Social Norms

“Acquire an education, a degree (preferably before your thirties…), move out, get a job (you don’t have to like it; bills won’t pay themselves…), buy or rent a house, start a family, and if you’re lucky enough you should retire early with incoming pension benefits… Basically, by a certain age, you should have it all figured out…” then you cross path with someone who is totally breaking the status quo, barely meets any of these requirements and they are living their best life ever.

That’s amazing, isn’t it? But, on a much more serious note, who set up this criteria in the first place? They do, however, change with each generation. We’ve all assumed that it would be simple at some point, so we’ve all gone and planned ahead without any contingency; in other words, we design our life by minimizing hurdles. I understand that some folks are privileged enough to have everything mapped out for them so they might not have to worry about this thing called life. But do they define or represent the common people? Certainly not.
On one hand, if we Ask Gen z (1997-2012) what they do for a living, chance are you will hear something like: “I’m an entrepreneur/influencer/investor, just bought my first house and a car, married with a kid…” They probably have it all figured out right! Bubbly, in shape and still find time to socialise. Whilst on the other hand if you ask Millennials (1981-1996), they are mostly exhausted, they have a 9 to 5 job that they are probably trying to quit so they can focus more on their side hustle (if any of course )but business finances must come from somewhere right? Here we have two generations with very different views on how to tackle societal norms if not society itself.

Don’t get offended if the cashier at the convenience shop is often grumpy, or if a bank teller snaps at you for no apparent reason, or if a lecturer won’t listen to a point you’re trying to make because he or she feels challenged or disrespected. Each of these individuals will rationalise their anger for various reasons, whether or not they are linked to their jobs. Confucius said: Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life. But can we take a moment to clarify that being passionate about something and choosing it as a career path are two different things? Just because you choose a job you love or are passionate about doesn’t mean you won’t have one of those days when you second-guess your decisions, days when you don’t want to leave the house, days when you feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know what’s going on. We’ve all had those days where we feel compelled to put on a brave face, show up, and get the camera ready when all we want to do is relax.
Overwork and burnout are lauded and promoted by this generation until you’re knocked out or hospitalized due to weariness.  I recall reading somewhere that “Some people are in grind mode and waking up today to hustle. Some are in healing mode and waking up to unpack some traumas. Some are in mental wellness mode and wake up whenever they feel like it. Everyone isn’t waking up to the same day but everyone is doing what they need to do…”. and it smacked me square in the face. The majority of individuals in the virtual world are unlikely to sit you down and explain things to you, even if some make an attempt to do so (the success stories we so much love hearing about) is that you will slip and fall more than you think until you eventually get a grasp, yes, I said get a grasp, not close to victory or success yet, but a glimmer of hope that this could truly work. Be the one-hit-wonder you’ve been hoping for all along. Usain Bolt once said: “I trained 4 years to run 9 seconds and people give up when they don’t see results in 2 months”.

Winning is a process that takes time and effort and we eventually get a glimpse of it after multiple attempts. Whether you can keep it or not is totally up to your management skills and how much you want it. It’s possible that being purpose-driven and enthusiastic is the reason you show up every day and refuse to allow external obstacles to stop you from achieving your goals. It might not be the most direct path to ones objectives, but it all adds up to a beautiful testimony and story that will one day be shared with a smile on ones face to inspire others around us. The battle never ends, but it will surely forge your entire being.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nadjath Akanni
COMMENT (6)
Norah Nabbosa / 29 November 2021

This is beautifully written. Great read

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Nadjath Akanni / 16 December 2021

Thanks dear

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Takudzwanashe / 7 December 2021

Some people are bitter because they are living their parent’s dreams and the social norms have imprisoned them.

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Nadjath Akanni / 16 December 2021

yeah I couldn’t agree more they played it safe all their life

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Ebrima Ndow / 10 December 2021

Interesting read, a lot of people with relate to this. You’re definitely right about how different generations look at the path they should venture into for success.

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Nadjath Akanni / 16 December 2021

yeah and it keeps changing with each generation however to each its own definition of success

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