It's a problem of personal choices or of a lost generation?

I am 27 years old. I have a good job, not too bad paid, in a field that I like and that I find pretty good fun.

I have a wonderful family, my parents are married since 1979, I have 2 sisters that I love very much and I live with my boyfriend, waiting for the good moment for getting married.So, one may say, what’s the matter with you? Well, when I look at the future I’m not sure I’m going where I want, and I started believing I made something wrong. The problem is, I can’t see when and where.

I wanted to work in the art field, so I enrolled to one of the best Italian university and graduated in Art’s Management.

I wanted to open up my mind and broaden my boundaries, so I moved to India and lived there few years.

Homesick of my family and my country I came back to Italy, aged 25, and started feeling “late”. This is something I had alredy experienced in the past, while at University, but then, living abroad, I must have forgotten of this sense of never-ending hurry.

Today, 2 years later, I work with social media, and I believe I’m pretty good at it and quite estimated. So why this urgence to do more?

Well, I have 2 possible explanations:

  1. At some point I made the wrong choise, maybe going abroad instead of pursuing a career in the field I wanted to work in (art), maybe coming back in a moment when everybody feels like leaving.

  2. Its 'a generation problem: poor with good examples and firm points, we roam confusingly, not recognizing the success models of our parents on one hand, and not being able to build ours on the other.

Or maybe, it’s just the mix of the two…

Feeling lost

Hi Paola

Thanks for sharing your ryde with us. I think you make a valid point when you talk about the feeling of uncertainty that characterises our generation. I personally think it comes down to the fact that our generation - after so many that thought they knew exactly how the world should work according to definite political ideologies - is the first one to have experienced the ‘end of history’, and at the same time the utter failure of all systems that were imagined and implemented in the past. It’s a deep philosophical question, which expresses itself, however, in very real emotions in many of us. This sense of wanting to do something and at the same time not knowing exactly what or how is precisely what can be called the “transition” we are trying to address here on Edgeryders.

One question to you though: you say that going abroad felt eventually like a bit of a waste of time, and that you should perhaps have pursued a career at home. Is there nothing you feel you gained from being immersed in a different culture? I think this is important to investigate, as the given mantra is that spending time abroad is in general a good thing, but perhaps there are aspects that are not so positive and that need exploration…


Not a lost generation

First of all, definitely not a lost generation, maybe just a bit off road :slight_smile:

Then, a topic I try to answer every day: why this urge of doing something so early? so fast? I also have this problem, like I don’t have the time to just sit, breathe, maybe reboot. We want to reach 30 and have it all, don’t we? education, career, family, succes/ money…  Is this inherited from past models, from our parents? I think partly yes, but mostly because the world today is moving so fast and we don’t feel there’s any minute to waste.

I have pretty much the same great life as you mention having, less the job, but that doesn’t create frustration. I’ll solve that one way or another, but it’s important not to have any job. Neither a dream job, though. Finding what you love to do is important, no matter how much we try to skip this step.

Do you think it has to do less with having a job and being good at it (in your case social media) and more with being passionate about something? Try answer your question no.2, I’m curious. And then I’d like to talk some more… : ) And allow me to refer you to another Edgeryder who’s into ICT:  @edjenn …  thanks again!

Lost when everything moves so fast

Hello Paola and thank you for sharing this report,

I also have the same feeling from times to times… I keep asking myself if what I am living right now is what I was looking for and I was dreaming… I am not sure for the answer.

But I think the reason why you feel so lost is because we are living in a world that moves too fast to catch. We take decisions in 10 sec and we need to start implementing them at the exact same moment… we don’t have the time for a second thought and after years you realise that something wasn’t as you wanted to be (it is like the Butterfly effect)…

On the other hand, there is always time to change what you don’t like! You are still very young to change things and follow the path you’ ve dreamed of. If you think that following a career on Art Management would be a better option for you and you would be passionate about it, go for it! Try it and at the end, if it doesnt work at least you will have tried it! For me it is never late to try new things and explore new destinations.

If you were about to start all over again thinking just what yourself wants, what it would be? imagine the ideal future for you and then you will know. Even if I believe that already, deep inside you, you know the answer…

I am looking forward to hearing from you what you are thinking and what you decided to do :slight_smile:



Lost… as in passing through?

Paola, I have come across your mission report weeks  after you wrote it. Your story reminds me of three more people on Edgeryders:

  • Di, in Romania, trained to be a lawyer, who decided there was not enough meaning in her career, and ditched it
  • Rossella, in Italy, who did the same in economics
  • Marco, in Scotland, who feels personally fine but would like "to matter" more
I suggest you look at their stories. Do they resonate with you?

c’est normal !!!

Bonjour, Paola

Je comprends votre sentiment et je vous dis que vous n’êtes pas la seule, la plupart des gens, si je ne dis pas que tout le monde, ont posé ces questions au moins une fois dans leur vie, lorsqu’on détermine nos objectives, nos rêves, on agrandit l’imagination, après la réalisation de nos rêves, on se trouve devant une réalité, cette réalité presque toujours inférieur à celui de nos rêves, en ce moment, on pose la question; est que j’ai fait le meilleur choix? Pourquoi j’ai fait tout ça?

Dans ce cas-là, il vaut mieux y aller, vous ne regardez pas trop le passer, en toutes les cas le passer est une bonne expérience, " avec une réussite ou pas ", peut être vous n’avez pas choisi le bon pays pou immigrer… mais bref vous avez que 27 ans vous pouvez faire un changement.

Is it you, or is it the world?

Hello Paola,

I suggest looking deeper at your environments, and seeing if they are actually the kinds of places that Occupy! is protesting; in other words, maybe you are a fine round peg, and there are a bunch of square pegs near you. You could look for other areas where there are round holes, or you could go to the hardware store and on a small budget, buy a sureform rasp, or on a bigger budget, buy a big-bore power drill, and make the hole round!

This is a direct metaphor for how society is not working today. It is failing to address the real issues – pulling back from them and doing nothing because of the power of corporations in the related sectors.

We need to create a much larger framework, and then systematically, and in our own idiosyncratic ways, design and build new ways within it.


Mark Roest

Or is it neither?

Mark, I like your attitude! Certainly nothing that Paola wrote suggests there is anything wrong with her.

She wants to do more. Does it have to be a bad thing? A smart, successful person decides to question her own success and try to find a deeper meaning. I would take it as an opportunity: for Paola herself, and for us all. Maybe she will reach conclusions like these of Vinay’s; and this is likely to make a world a better, more interesting place.

Step back and refocus?

Hi Paola,

I agree with Alberto M-Z - I’m sure that your time in India will have been rich with wonderful experiences that have profoundly shaped your outlook and personal priorities.  I think it can be easy to overlook life events like this at times when we’re preoccupied with current anxieties - like finding meaningful work.  Maybe it would be worth reflecting on why you went travelling, and how your experiences might have helped you focus your ideas of how you want to create to a better society through your work.

My other thoughts relate to your interest in art - why did you choose to study arts management?  What would this career track have offered you that’s different from where you are now, in social media?  Are there any aspects of that career that you aspire to have in your current or future work?  Or is it the case that neither arts management nor social media really tick the boxes that your time travelling helped you to identify as the most important.

It can take quite a bit of courage, I think, to take the time to think through one’s past choices, including the chances not taken and how things have might have been different, but I think doing so can offer the clarity one needs to take bold steps forward to more fulfilling work.

Good luck!