I was having lunch with my step-brother the other day, and even though we are only 10 years apart, it struck me how that one decade has made Gen Y and Gen X think so differently.  Our experiences growing up based on events that transpired world wide definitely have left lasting impressions on us, and these impressions continue to shape us as adults.

As a child, I remember the Carter days, and everyone complaining about inflation. Then, Reagan became President, and delivered these great messages about hope. He had faith in American values and our future, and shortly thereafter, I saw the Berlin wall come down and the Cold War came to an end. We had a great economic boom in the 80’s and 90’s, which coincided with my formative academic years all through law school. When I graduated, there were still plenty of jobs, and spirits were high. Then, a few years later the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in DC were hit on September 11, 2001, and everything changed.

For those of us lucky enough to remember the good times prior to September 11, 2001, I think we remain filled with hope and take solace in our memories of better days. But for those that lack those things, I’m not sure what guidance to provide. This has been a tough decade, especially with the Great Recession and on-going wars abroad.  Now, no one is sure how long it will be before we ever enjoy the economic prosperity of days gone by. All I can say, is that perhaps this economic downturn can be seen as an opportunity for everyone to truly consider what matters most to them.

What I have learned is that none of things I care about the most came easily, and they also can’t be taken away regardless of the state of our economy. No matter what, I have my education, life experiences, and great relationships. Those are the things that have left a lasting impression on me, and hopefully Gen Y and all future generations can take heart in that.