It’s almost ridiculous to think about the future because of how little control we actually have over it. How many times have you sat down to make a plan and it doesn’t turn out the way you expected? I know how you feel, and so does Megan Tan. She’s the mastermind behind the podcast Millennial.
As Megan says, her podcast series is about something no one really teaches you about: maneuvering your twenties. This is the first podcast I’ve listened to. There are 47 episodes, but since I’m trying to listen to a new podcast each week, I ended up listening to 15 episodes (finished the first season and started the second). If you’d like to start listening to podcasts too, here are the links to CastBox and Audible.
Just so you know, I don’t agree with Megan on everything, but I respect what she has to say and I think that millennials from all backgrounds can gain something from listening to this podcast. At first, I picked Millennial because each episode was shorter than other podcasts I tried to start. But I ultimately stuck with it because it’s easy to picture what Megan’s describing, and she’s not trying too hard. She’s just simply telling her story. Although her life experiences might not be applicable to everyone, her feelings are incredibly relatable for someone in their twenties who’s ever said to themselves, “I have no idea what I’m doing.”
To break down the 15 episodes I listened to, I’ve decided to pull out themes and concepts that I noticed throughout the series:
I regularly find myself feeling unhappy and unsatisfied in the present because I’m worried about the future. We’re always being told that the decisions we make in our twenties will decide our future, and that thought is often paralyzing. This is especially true when there are so many choices that have deadlines and expiration dates (i.e., applying for jobs and colleges, accepting or declining offers, etc.). How do we know these choices are right? Or what if we aren’t sure what choices are even available?
At the beginning of the series, Megan received an email from the director of photography at the LA Times offering her an internship. A dream opportunity. The decision had a deadline and saying, “Yes!” would mean changing almost every aspect of her life. Of course she was excited, at first. Then all of those fears about the future came creeping in. In the end, she had to make a decision based on the information she was given and hope that it would have a positive impact on her future. Have you ever been in this situation? What did you decide?
Megan explains that she stresses about her finances because she doesn’t want to end up in a situation where she needs to be dependent on others. I think that many of us share this fear because our families went through The Great Recession of 2007-2009, where we experienced what it was like to be in the presence of financial hardship. Personally, growing up during this time period shapes a lot of my actions. I am very nervous about debt, credit cards, and spending money in general.
Since that is the case, I’ve had to work some odd jobs. I’ve worked as a janitor, dishwasher, receptionist, and pest control technician (among other things). Megan spent more time than she wanted as a waitress. Yeah, some people our age are traveling the world while we’re doing these jobs… But it’s important to not worry about what other people think about what you’re doing. It might be a bummer that you’re a waitress while you’re figuring things out… but it’s a stepping stone. Be proud of what you’re doing to get yourself to where you want to go, even if it’s not glamorous.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy. We all have social media accounts where we see polished versions of our friends and family. We see strangers with sun-kissed skin on tropical vacations and we think, “I wish that was me.” The reality is, no one has the perfect life or the 100% ideal situation.
Megan experiences this throughout the series, both on social media and in her personal life with her boyfriend Ben. Ben starts to become successful at a faster rate than Megan, landing a position with a high-budget commercial. This leads to thoughts of being inferior to her significant other and resenting the idea of being “just he supporter.” By the end of the episode, she changes her tune and realizes that they are more of a partnership that needs to support each other, which gets rid of the resentment. The only thing comparison will do is keep you from becoming your best self.
Everyone has opinions. Your mom, dad, significant other, friends, doctors, neighbors, church leaders, coworkers, and siblings have opinions. And they all think they know what’s best for you. They care about you and want you to succeed, but in the end YOUR opinion is the only one that matters.
In the second episode of Millennial, Megan’s boyfriend’s father explains that you need to establish what your “line” is. Essentially, you need to decide what direction you’re going and where you want it to lead you. Once you’ve decided, don’t let others get in the way of what you’ve decided success is. It’s not going to make sense to a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to. Your opinion is the one that matters.
These four concepts are all too familiar for millennials. Tell me about your experiences. Would you add anything to this list?
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