The state of our country is changing, and that’s thanks in large part to our desires being shaped by the younger, more educated (and entitled) Generations X and Y. Instead of fitting into the historically perfect boxes that society has placed on young adults and families in the past, we are redefining the norm of what it means to be happy and make a living.
For most of our parents, happiness was an 8 to 5 job that put food on the table. Many of our mothers were homemakers and our dads were breadwinners. The perfect home had just under three kids (statistically speaking), a dog named Rufus, and was happily nestled in the burbs because the city was no place to raise a family, thanks to expensive price tags and growing crime rates.
Challenging the status quo
I think joy looks much different to us than it did our parents, and those factors are partially to blame for the restructuring of the American landscape.
I think new environmental, financial and educational stressors have help reshape our priorities as well as our desire for real happiness.
The youthful generations are challenging the status quo of the “normal” life in hopes of something more fulfilling, they’re struggling to pay back student loans or they feel little connection to the slower, more rural ideology. We feel less obliged than any generation before us to marry, move from our bustling city apartments or have kids. Perhaps, because we’ve been raised with more (and sometimes better) options being a mere swipe away.
Sustainability, and sticking it out in the city
We also feel a growing an innate responsibility to protect our world by adopting more sustainable living habits, like living in a place that requires a shorter commute. Though, city high rises might carry a heavier price tag than rural rentals, their convenience to local entertainment and work (as well as requiring minimal wear and tear on a vehicle), make the gap between prices easier to stomach. Additionally, city dwellers tend to make more money than their counterpoints.
Renting, though prices will continue to increase, creates a lifestyle that is more flexible from year to year.
Maybe it’s our education, a wanderlust nature or our connection with the digital age that’s shapes our new ideas of happiness and responsibility, but I think a redefining America has a lot to do with searching for a more fulfilling life under new and different financial and worldly circumstances.