(Rambling) Food for thought.
The Woes of a Millennial
I come from a generation where we are both revered and highly criticized, where success is measured by how many likes you can get on an Instagram post and how finding true love is equated to a mathematical code where you are paired with “matching” individuals – or if you’re not interested, you can just swipe left.
A generation that has been deemed “over-zealous” and “self-righteous”, and sinners for putting science before religion. A generation that is so underemployed and consumed by mountains of debt that suicide rates for young adults is the seconding leading cause of death to our nation. But let’s not talk about that, let’s talk about how my generation is responsible for the demise of fabric softener companies. (You think I’m kidding? Google it.)
So what generation am I talking about?
I’m a person who is over-education, underemployed, godless, and selfish?
Who am I?
That’s right. I’m a Millennial.
From a young age, we were told to be extraordinary, that anything is possible. The world is our oyster, so make lemonade – or whatever. We were taught that we were special from the minute we were born, because we were the next generation – the generation that would reap the benefits of baby boomers. We were the next in line to the throne, and boy did we deserve that right.
“Aim for the moon. Shoot for the stars. You can be anything you want to be.”
And yet we find out too late those were just fabricated lies told to hide our ignorance to how unfair the world really was – how social standing established who got the top paying jobs, how the color of your skin determined how successful you were, and where education is highly valued but completely pointless.
But I’m a Millennial. I wasn’t suppose to talk about the “unspoken truth.”
I come from a generation where we were told we needed a university degree to become successful. Spend four to eight years in confined classrooms, broadening our minds, but forced into a decade of student debt just to find employment at the local coffee shops or big box retail stores. University did not guarantee a job, not unless your degree was deemed “desirable” or “useful.” And the silver lining? No one wants to hire young, brilliant minds full of “new” ideas. No one likes a know-it-all or a tradition-breaker. So how do they kill that drive? You need at least five years experience to apply for that dream job and no one wants to take the responsibility to give you the necessary training.
But I’m a Millennial. I’m worthless without secondary-education.
And if by twenty-five you haven’t landed that top job, you’re considered a failure. Or rather, sorry, as a woman, I was power-hungry for trying to establish a career for myself. Or if I’m not married by the end of my thirties, I’m doomed to a lifetime of singleness, and if I haven’t popped out at least one kid before thirty-five, my clock is running out and I “missed” my chance. At least my vote counts, to a degree.
But by Jove, I’m a Millennial. I’m entitled. I don’t have a right to complain.
Or how some weeks I have to make the harsh decision to either pay my rent or student loan payment rather than buying food for my dinner table. Or the nights I spend crying myself to sleep because I can’t make ends meet and I feel like my life is already over, even though I am just shy of twenty-six.
But I’m a Millennial and I’m so lucky to have so many opportunities my parents didn’t have so I should be grateful.
Where my forefathers fought for my freedom of speech and right to stand up for my beliefs, but the minute I do, my elders deem me “one of them”, or when I become involved with politics and try to help make a change, I’m being “foolish” and don’t really understand the ways of the world. Dare I show some interest in the world outside of Facebook and Twitter, and heaven forbid I take an interest in politics.
But I’m a Millennial. I don’t know any better.
Because we’re consider melodramatic when we voice our disapproval, or protest for women’s equal rights, or try to focus our efforts on saving our planet – a planet where our future children will live, a planet we want to make sure is still around so our children aren’t the victims of some Stephen Spielberg-inspired catastrophe; to leave the world a little more cleaner, a little greener than how we found it.
But I’m a Millennial. All the world’s struggles are my fault.
And dare us to point fingers when we end up in another recession and the economy is falling, and the stocks are crashing, and the dollar is suddenly worth nothing. Well, blame the Millennials, right? They’re not buying houses, or making car payments, or paying banks for services rendered. What sort of hellish reality is the world coming to?
But you guessed it. I’m a Millennial. Blame the debts of war and prosperity on me.
And that’s ok. Blame it all on me.
From the moment I was born, I was taught that the world was my oyster but people are cruel. And boy, they are certainly cruel. You’re generation taught us that. We just learned not to point fingers back. We learned instead of being a tattle-tale, we can shift the blame in a different direction – blame to change, anger to perseverance, smarts to wit.
And for that you call us selfish.
But I’m a Millennial. I know when to take responsibility for my actions.
You call us the most selfish generation but for all the wrong reasons. We are a generation that is beyond selfish, rather we are selfless. We just finally realized we have a voice to use, and goddamn we are gonna use it. Our forefathers fought for freedom, you reaped the benefits of those freedoms, and now it’s our turn to focus on the important issues again.
So yes, we’ll put ourselves in debt to get ahead, we’ll take the blame for the failing fabric softener industry, we’d rather rent that pay a twenty-year mortgage payment, we rather be single and childless than add more burden to our overpopulated planet, and hell, maybe we’ll continue to annoy you with our “frivolous” protests and voices of disapproval. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if it is anything I am well aware of, it’s that my generation has patience in spades.
I’m a Millennial. I was taught to be stubborn – to bend but not break.
Because your generation taught us to thrive. We have to fight for what we have, and that a little bit of ingenuity and charisma can go a long way. Because your generation taught us to demand more, to demand better, and we’re gonna fight like hell ‘till we get better.
But still I won’t point fingers, just don’t underestimate my generation either.
The world is a ever-changing place so we must adapt to survive. And maybe my generation is more adaptable to change, but do not blame us for issues that have existed long before most of us were even conceived. This is not a “Here! Deal with this. It’s your problem now” world. None of us are getting out of here alive anyway, so why fight the change?
So what if fabric softener becomes a thing of the past? Is that really the worst thing that could happen to us? Is that really the be all-end all scenario? Because I really doubt Generation Alpha is going to care if their bed sheets are a little less scratchy.
But I’m a Millennial. It’s my god-given right to complain.
Because I’m selfish, and righteous, and damn I have some pretty big views, some larger-than-life dreams, and I got a kick-ass Instagram that details all those impossible goals.
Because I’m a Millennial.
And that’s not a death sentence.