Self-Evident Truths.

[This was a commentary response I made to an article in the NY Times about my generation regarding a young man who allegedly turned down an entry-level job w/a $40K salary in the hopes of something better. You can read the article itself by clicking HERE. After writing this tome of a reply, I figured it was blog-worthy. I would love your thoughts.]

Folks, I hate to be the bubble burster for everyone, but I don't mind doing it. Before I say anything else, let me state that I do fall into this 'millennial' category, being in my 20's, unemployed, and at home. Now if people were to take a scrutinizing, very detailed look at the shape of the economy, you would discover two things:

1.) The system, as it stands, was never meant, nor will it ever be meant, to help a 'so-called millennial' achieve anything but enter and remain a part of the seemingly endless cycle of debt that is to be fostered by these dead-end jobs and non-mobile employment opportunities.

2.) Said system, as time progresses, is only becoming progressively worse. The value of a college degree has fallen to that of a High School diploma, and those continuing on with their education looking for higher wages will find themselves unpleasantly surprised, when the fruit of their labors leaves them in a position similar to those of us who stopped the college-train at a Bachelor's Degree. And with decidedly more debt.

I suppose I can't speak for other millennials, but my personal experiences have led me to believe that earning money and providing for oneself are two entirely different agendas. One can very easily find themselves in a cushy six-figure job with benefits and still be living a terrible life or lifestyle. On the other end of that double-edged sword, one could be like me, confident in my goals [as an aspiring musician], working towards something greater and with more value. In my case, that thing of value is the pursuit and perpetuation of the arts.

I don't deny that we as citizens of a capitalist society are programmed to be on the hunt for financial stability; it may as well be the other American creed next to the opening lines to the Constitution. What society in general has lost, in my opinion, are the values behind that type of stability. I refuse to demean myself or lower my set of standards chasing the 'Almighty Dollar;" to me, that is a deplorable kind of chase, best suited for dogs and their chew-toys. Many of you will read this and surmise that I'm ungrateful and riding a very high horse; I've thought of you all too.

I know how very lucky & blessed I am to have a family who not only supports my dreams, but allows me the space to pursue them. I do not feel that I retain a sense of entitlement, and if such a feeling does exist, it is grossly overshadowed by my desire to do something better with my life (i.e. music). I do understand that a musician's life falls into its own special category, but the same goes for any millennial wishing to create a life for themselves that has purpose and meaning. We desire more because we know that so many before us have settled; we have more patience and planning skills because we don't want to fall into the money-traps and career-pitfalls our parents and grandparents have fallen into; we know that we can do better because even though tomorrow might not be promised, the future still looks brighter than we could ever imagine, and I for one am not about to give up those possibilities, or trade them in for a sweet 401K or hedge fund.

With all of this said, I have no problem holding down a job to cover necessary expenses incurred as a young American citizen; I am in the midst of heading back into the work force within the next 90 days. I have no problem creating a sustainable lifestyle so as to be a functioning member of society. I likewise have no problem passing on that ideal to my peers or my descendants; simply put, sometimes you do what you gotta do. But all this is serving a higher purpose, which is to create a life that is fulfilling, meaningful, and provides society with something more than just a tax ID number.

The American Dream is indeed elusive, because all it will ever be is a dream. Property, wealth, and prosperity are all material and temporal ideals; such things do not equate with being content in one's living. The reality of life is that it is filled with hardships and trial. The truly 'elite' of our society live lives knowing that the best moments are found in the good times sought in between those hardships while in pursuit of common truths and veritable happiness.