In the digital economy, managing living expenses is a real challenge for emerging adults
Voices of Emerging Adults – Isabel’s Set-back:
“I have got to find a way to get out of here! This is not where I pictured myself at age twenty-two. I know I’m not the only person in my friend group to have to move back home to save up some cash but I feel like I’m in purgatory. I thought I was going to be able to make it work, living with two friends from high school and holding down two jobs this summer. It was really fun, actually, but Jess went back to school and Laura and I couldn’t swing the rent. It’s so hard living at home after having been out on my own. I have zero privacy and my parents are scrutinizing my every move. Every day we have less patience with each other. Today my father actually put a schedule up telling me when I’m allowed to use the washer and dryer. It’s like a police state. I tried to tell him how hard it was to lose my independence. He half-jokingly said, “It’s hard for me, too.” I used to like my dad’s sense of humor, but that comment really stung.”
“I really needed to Skype my college roommate for a while after that episode with dad. I had two good semesters at college, but I just got so overwhelmed with the tuition bills and I started second-guessing my major. So I took a leave of absence and took the two jobs. Since that didn’t work out, I’m having trouble staying positive. I know I should be doing more than applying for jobs online, but I just can’t get myself to actually go and talk to people.”
“It was my college roommate who talked me into counseling. The stress of keeping her grades up to keep her scholarship was really weighing her down last year. She said talking to a college counselor was really helpful.”
“When I first met with my counselor, I was doing a great acting job by being super-agreeable. It just seemed like another sign of my failure, sitting in that office, so I kind of wanted to keep my misery to myself. But after the third session, I could tell she wasn’t reacting to me the way my parents would if I told them how worried and lost I feel right now. She told me that setbacks are a normal part of young-adulthood. She didn’t freak out when I told her I slept until noon yesterday. I liked the
way she was trying to get me to see asking for help as a strength instead of weakness.”
“I guess I’ll keep going for a while. Still, I’m really having a hard time believing that things will get better. My energy just keeps dwindling. I wonder what the counselor would say if I told her how isolated I really feel? I was always kind of the quiet one in my group of friends in high school. I thought I was growing out of it. Now I can’t even seem to bring myself to go for a run without feeling self-conscious. I know I feel better when I get outside, but I really just want to curl up in my bed, or numb out on Netflix. I know it’s not getting me anywhere to binge watch tv but at least it’s an inexpensive break from the stress.”
What we can’t get from technology – why emerging adults need contemplative practices now
Technology is wonderful! I am after all writing this book on my laptop, on a program that helps me catch typos and make my points as clearly as possible. However, the pervasiveness of technology can trick us into thinking that we are physically evolving just as rapidly as our digital gadgets. We are much more than walking, talking, processing systems. Our physiology is the same as our grandparents and our great-great-grandparents. The human nervous system we all possess needs to be cared for and tended to with
great-great-grandparents. The human nervous system we all possess needs to be cared for and tended to with connection to community and the natural world. Imagine you have zero connection to other humans and zero connection to nature. Lonely and terrifying, isn’t it? You will start to understand the important role these connections play in our overall well-being. Direct experience (present-moment experience that employs use of the senses) as opposed to narrative experience (where we are planning or remembering) is the perfect complement to our tech- focused world. Direct experience is a main theme and mindfulness skill in the Center Points model…..
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