Welcome to Drive All Night: aka, what I’ve been working on for the past five months!
Whether you’ve been directed here through Facebook stalking, a referral from friends, or a web search for Bruce Springsteen concert videos, I’m beyond thrilled to finally announce this project publicly. For Drive All Night is a double-headed beast: a blog, but also, a forthcoming book about the tribulations and triumphs of Millennial-aged Americans.
Since the premise and context of this project have already been explored in the pages above (see About and Millennials to catch up), I’d like to take this inaugural post as an opportunity to provide a more personal window into the motivation behind Drive All Night.
As a kid in suburban Massachusetts, I was fortunate enough to grow up in an intrepidly-minded household. What my parents didn’t have in money, they made up for in spirit. Creativity was encouraged. Dreams were seen as stepping stones to an interesting life. And ethics always trumped affluence. By the time I’d grown a beard, cleaned my room with a pressure hose, and left home, I felt ready to step into a new pair of shoes and take the most intriguing road that lay before me; to a fulfilling end.
Finding my way through young adult life wasn’t easy. I couldn’t afford to spend my summers working unpaid internships and instead worked grueling jobs, some in very strange places. I switched majors mid-way through college, walking away from one of the most hyped film schools in the world in the process. At times, I even injured myself physically, tearing ligaments in my feet or twisting my spine until it resembled a giant rotini noodle.
What allowed me to bounce back from every hiccup in life was reinforcement from the people around me that I could bounce back. That I’d pass all my exams. That I’d earn enough money to make it through the next school year. That I’d find something interesting to do with my life after receiving my diploma and jumping into the abyss called “real life.” And guess what? All three of those things happened.
Being young today is especially tough. Thanks to the architects of the recession, millions of Millennials have worked their way through college only to discover, upon graduation, that the entry-level job market has gone the way of the dinosaurs. With few means of paying back the loans they used to fund their education, many Millennials have found themselves lost and buried beneath crippling debt. Meanwhile, those who have found jobs are struggling to afford higher costs of living on grim salaries.
I have experienced many of these hardships myself. For the past five years, the struggles of my generation have been explored extensively in media. And with good reason. But what about those who have managed to overcome great obstacles through their own effort? In harsh times, those very stories that can cultivate strength within ourselves. Each of us has to blaze our own path through life, yet how can we even swing the pickaxe without the presence of wild, crazy hope?
Drive All Night is and always will be a vehicle for stories of victory. For Millennials, terms like “happiness” and “wealth” are being redefined in exciting ways. If you’re between ages 18 and 33, and feel that you have achieved one or both of the two, telling your story to the world could do greater good than any gift measured in dollars or cents.
I look forward to hearing yours soon.