myself, all by myself.”
Hayden was nervous about being alone, but she pushed her insecurity aside and took a leap of faith. Despite her initial hesitation, she had no trouble adapting to life on her own. She said, “I’ve been completely surprised at how okay I am just spending time with myself. I thought that being alone meant I would be lonely, but that isn’t true at all.”
Her new address has become a safe haven. Hayden is now able, for the first time, to do the sort of peaceful soul-searching that leads to personal growth. She said, “I find that I’m devoting a little more time to regularly reading my Bible. It used to be difficult for me to be alone in the quiet. I was afraid of it, but now, I find it relaxing.”
Hayden’s decision to be independent is the most positive choice she’s ever made. Not only has it given her room to breath, but it’s also allowed her to mature. She said, “It has been a great opportunity for me to trust myself, and being self-reliant has been great for my confidence.”
Many millennials, like Hayden, battle uncertainty, but leaving home is a decision we all must eventually make. Let the Lord guide you, and listen to the urging of the Holy Spirit. If fear is holding you back, consider following Hayden’s lead, and let faith guide you to independence.
“I used to be codependent.” –Cara Turnage
Millennials are slowly starting to settle down. Indeed, many of us are already well on our way to finding true love, and that pursuit often leads to unexpected self-discovery. Our strengths, flaws and insecurities are easily exposed when we open ourselves up to someone else. So, learning how to cultivate authentic relationships is one of the most important parts of growing up.
Cara Turnage is a real-life example of how searching for romance can lead to personal growth. After nearly a decade of dating, she recently became engaged to her longtime boyfriend. She’s twenty-four, and despite her relative youth, has devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort to building a strong romantic relationship.
When she first started dating, Turnage said, “I was very codependent.” She formed unhealthy attachments, and often found herself being needy. However, once she began spending time with her now-fiancé, she started doing some deep self-reflecting.
Initially, Turnage and her fiancé fell into a destructive pattern of separating and getting back together. Then, after realizing their relationship was unstable, they began working on themselves independently. He joined the military and served in Afghanistan, and she learned to appreciate herself as an individual.
After taking some time away from dating, Turnage shed her codependence. She said, “I grew out of it. A lot of that has to do with finding peace. His deployment to Afghanistan taught me how to be totally by myself. It was such a healthy period of self-discovery.” She is now entirely comfortable being alone, and that has helped her create a healthier partnership with her fiancé.
They will be married this April Fools’ Day in front of a small group of family and close friends. Although much thought has gone into planning the wedding, the bulk of Turnage’s energy has been dedicated to preparing herself for matrimony. She is completely focused on building a marriage based on communication and mutual respect, rather than concentrating all her efforts on the ceremony.
There’s a great deal of truth in the saying, “You can only live with someone else after you’ve learned to live with yourself.” God wants us to be whole, happy and healthy individuals, and learning how to be better on our own positively impacts our relationships. It is smart to approach a partnership the way Turnage has, with a focus on communication, understanding and empathy.
“There’s more to being alive than working nine to five.” –Ross Kinchen
Most of us are just beginning to enter the job market, and according to Time, there are more than 55 million millennials currently active in the American workforce. So, whether you’re searching for a job or trying to start a life-long profession, you probably realize how much is at stake. It might seem hard to settle on a career path when your future happiness hangs in the balance, but making the right choice is easier than you think.
My brother, Ross Kinchen, is twenty-four years old and a recent college graduate. Last August, he started working for a land surveying company in Houma, and even though he’s still a rookie, he has developed a real passion for his work.
Most people will tell you that loving your job and achieving long-term success go hand in hand, and they’re right. It has been proven that when you pursue your passion, you’re more likely to experience career fulfillment. And workplace satisfaction is particularly important when you’re first getting started.
Of course, finding fulfillment through employment does not always translate into a large paycheck or plenty of time off. But, if you enjoy what you do, work is often its own reward. Kinchen said, “The thought, ‘Wow, I have to do this for the rest of my life’ sometimes crosses my mind, but I’m constantly reminded of how much I love what I do.”
Finding an ideal occupation can be a long process, so don’t be afraid to explore every opportunity that presents itself. Before you settle into something, be sure you’ve investigated your options. Kinchen said, “You’ve got to begin somewhere, so just start trying things out.” Be curious, put forth as much effort as possible, and, before you know it, you’ll stumble onto a job that brings you joy.
For Kinchen, one of the greatest rewards of hard work is feeling purposeful. He said, “Being personally and financially independent is priceless. It’s also a huge self-esteem booster.” Responsibility, personal growth and peace are all interconnected, so the more we trust ourselves, the more mature we become.
It’s also important to bear in mind that having an active career is only a one part of leading a full life. Kinchen says, “There’s more to being alive than working nine to five.” He’s right. After all, the Lord designed us to be both industrious and multidimensional. He wants us to have fun, serve others, and do the best we can in all aspects of our lives.
No matter where you might be in the process of tackling “The Big 3,” remember there is no greater ally or advisor than the Lord. Self-doubt, anxiety and fear of the unknown will surely do their best to keep you from experiencing the kind of self-discovery God has in store for you. But nothing can hold you back when you trust yourself and rely on faith. You are capable of doing anything well, so long as you’re determined.
Trapper was born on the lip of Lake Pontchartrain. He was raised there, reading in the salt-flecked breeze on a splintered wharf that jutted into south Pass. Never bored, he divides his time between trying to raise organic chickens in the Livingston Parish piney woods, traveling to different time zones, and exercising his mind by steadily learning as much as he can. He graduated from Lsu in 2013 and Wayne state university in 2015. He is a busy fiction writer and contemplative naturalist. He has a great time living life.