Welcome to the Life Lnxx Podcast where we encourage women, especially women of color, to live their true diversity out loud, in whatever way makes you feel empowered and joyous because we are not blending in! I am your host, Consuelo Crosby, and also the creator of this content. If you want to chat more about what we talk about on the show, please reach out to me on whatever platform you enjoy on social media or on our website, at TheLnxx.com, that’s L N Double X. I’d love to engage with you more on these topics and here more of what you have to say.
We had some fun yesterday with Twosday, the 22nd day of the second month of this 22nd year of the century. Being a Latina engineer, I absolutely get hooked on the numbers. So, yesterday set the tone as a feminine force towards harmony, teamwork and relationship. Basically, this is our year ladies for equity! I think the US Women’s Soccer team can attest to that!
I want to take a moment right now and just give a big shoutout of love to you, a warm embrace to pause in the moment and relax into yourself. This episode is going to be a tricky so please recognize you are not alone. We are in this together. And that a call for diversity, of living your true self out loud is less a call to action and more an invitation of support and validation.
Validation goes a very long way to soften feelings of uneasiness. For instance, have you felt overwhelmed and out of your league? Or, maybe areas of your life are unbalanced, more work, less rest and the future feels tenuous? There’s a reason why this is happening and it’s been a generation, and now two, in the making. Today let’s consider some “how we got here” moments and link them together for the big picture. Let’s step back decades and understand generational expectations because it’s so important to frame yourself accurately in the current day.
There’s a big difference between maturing into an adult role and being thrown into one prematurely. I tend to speak to this often on the podcast because it sets things in motion that may not get re-evaluated later. Often, childhood greatly affects the projection of our lives to the point that we don’t later give ourselves credit, forgiveness and huge hugs for both the joyous and difficult times we experienced. So, now would be a great time.
That is the key to today’s episode: Taking a moment to reflect on today’s expectations and deciding if they are on point for our health and well being. Do you have the life skills necessary to move into your 30’s and 40’s with sustainable happiness?
And, as always, I have a humorous personal story of being tested on my own life skills learned from my Peruvian culture. Admittedly some life skills evolve out but others remain so vital to the core of our well being.
Major Shift in Generational Expectations
Every generation has a call to action based on demands from their country or society in general. Usually the demand is due to people behaving badly and as society has become more transparent we realize how unnecessary those calls to action were.
The evolution, and devolution, over the last 40 years has created a 1+1=3 scenario leaving anyone under 45 wondering how we got here and anyone under 25 thinking they have to be in charge. Generational expectations keep piling up on the youngest, which is totally opposite world for humanity.
There really is no definition of when great accomplishments can occur in one’s life. Hopefully you have many throughout yours but it’s perfectly fine to have your one moment at any age. Each next generation blessedly believes they will change the world. And they do!, but sometimes at too high a price.
Youth has done amazing things. Malala, courageously took a stand against the Taliban at 15. Greta Thunberg valiantly presented her climate change argument to the UN at 16. Emma Gonzales passionately demanded gun control laws immediately after surviving the Parkland Shooting. She was 18.
But, these young women were born for this. They rose to their destiny when humanity was acting badly. They called “B.S.” That’s not to say they enjoyed their experience but still found it necessary to act. Nor, should their bravery be expected for the next generation. And yet, if society sees children taking on these roles, it may tend to expect it from them.
Without the innate capacity to deal with these extreme situations, young people can be unknowingly traumatized in taking on the role. Perhaps even blame themselves for not being able to handle the role and then continue life with this unfair assessment of themselves.
How do we dig out from this heap of expectations and free the newest generations from daily anxiety and worry? That’s the beat on the dance floor today, so let’s lighten the load, shall we?
Society Starts Burdening Kids With Adult
Current day life for young people is insanely different from when I was young. And I’m not that old! That’s not to say we didn’t have stressors but we didn’t have to worry about being adults, as a whole. Unfortunately, a lot of young people had to deal with adult issues if their parents were suffering the effects of being at war. Black communities were literally being attacked here in their own country. Brown communities were viewed as violent gang members. Even so, for the most part, adults could be relied on to protect the youth.
Then the 80’s came and the generational expectations began to change. For as much as many freedoms were set in the 80’s, a lot of societal ills began, too. And with that, a regression of adults into immature behaviors. Greed began to skyrocket at the demise of people’s wellbeing.
