I was admittedly not at my best when I first came across the glib “Happiness = Reality – Expectations” equation in Wait But Why’s now-ubiquitous “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy”: I had just cleaned dog vomit off of a suitcase full of clean clothing. So I tried, sincerely, to take my desire to find and strangle the person who wrote the piece with a post-dog-vomit grain of salt. I mean, vom happens, right? I clearly needed to adjust my expectations so that I could be happy.
Except that NO. Because there are just so many things this piece gets wrong. And it does so stealthily, cleverly, and cutely, so that it comes across as optimistic coping advice based in humorous tough love ethics. And the more I tried not to engage, the more I knew I couldn’t let it lie (and lie, and lie), because this piece crosses the line from “poorly-written, vaguely trolling fluff” into “sinister, inaccurate, damaging misinformation” and keeps on going until it arrives at “reader-bullying strawperson arguments about things that did not actually happen with a side of apologism/denial re: a good many things that did”. And there it stays. And it’s really awful and depressing and infuriating.
So here is an alternate list of reasons why Gen Y yuppies are unhappy, with bonus extra-credit reasons why it’s maybe kind of stoopid to call us “yuppies” at all. It is based on reality, and features no rainbow-spewing unicorn adversaries. Sorry.