Today, I’m going to lay out the means by which I’m conducting my search for the Millennial voices of Drive All Night. Hopefully this will clarify things for those of you looking to submit your own story or refer a friend to the project.
The question I always begin with, when talking to anyone for Drive All Night is “Are you happy with your life right now?” Because happiness – however you define that term – is what most Millennials are pursuing, and stories with heartening resolutions are the kind I’m looking to tell.
Now, let’s consider the word “happiness” more carefully. This is where the stories of Drive All Night will divert in unpredictable directions. For some of us, being happy could mean holding a job that you love, whether it’s hosting karaoke nights at a local dive bar, or providing clinical care to senior citizens. For others, the definition could refer to less categorical achievements; living in a tree house, traveling the world, or even surviving a grave illness. What matters most is that you are proud of what you have accomplished with your life thus far.
The other issue that I like to spend time discussing with each person is challenges; uncontrollable obstacles that make achieving happiness difficult for Millennials. Take today’s dismal job market, for instance. Finding livable employment at a time when almost all “entry level positions” somehow require “at least 2 years of relevant work experience” is not easy. Neither is saving money for major expenses like school, travel, or creative projects. Challenges like these require character and creativity to overcome.
That being said, Drive All Night is not a collection of Horatio Alger tales for Generation Y. It’s a look at success that also takes into account the diversity of Millennial experience. Privilege, poverty and circumstance allow each of us different doorways in life, and my goal is to go through as many of those doors as possible; challenging those who would attempt to generalize Millennials based upon the lifestyles of their own niche.
Starting next week, driveallnight.org will feature interviews with Millennial-aged Americans who have come forth with their own stories. I’d love to hear yours as well.