As we gracefully stumble into our twenties, we start to see our future take shape … and then we expect it to materialize faster than a crowd of frat boys around free beer. We are the instant gratification generation. Need an answer? Google it. Need to show a friend your new dress? Text it to her. Want to order a pizza? There’s an app for that. We are so used to carrying the world around in our pocket that we expect to dream of something, decide we really want it, and wake up the next day with it tucked neatly under our pillow like a dollar from the Tooth Fairy.

The truth is, we aren’t supposed to be completely settled. Many of us are frantically trying to find a job that justifies our expensive college degrees and pays enough to start slowly eating into the interest our loans rack up daily.

We forget that our love lives are supposed to be a little bit torrid and strewn with missed connections, what-ifs, and the obvious mistakes. We learn who we want to surround ourselves with while finding out who we definitely don’t. A broken heart is a tragedy, but it’s also a lesson in perseverance and reclaiming our own self-worth. We forget that our generation is lucky enough to be afforded a grace period between college and living in suburbia with 2.5 kids and a golden retriever like many past generations have been expected to.

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Our careers are naturally little fragile baby birds fresh from the egg just waiting to take off. Our bank accounts are meager but keen to grow. Being the grunt (an inevitable fate early on) teaches us the humility to take criticism and spin it into tangible proof of our growth as a person and a professional. It will help us be good bosses someday when we have grunts, gophers, and interns of our own. Doing the work from the bottom up will make us good leaders when we get to the top of the ladder and everyone is looking up at us looking for answers. We will actually be qualified for the positions we hold. And getting paid for standing in line with Starbucks is kind of awesome, because we do that for free all the time anyway.

So, are we expecting too much? No, we aren’t.

We are just expecting it to happen more quickly than is realistic and more easily than is accurate. We are reluctant to struggle and clip coupons and earn our stripes. We want our fabulous jet-setting lives, full of designer bags, and fresh from the factory cars and financial security but we don’t want to have to wait the estimated 10 years it takes for those things to because actualized. Having a lot of ambition is good, but it also needs to come with the drive to make those aspirations actually happen by putting in the work and the time.

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So be patient, young grasshopper, and your time with come.

Photo via Flickr