An ode to self care

Illustration by Alex Hwee

Shaun Jackson
Staff Columnist

Recommended Listening While Reading: “20 Something” – SZA

Is there some sort of indicator to know you’re doing the right “thing” in life? Like, is our generation expected just to sacrifice happiness for the sake of a good paycheck?

First, take a deep breath. You might feel unfulfilled right now, but I think you’re exactly where you need to be. I have been thinking about this a lot as a 20-something myself, and let me tell you — I have friends who have graduated and are working jobs that don’t pertain to their degree at all just to get by. At the same time, I have friends who work jobs in the field of their degree, have full benefits and paid time off. The one thing we all have in common is we have no idea what we’re doing. Our generation wants control over our destiny so badly when in reality, no one has control over the grand scheme of things. We are so fixated on failing to be successful or never finding love that we fail to realize that we are successful and loved, and we have been this whole time. Even if the pace you are going isn’t the one you want now, you must remember it does not matter what pace you go so long as you do not stop.

How do we reconcile with trying to buy a house; make payments on a car, utilities, health insurance, etc; saving for retirement and all the other so-called adult things of life?

I’ve always contended that if you are willing and able, it is your moral imperative as a human being to make the world a slightly less heinous place. Of course, this is not an issue that can be answered within a certain word count. But as young people, we must realize the power that we have and what is ours to inherit. We have so much potential as a collective. Once we are able to realize and galvanize that power, we can become the shift we want to see whether it be socially, economically or whatever else you’d like to imagine. I do catch myself thinking about these things, but I always pull back to realize that all of these markets are constantly changing and might be completely different by the time we reach the point in our lives when we’ve decided we want those things. Be smart with your finances. Having a little money saved never hurt anybody, regardless of the economic climate.

I feel indebted to my parents to keep them financially secure as they age, and that puts a lot of strain on our already nonexistent relationship. I don’t want to leave them high and dry. How do I care for them and establish healthy boundaries to preserve my own sanity?

Even though your relationship is not all it could be, they have provided and cared for you thus far, so it is only natural to feel indebted to them. Formulate a plan! Especially as we begin to recognize our parent’s mortality it is important to think about their future. The tides have shifted and the tables have turned — now it’s your turn to take care of them. But at the same time you must remember that you are your own being and self-perseverance must also be prevalent in your plan. If you are able to, communicate with them consistently about how you feel and your plan going forward once you’ve hashed it all out. Don’t let them push your buttons. Parents know exactly which buttons to push because half of the time, they are the ones who installed them.

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