Don’t ask me what I’ve achieved at my age

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3 Millennials Share How They Were Able to Buy a Condo in Their 20s

How This Millennial Built a Multi-Million Peso Business in One Year

In their 20’s and already successful entrepreneurs

These are actual headlines that I saw from various publications. I see these kinds of articles all the time. The body of these pieces contain anecdotes on how young people are able to achieve marvelous feats and become successful so early in life. They are presented as these hard-working and clever people who found, discovered, or created something that made them rich. These articles are meant for those who are in the same age group as them, or perhaps a few years younger than them. Seeing their accomplishments are supposed to make us feel like we can do anything. However, instead of inspiring the common reader, these articles just make us feel worse about ourselves. They might as well have titled the pieces, “What are YOU doing with your life, huh?

More often than not, successful youth have had a lucky headstart in life that we’d call being rich. Their privilege played a huge role in how they achieved success, from the connections they had and the opportunities they were given. This is not to completely invalidate their accomplishment and claim they didn’t put in hard work, but, at this point, privilege isn’t just a stepping stone, it’s almost like a path.

They can claim that they failed numerous times before they succeeded, but the poor can’t even afford to fail. Fail once and you’re destitute, and that’s not exactly an exaggeration. Those born to rich families have a financial backup and they are essentially sacrificing less in the scary, new venture they choose to try. The same amount of money doesn’t have the same value. An investment could be three months’ worth of salary to them as opposed to a poor person’s years worth of savings.

For people born into higher social classes, saving up means eating out less, choosing the cheaper options when it comes to food, and buying less luxury items. For the lower- and middle-class, saving up means giving up one meal in a day and taking on another job. How do I even react to an article that tells me I can have my own place is if I just simply limited what I spent in a day? That “tip” isn’t applicable to anyone, and that kind of “inspiring” articles do exactly the opposite.

I am not saying I didn’t have any privilege of my own. I got to study in a private school that equipped me with the knowledge to apply to a good university. I was able to enroll in a review center for college entrance exams and I got accepted to my target university. All those are quite a privilege which allows me better chances of generally having a better life and future than other people who were not as fortunate as I was.

As much as I would love to, I am not like the people in the articles that were initially mentioned. I am neither rich nor do I have a lot of savings. People keep saying the life isn’t a race and yet they are so keen on asking where you are in life. I am already under a lot of pressure to succeed with the pressure that comes from within me and I don’t need any more pressure from society.

Still, despite having privilege as a typical path to whatever success we are all aiming for, this is not to say it’s the only path, nor is it a surefire journey. We still hold our futures in our hands.

May we all be so lucky.

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