Mil­len­ni­als: Pur­su­ing Money or Pas­sion

The Record (Troy, NY) - - OPINION - John Ost­wald is pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of psy­chol­ogy at Hud­son Val­ley Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Troy. Email him at jrost­wald33@gmail.com.

Howe and Strauss de­fine the Mil­len­nial as in­di­vid­u­als born be­tween 1982 and 2004. An­other re­searcher used the years 1981 and 1996 (ages 22- 37 in 2018).

I usu­ally find them an­noy­ing be­cause they are smarter, younger and bet­ter look­ing than me. My son Nick is one of these techno crea­tures, he is 25. Lately I have put have put aside my an­noy­ance re­lated to this group and have come to ap­pre­ci­ate their pas­sion for risk tak­ing.

They seem to be adept at get­ting an idea from some part of the gal­axy and of­ten pur­sue it. vig­or­ously. De­spite the view by many peo­ple that mil­len­ni­als are all overly money con­scious, many chase their dreams without large con­cerns for fi­nan­cial gains. Let me give some ex­am­ples.

A lo­cal fam­ily restau­rant, that I fre­quent, was run suc­cess­fully by two mid­dle-aged adults. Re­cently, it was taken over by four drone-lov­ing kids. So far so good. The place ba­si­cally is the same but with some mi­nor changes. There is a new seat­ing area to the right of the en­trance that serves a va­ri­ety of bev­er­ages and the servers all have lit­tle com­put­ers so you they can type your or­der and you can pay right on the spot with a credit card. Reach­ing for my cash seems so an­ti­quated.

I in­ter­viewed a fledg­ling movie maker last month with who is pur­su­ing his dreams. Nick Ru­maczyk said, “My first movie Ter­res­trial (see the trailer here: https://vimeo. com/170717112), made for just a few bucks less noth­ing, earned me a cou­ple awards and played var­i­ous fes­ti­val around the world, but didn’t ex­actly have dis­trib­u­tors bang­ing down my door.” His sec­ond film is about a se­rial killer.

Mil­len­ni­als, de­spite be­ing short on cap­i­tal, are also cre­ative in rais­ing funds as op­posed to ask­ing par­ents for dough like we used to do con­stantly. Nick uses the site, www. seedandspark.com /fund/ bro­ker2. He called it a “crowd-found­ing page.” Other artists may use the well-known go fund me site.

Be­low is an ex­am­ple of the ex­cite­ment that re­sults when a young per­son or any per­son for that mat­ter, pur­sues their artis­tic dream. It is the pho­to­graphic work of Jon Ver­ney.

“I had a pho­to­graph I had taken of my late grand­mother’s hands open­ing a let­ter. I placed it in the bleach and watched it fade away, then I took it to a hot spring south of Siena, Italy– the first hot spring I had ever been to. Im­me­di­ately af­ter lay­ing the im­age in the min­eral-rich wa­ter it be­gan to change. The pa­per turned orange, then crim­son, and then the im­age com­pletely reap­peared in a warm, bronze sienna. Stand­ing there with all this hot wa­ter gush- ing up­wards from deep within the earth and watch­ing this oblit­er­ated im­age be­come re­born by the land­scape was a truly ex­tra­or­di­nary, al­most bap­tismal ex­pe­ri­ence. The fact that one of my pho­tos en­ters a pool one way and comes out changed… I find that quite pow­er­ful.” I don’t know if this unique pho­to­graphic tech­nique pro­vides a steady in­come for Jon but the en­thu­si­asm and pas­sion for the work is ob­vi­ous.

When I was thirty- one, I quit my se­cure good pay­ing state job at Kings Park Psy­chi­atric cen­ter on Long Is­land, and rented a floor of an of­fice build­ing in Mi­ne­ola, the county seat. My boss said I was nuts and would re­gret leav­ing all the state med­i­cal ben­e­fits.

I opened up a for profit coun­sel­ing cen­ter. I had de­cent clin­i­cal skills and hired other com­pe­tent ther­a­pists. It was a good con­cept at the time, but I re­ally had no busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence. I was the owner and di­rec­tor of the busi­ness but at one point took a night job as a waiter in a com­edy club to try and keep my busi­ness afloat. You know the rest of the story. I went broke and was in debt but I learned one valu­able les­son. I fol­lowed my pas­sion and didn’t die.

John Ost­wald Then + Now

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