“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”
Magnet available from InnerCathedral on Etsy
One of my earliest childhood memories is of an Easter egg hunt that my dad’s company hosted when I was about three. On a sunny Saturday morning, the employees’ young children gathered in front of a building facing a big lawn where plastic eggs had been scattered. Someone said go, and a mob of older children sprinted onto the grass, grabbing eggs and shoving them into plastic bags. I was younger than most of the kids and wasn’t entirely sure what was happening. The eggs hadn’t been hidden well; it wasn’t a hunt so much as a race. My little legs couldn’t run very fast, and it seemed like every time my searching eyes spotted a brightly colored piece of plastic, someone else got to it before I did. Within a few minutes, all of the eggs had been captured. I had one lonely egg in my clear plastic bag.
We millennials are a generation of side-hustlers. We pursue multiple careers simultaneously. Some of us maintain day jobs as a financial necessity while we work to make our side gigs profitable, but others really love our full-time professions and just happen to love our after-hours work too. As teens, we were encouraged to be well-rounded and involved in everything. The standard advice was that having varied interests and doing lots of things would make us more appealing to colleges and, later, to employers. We were also told from a young age that we could do anything, and we perhaps internalized that message as being able to do everything. In a way, I suppose I’ve been side-hustling since I got my first part-time job at 14. If you count all of my middle school extracurriculars, my full schedule of simultaneous projects and goals started even earlier.
“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.”
Ceramic cup available from TheQuotedCup on Etsy
The public radio program On Being, as part of its Civil Conversations Project, recently aired an interview called “Repairing the Breach” (transcript). The show featured a white male Libertarian leader of the Tea Party movement, Matt Kibbe, and a black female millennial progressive leader, Heather McGhee, discussing how we can engage difference and better understand each other.
Near the end of the show (at 44:30), Heather brought up a conversation she had with Gary from North Carolina on a C-SPAN call-in show last year. Gary called into the show, admitted to being prejudiced, and explained why he thought he held certain attitudes. Then he asked Ms. McGhee how he could change, “to become a better American.” McGhee thanked him for his honesty and offered suggestions such as getting to know black families, reading books about the history of African-Americans in the U.S., or attending a black church. The video clip went viral.