Mom frequently proclaimed the world was going to Hell in a handbasket. Thankfully, gloomy forecasts never reached global apocalypse. However, Mom’s diatribes on eroding standards of living reveal visionary socioeconomic insight. The giant sucking sound never stops as blue-collar jobs flow to South Korea, China, and Mexico. The dot-com bubble burst, leaving jobless geeks to deal with fallout from the "Dot-Bomb Era."
By 2011, state college tuitions had skyrocketed to 559% of their cost in 1985, while typical consumer price indices had merely doubled. Recession, the housing bust, the credit crisis, fiscal failures, and budgetary bootstrapping have crapped on our American Dream. Young adults graduating in the cold of glacial economic recovery face uncertain futures as the vanguard of an entire generation who could fail to surpass the wealth achieved by parents. So many bright and shiny futures have sunk like a turd in a punchbowl.
Until recently, the death of our American Dream existed as metaphor in dreary tales by Raymond Carver. But there’s nothing symbolic about disappearing pensions, expiring salaries, and limp "unenjoyment" paychecks. Life on this Big Blue Marble during the 21st century has turned leaner, meaner, and fiercely competitive. So how’s a millennial gonna score some success up in this piece? Inexplicably Tony Robbins won't return my calls but I can still drop some knowledge on 3 attributes among Millennials that guarandamntee their success, even as the dark shadow falls across Middle-Earth.
1. Excellent diet:
In "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World," Brandon Routh, a member of the "League of Evil Exes," has super-powers energized by his vegan diet. "When you get right down to it, vegans are just better than other people," Routh claims. However, Brandon suddenly loses epic strength and the battle after Scott tricks him into drinking half and half.
Sure, vegans seem uppity, but they show good sense disdaining our dietary trash heap. Most of us exercise, often with motivation to feed vanity and a taste for pizza. Exercise aside, greasy fuel sources make you a drowsy competitor. Greens and black beans cost less than packaged swill and power up lasting energy levels through healthy nutrition. OK, enjoy meat and dairy, but only in moderation. Bear in mind that your adult body houses 60 – 90 trillion cells and they have appetites. Treat 'em right and they’ll help you outperform sluggish rivals.
Salt, sugar, and fat pollute all our popular junk food brands. Imagine them as weapons in the food industry’s war on flat stomachs and tight buns. Mentally relabel processed goodies as digestive comas in a box, ending with binges, shame, and unpleasant potty breaks. In years to come you’ll bypass competitors who miss work or die from all-American maladies such as high blood pressure, obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease after countless meals at the trough, gulping garbage on the go.
2. Evolve genuine style:
Seinfeld coined a popular epithet by regularly denigrating Cosmo Kramer's wacky sense of style founded on a love for cigars, vintage wardrobe, and an upright "hairdon’t." At one point, the show's main character, Jerry, can’t hold back his frustration for Kramer, complaining, "He is such a hipster doofus, and has not changed at all since college. Do you think he knows he is a hipster doofus?"
A restrained and cultivated approach to personal cool can deepen your pool of romantic partners and possible job offers. Yes, shop-teacher glasses, handlebar mustaches, and bow ties seem all the rage, but your très chic accouterment could magnetize posers while repelling haute babe intellectuals and potential hiring managers.
Go ahead, tell your reflection, "Daaaamn, I got so much swag," but listen for snorts and giggles in your wake. Remember trucker hats? Enduring style springs from classic taste and quality threads, not Ashton Kutcher’s moronic fashion sense.
Please disregard this section if you have a degree in computer science.
3. Plan for early retirement:
Good news! By the time you arrive, 65 will have become the new 45. Scrimp now or plan for so much less once you withdraw from the rat race. Want a tiny mortgage, a giant porch, and time to rock without financial woes? Well, you better make hay while the sun still shines through ozone. Quaint concepts like retirement income, pensions, golden years, and the middle class will look like skeletal slices on socioeconomic pie charts, sandwiched between the superrich and the poor who comprise most of this last course.
Bid farewell to halcyon days when you covered bills, then torched fat checks on smoked porter and medical maryjane. Dudes and dudettes gearing up for the long haul down leaner futures won't settle for ordinary Neanderthals who rarely mature before their mid-30s. If you want a spouse, a house, kids, and something to divide at your divorce, better straighten up and fly right, soldier.
Pour chump change into a 401K, not down your throat. Granted, the American Dream is fading fast, but may yet come true for gals and geeks who honor sacrifice early through staycations, knockoffs, high mileage compacts, and jealous appreciation for table scraps. Chin up, kiddos, tribal wars harvesting human flesh as Earth’s only sustainable resource won’t begin before the 23rd century.