The trickle down effect of this greed reached all the way to the adults raising families. Adults didn’t want to take on the burden of raising children if it meant their fun and freedom would be compromised. And so, there were two things that happened: children were left to fend for themselves without adult guidance and adults waited to have children until they were financially secure. Both were detrimental to the next generation because in one case, children weren’t being taught life skills or family support and in the other, kids were growing up expecting life to be easy, without struggle.
Also, women had begun careers and were working full time which was fantastic! But, society didn’t rise to fill the need of their children. Instead, kids were going home to empty houses and fending for themselves. There weren’t any after school programs or extended care to offer the children a safe place. They called us Latch Key Kids to describe the newly branded responsibility that none of us anticipated.
Peruvian childhood was a blessing
Now, I say us but I was never allowed to be home alone until I was able to drive. But, this was a privilege because my parents had their own engineering company. My parents could base their daily schedules around our needs, which made us feel cared for and most especially, important.
That’s not to say we wouldn’t rather be goofing off at our friends’ houses. It was a mixed bag of emotions. Depending on how rascally I was feeling on any given day, there was always an option to find a home with no supervision. Still, it is pure luxury to have the option to come home to someone who will take care of everything for you. I love that even today!
But, this luxury was very much the core of our Peruvian household. Children were the focus of the family and rarely excluded from all the fun and activities. Families were expected to show up together and again, this really made us kids feel special. It made me feel so secure knowing that regardless of what I was doing, our friends and family were looking out for me.
If you feel safe all the time because you’re not making the adult decisions as a child, then there’s less room to develop anxiety. You develop an innocent freedom of ignorance, of not knowing bad things can happen because you are shielded from the experiences.
The culture nurtured the generational expectation that adults were to take care of the children by sharing a life together. There was no animosity of missing out on life because of familial obligations or stress of having to be in two places at the same time. The parents were thriving in their lives while teaching the kids what their role would be as adults. And, at the same time, kids were allowed to be kids.
When children expect to act like adults
We seemed to have lost this simplicity, of kids being allowed to be kids. Think about it. Think about the little girls who are experiencing life as an adult instead of a child. Like those birthday parties that have drivers taking the girls to a salon to have their nails done and then go to lunch. Now, if this is the norm at 8 years old, then what’s expected at 16? That’s going to need ramping up!
So, the parents rent a house somewhere and have a group for the weekend, costing thousands of dollars. If one parent does it, then others feel compelled to follow and the competition begins. The parents begin the anxiety of feeling pressured to outperform their peers. All the while, the kids are looking to the parents to learn how to act.
What’s not being learned is that this behavior is unhealthy and overburdening people with unwanted expectations to perform, even outperform in order to be accepted.
Are you feeling this? Have you come this far out of sheer determination but maybe not all the life skills or support? It’s time to take that load off, ladies. That burden is too much to carry. You want to keep moving forward in life feeling agile and joyous so when challenges do come up, you’re ready for them, rather than exhausted.
Let’s take some time now and reflect on it, remove the burden from yourself and exhale. The generational expectations placed on you by society was probably not on point. You can remove your younger self from that responsibility and reframe it today, as your mature self.
This is a more collective version of the question, what would you tell your younger self? Perhaps you would say, it’s ok to tell others when you feel overwhelmed or overburdened. It was up to them at that time to make you feel safe. Imagine how empowering that would be for you now to admit you don’t like a situation you are in because it makes you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed and that those around you knew it was up to them, not you, to make it better.
Now, if you have been listening to our podcast, you know that I had a pretty strict upbringing with some old fashioned cultural standards that didn’t always jive with my personality. But still, I was and am a very dorky chica overall. I didn’t care about almost all of the worries of teenage girls in my time, which worked out for me as an adult but not always for the next generation, my daughters.
I tried really hard to support the next generation with just enough evolution to keep them on pace with their natural growth and current day. For instance, pretty sure we don’t need to follow my mom’s rules of white granny panties for women until they get married. Still, I had absolutely no skill or knowledge for anything else so when my daughter’s were at that age, ooof, I was such an awkward mom! I just slid the cash over, “here, go shopping with your friends.”
But, I did pass down an invaluable life skill that I both experienced in our family and learned again as a parent. There was an experience in Peru that was magical, not for its extraordinary experience but for its absolute ordinary one. We were down there for a family wedding when my girls were very young. The first celebration involved introducing the families who had never met before so we all had the jitters from high expectations.
