Self Reliance: The Rise of the Millennial

Allie gives us much to think about.

ORGANIC COFFEE, HAPHAZARDLY

by Allie Burke

In his piece, Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson presents the idea that we must be self-reliant—in our ideas, beliefs, environment, and ultimately, in the structure of our lives—to be an individual in society. But Emerson wrote this piece in 1841. How do his ideas of non-conformity apply today? People my age, with mental illnesses, who are somewhat offended by the statements “Millennials ruin everything; we can’t even joke around anymore” or “When I was your age I owned a house” but are also somewhat uncomfortable by the idea of identifying as Millennials because we work 8-to-5 jobs—where do we fit in, and how? Our generation seeks to never conform, but what about those of us who still work in Corporate America and who still care about what people think of us? How can we be self-reliant but also thrive in a world that so obviously doesn’t respect…

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