Here's a brief log of my expectations over my adult(ish) life, as someone just barely young enough to count as a millennial (I turn 35 this year):
20 years ago, I thought that I was going to easily be rich and famous when I grew up, because I was consistently and effortlessly outperforming all of my peers at school, and the world of course is intrinsically just so that kind of ability will surely be rewarded as I avail myself of the opportunities equally available to all, right?
15 years ago, after falling flat on my face into poverty immediately upon adulthood and taking two years with almost zero guidance or support to figure out what the fuck I had to do to get my life back on track, I thought that maybe I could still salvage that dream after like, maybe a decade-ish of hard work? By my thirties maybe?
10 years ago, after disappointingly little progress in that regard despite my best efforts (and continued astounding academic success meanwhile), I thought that maybe I would "settle" for a "normal" life in an "ordinary" house in the suburbs working some "boring" career my whole life and doing some kind of interesting life's work that was a mere shadow of my true potential in my spare time beside that.
5 years ago, I thought that I would be lucky not to die in the street when I was old like it increasingly seemed my parents were going to do, it seeming just barely possibly to avoid that with a ridiculously enormous amount of effort and sacrifice and basically neglecting everything I ever dreamt of actually doing with my life just to, maybe, hopefully, reach the point I thought I would "settle" for, and previously thought was the normal condition of all moderately functional adults, in time to have a few years' breather before I died in which to maybe write some kind of memoirs about the things I once thought I was going to do with my life? please?
Today, even after my life has turned around dramatically from that point, thanks to that enormous effort and ridiculous sacrifice and a heaping pile of the good fortune sorely missing from most of the decades prior, I'm still not sure if that's ever going to be possible. Have since learned that my current income is twice the median American's, and I've never really made much less than the median, which only makes the difficulties endured despite that seem even more depressing. Currently living in a tiny trailer on rented land so as to be able to save enough money that someday I can put enough of a down payment down that the interest on a mortgage won't be so high as to push the date I can start saving for something besides housing back past the time I'll probably die. Long-term girlfriend patiently waiting for me to be able to afford a larger trailer with enough room for the two of us to live together and so be able to get married, currently aiming for maybe some time around when we're 40? Then probably another decade of saving after that before we can put a big enough down payment on a real house, what amounts to about half the purchase price. We don't want kids anyway, but we basically don't have the option of them at this point, not without sacrificing all hope.
That's all assuming that the past five years' miracle progress continues unabated, which is far, far from assured and I constantly expect any moment to lose absolutely everything and go back to zero again. But then, running the numbers sometimes, somehow, it seems like if all the trends over my lifetime continue at their average rates... somehow I might be able to retire in my mid-late 50s and live off investment income for the rest of my life after that? What the fuck? I don't believe it. But the math keeps telling me that. That most of life is hopeless and shit, and then around now it starts getting gradually better, and then suddenly in the moderately-near future everything is miraculously perfect forever. But I'll fucking believe it when I see it. I'm still assuming I'm going to die in the streets like my parents still look to be doing, and life can fucking prove me wrong if it can. Please. Please prove me wrong.