North Texas Daily

Society should not demand us to have our lives figured out already

Society should not demand us to have our lives figured out already

Society should not demand us to have our lives figured out already
April 25
12:00 2022

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

This is probably the most common question kids get from adults, from the age they know what it means up until they pick a career.

People should not be required to know exactly what they want to do with their lives from such a young age. It is ridiculous to expect people to make a decision of that magnitude so early in life, especially a decision that could make or break their lives.

Making any sort of major, life-changing decision is difficult. There is a lot of pressure from society to immediately succeed at everything you do. Why is it still such a huge aspect of life to know exactly what your plans are for your life, from where you want to live to how many kids you want to have and when you want to retire? 

Capitalism is one of the biggest sources of this immense societal pressure to get started in life as quickly and confidently as possible.

Capitalism, the United States’ main economic system, is fueled by the policy of “greed is good,” according to an article published by Teen Vogue. This little phrase could not be more perfectly representative of the state of societal norms regarding self-initiative, even though it does not directly relate to the context of knowing what you want to do with your life.

Instilling the idea in people that “greed is good” within the context of the workplace or getting your life started is morally wrong. This encourages people to just take, regardless of the repercussions on their future. It also teaches kids, teenagers and young adults that taking what you want without looking back is okay, which is incredibly dangerous.

However, this being said, this phrase does have a possible positive connotation. Teaching people to go after what they want, rather than take what they want, is a fantastic thing to do. This encouragement is exactly what we need to be doing with younger generations, rather than pressuring them to figure things out, sans guidance.

Raising children with drive and initiative makes such a positive impact on their future, even if adults don’t fully realize it.

A parenting article suggests the same thing: raising children to have initiative will give them the confident ability to problem-solve on their own and be able to figure things out regarding their life paths. By doing this, those children will have an immense advantage over those who do not have any skills similar to these. 

If we want to teach children and teenagers these things, however, we must demand that society change its ways according to how we want people to respond to questions about their future. 

Supplementing younger generations, and even older ones, with outlets to actually help figure out what they want to do with their lives is the proper thing to do instead of telling them to do it and pushing them out into the real world without any preparation.

Guiding them, telling them it’s okay to be unsure about things and reassuring them that it is okay to change their minds — this is how we must prepare people for not only just jobs but the lives they have ahead of them.

Knowing that everything will work out eventually is a game-changer, despite life in general or the future seeming absolutely terrifying. Millions of teenagers, students, bosses and parents would take such immense comfort in the release of that intense pressure to constantly be competent and composed.

We must, as a society and a group of people with a common struggle, normalize being unsure.

The funny thing is: there were never any set rules about any of this set in place. One day, someone just decided to do something and then everybody else followed suit. Take comfort in the fact that all of this so-called pressure that society places on people’s shoulders is really just a handful of made-up qualms about what things are “supposed” to be like.

Featured Illustration By Erika Sevilla

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Natalie VanDerWal

Natalie VanDerWal

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