As we arrived at the party, the hostess opened the door with a broad smile and noticed my little ones. Instantly, she dropped down to their height and introduced herself to them. Then took them by the hand and led them to where other children their age had gathered. They were offered drinks and food then reassured that one of the teenage girls would be their friends for the evening.
All the while, we were left to fend for ourselves without knowing anyone at the party. But this was absolutely on point. We were adults and we should be able to maneuver in an unknown situation confidently. This was part of our upbringing that I spoke of earlier. We, as children, were assured that our needs were met before the adults.
When Did Kids Have to be Adults
This is the valuable key to what we are talking about today. Generational expectations are only valid if the prior generation laid the groundwork for those expectations. A prior generation should reassure the younger population that their needs will be met first, that they will be taught the skills for becoming an adult and that they will be handed over a world that is evolving rather than devolving.
Unfortunately, this didn’t happen over the last two generations because of that greed factor. So we have some correcting to do to get to a place of reassurance and calm. We will do this together, across all generations, to relieve the burden on our youth, both here today and the next generation coming.
Time to inhale again… and exhale all that past hard work getting this far under some pretty harsh circumstances. Let’s focus on caring for you individually first. As each individual reaches a point of reassurance and calm, then we have a larger population of calm and life becomes kinder.
So, how do we do this? By finding answers in the diverse cultures that make up our society and world. That’s not to say that any one culture has the answer. Instead, when individuals of any culture don’t adapt to the masses, don’t blend in, they carry a different way of doing life, a different perspective. Those differences may be the answer to the problems that a homogenous crowd may accept because when a majority doesn’t have an answer, it normalizes the problem.
Diverse cultures tend to also have a wide base of purpose, either from the inherent nature of their country or from not being accepted here in America. For latin countries, religion and family are the priorities. Work is just work. Wealth is not considered a reason to let go of faith and family. Coming here for better livelihood only strengthens these bonds in order to endure the struggle of not being accepted. Latinos and Hispanics bring part of their homeland for comfort, like music, dancing with friends, style and specific cuisine.
Why diversity resets generational expectations
Do you see how all of those aspects – spirituality, family relationship, activity, food – take the focus off work performance and spread out the focus over different facets of wellness? Diverse cultures still relish in these facets rather than sacrificing them to greed and self purpose.
Think about the Black population’s emphasis on family, fashion, gatherings, faith, music… I can go on for a long time. The strength of the Black women, especially matriarchs, carrying the family. Think of Rihanna standing up against the NFL, refusing to perform at the Super Bowl if Colin Kaepernick was not allowed to take a knee. She didn’t trade her moral ground for more profit and she is doing just fine! Plus, having a baby and being named the National Hero of Barbados, her homeland! Love her so much!
The family structure is intact. Parents are adults and care for the children. Generations rely on each other to learn both forward and backward. Generations have respect for each other in both directions. Each generation learns at a sustainable pace natural to humanity when focus is placed on each other. Generational expectations are on point. There are answers to be found in these cultures even if there remains a burden from struggle, maybe even because of it.
We can learn how to keep joy in our lives, take care of others and reach out in times of need all the while creating a better world, a more evolved and kind world.
This is why we need diversity in our society and our communities. Answers for ongoing issues are found in the depths of other cultures’ experiences. Answers to the problems created when people behave badly. Problems that carve chasms within our communities, from one generation to the next laying undue burden on its youth.
Diversity is the bridge.
Learn to Reset What’s Sustainable for Your Age
Life is long, ladies, so give yourself time to both catch up and learn at a natural pace from the diversity around you. That’s the key. You’ve been thrown in the deep end enough without knowing how to swim. You have been the adults from a very young age without being shielded from the bad behaviors of others.
So, maybe try wading in the shallow end for a while and framing what is sustainable. Coming back into the shallow end can be applied to every stage of life because when we begin to feel overwhelmed it’s most likely from taking life on all by ourselves without the skills we need. Turn to others and learn the life skills still thriving in their cultures.
We would love to see how you lighten your load and readjust your norm so tag us on Instagram or Twitter @LifeLnxx. Take a look on our website, at TheLnxx.com for each episode’s transcript and articles linked to what you have heard here, like my amazing introduction to Barbados when Rhi Rhi was proudly participating in the Carnival Parade. Plus, the gorgeous pics of the island. Absolute Island of Angles.
Big shout out to our global audience. So grateful you are here with us every week and learning to support each other and keep our human touch. I would so love to see you thriving wherever you live across the world. Show us your happiest facet of living now.
Step into your truth, ladies! Ciao!