Today I thought I would give you a break from me panicking and share with you an article about our generation and some of my thoughts about it. The article I’m referring to is “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy” and it was published on the Huffington Post last month.
Part 1: GYPSYs
The article talks about Generation Y, namely people born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s, and in particular about yuppies in Generation Y. For those who may not know what a yuppy is, yuppies are young urban professionals. Basically young professionals with a good job. The articles focuses on GYPSYs, that is Generation Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies.
According to the article a GYPSY thinks that she/he is the main character of a very special story, which is great but also turns out to be the reason for which many GYPSYs are unhappy. The article well underlines that happiness depends on expectations. If our expectations are very high and reality doesn’t match them, we’re unhappy. Whilst if we have very low expectations but reality turns out to be super cool, we are very happy. (I may add expectations change quickly in a new setting, but that is another story)
GYPSYs tend to have really really high expectations. One of the reasons to explain this is that their parents come from a generation that worked really hard to get out of the difficulties of the previous generation. And going through years of economic prosperity and more positive life experience, our parents raised us up with “a sense of optimism and unbounded possibility”. The problem being that all GYPSYs all over the world believe that they are the main character of a very special story. GYPSYs don’t just need a career, they need rewards and dreams in their jobs. And in a moment of economic crisis, it is not easy to accommodate a lot of people belonging to a generation eager to not just have a job, but also make a difference and fulfill their dreams. I love this drawing in the article:
Anyways, you can read the article to get more specific, but this is a general idea.
Part 2: Am I a GYPSY?
I think I could be classified as a GYPSY, despite the fact that I originally come from lower class, and now I’m more somewhere in the middle. My grandparents went through war and hunger, came from tiny villages in the middle of nowhere and had no money. My parents were the first in their families to go to University, get a degree, get a job other than construction worker or cleaning lady (all my aunts and uncles). They spent their adult lives paying the mortgage for their flat since they had no financial help from my grandparents and they never had much time or financial resources to really just have fancy and fun vacations.
I was brought up with this sense of revenge and wonder powers. Compared to them I had it all: parents that supported me, enough welfare to be able to go to school without working, access to anything I wanted (within reason), etc. With the price to pay that I had to be super excellent at school and aim high. Very high. My dad in particular believes in me as if I could become the president of the world anytime soon. Just the other day, after a big achievement at work, he told me: continue like this, next step you’ll be the president of your organisation. I don’t even want to become president of anything!
You see where the issue is. If I haven’t let down my dad in my career (despite not being the president of the world), any failure has been hard to accept. First of all, school, which came with the realization that I was not the prettiest of them all. Then, high school, where I found out I was also not the most fun of them all. Then getting dumped for the first time, which made me realize I may not be the most wanted person and may not make all men the happiest man on earth. Then a first rejection for a job, which made me panic at the idea that nobody may ever want me to work for them. So on so forth. I got over all this and of course have a better idea of my limits and qualities now. It’s just part of growing up.
Part 3: GYPSYs and Infertility
Part of this delusional idea that we are to have a perfect and successful life is that of course we’re meant to found the perfect families. I carry on hearing parents that tell their children (of any age): when you’ll have children, when you’ll have your own family, etc. We grew up with the idea that we’ll have kids like our parents did except that it’ll be better for us because we’ll have more resources, we’ll travel more etc. We have also gotten used to success through having succeeded with our studies and careers.
But then Mother Nature decided to stop our delusional wonder powers and let us know that we could not have that perfect beautiful child, conceived on our honeymoon in a night with a wonderful full moon reflecting its image on the ocean in desert island, all perfectly timed so that the child would also be born in the month of May so that she (of course it’ll be the baby girl I had always dreamt of) would come like a flower in spring and she would be of our favourite star sign, etc. [For the record, I’m just making this up.. but you get the point..]
You see where the problem is, right? We expect everything to be so perfect that when it is not we are not just upset but have a complete breakdown.
The Huffington Post’s article gives three pieces of advice to GYPSYs to avoid depression in their career in a world with limited opportunities. I think this is good advice for us too in the world of infertility:
1) Stay wildly ambitious. While I think this works better for careers and that we need to understand we do have a problem, we should not give up our dream to become parents until it’s really too late, too much to take, or until we are well in another type of life. I also think we should stay ambitious with everything else in life (e.g. career). It’s not because we’re infertile that we should feel less good at our jobs, even if it’s easy to feel like that.
2) Stop thinking that you’re special. I still think everyone is special but realizing that I’m just a person among millions of others and that Mother Nature does not own me a child has helped me a lot. I learnt a lot of humility through this crappy infertility process. And I understood a lot better what a gift a child would be.
3) Ignore everyone else. Looking at other people’s happy lives can hurt, especially when they rub it in your face more or less voluntarily. As hard as it is, we should think of ourselves, and the good things we have despite the lack of children, and, when needed, enter a bubble that protects us. We can get out of the bubble when we go through better times and when we feel stronger.
This post has a lot of stereotypes and generalizations. I know this stuff doesn’t apply to everyone. But I just wanted to share these thoughts.