“We were told that you can be anything you want, and now here we are and you can’t find a job”

Of course, some millennials have managed to navigate the early years of adulthood just fine. But for many, 30 is looking a lot like 20 used to as the generation that began with so much promise has fallen behind on nearly every adult milestone.

What happened? One major culprit, say many millennials: The lousy economy.

Even as the economy improves, years of economic malaise have left many millennials unemployed, underemployed or just lower on the career ladder than they had hoped to be at this age. Many are burdened by debt, unable to afford a house and too consumed by uncertainty to meet all the adult milestones yet.

Milllennials including Trowell say they aspire to the same things their parents’ generation had — and bristle when older Americans say they are lazy, or lack drive and ambition.

“It’s kind of a disillusionment that we’re facing,” Trowell said. “We were told that you can be anything you want, and now here we are and you can’t find a job.”