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annehelenpetersen70 karma

IT IS SO WILD TO ME. I think a lot of older people think that millennials are still teens? How is this happening?

annehelenpetersen60 karma

So much of this has to do with the current iteration of the "Protestant" work ethic, which valorizes not just work, but work with INCREASED returns/profits/growth. You can't just turn a profit. You have to make exponentially MORE profit every year, which usually means sacrificing and cutting costs (and exploiting workers/the earth/etc) to do so. You can see how this philosophy gets mapped, in a sort of perverse way, onto ourselves: you can't just be "good" at something; you have to be "the best" (and always improving, always optimizing!) The best hobbies = ones that you suck at and have no aspirations to truly "master"!

annehelenpetersen29 karma

I will say that I've heard from a lot of women who've arrived at this point in their 30s, and I don't know exactly what to make of it — does it mean that women are just less willing to tolerate this bullshit cycle for the rest of our lives, when we know that no matter how hard we work we're still going to get fucked by sexism/the patriarchy? Does it mean that men don't feel like they have this, uh, "luxury"? I'd love to hear more of your thoughts.

annehelenpetersen24 karma

That would be *such* a great area of research (and one that would require Japanese fluency) but I would love to read it. I do think there are some parallels between the way that the Greatest Generation (which went through The Great Depression and then WWII) became conditioned to precarity....clearly millennials aren't dealing with events as cataclysmic, but there's something to be said for what happens to the psychology of a generation when they're always expecting the other shoe to drop. (Most millennials I know were not at all surprised that the pandemic fucked up our lives in this way — of COURSE shit was going to hit the fan sooner or later)

annehelenpetersen18 karma

This is a great question, and you are not alone in being someone who's reached their mid- late-30s, looked up from their lives, and realized: how long can I sustain this? Am I living my life? What else is there besides my ability to work? Since you have four kids, there's obviously other parts of your world out there to ground you, but my biggest recommendation is trying to figure out spaces in your life to do things that really do feel meaningful to you, not because they look good to others, or because they meet the standard of what a "good" worker or "good" parent should be, but because you recognize them as nourishing in some way. I know that's a vague answer, but trying to make space for that is a good first step.