I’m a Millennial, by definition.
I’m one of 75.5 million.
I’ve seen a few videos floating around on Facebook that people have been having their minds blown open by, supposedly, so I decided to watch some.
In most of these videos, it is middle aged people, and mostly men, absolutely slamming the Millennial generation for a multitude of reasons and stating those reasons as being the very reasons we’re failures in the eyes of the world (to paraphrase with sass).
One of my favourites, not because it was that different than any others in actual content, was one by this girl on Youtube named “Sara K”, who is also a Millennial (Do you capitalise it? Am I just displaying “m/Millennial behaviour?) and I just found it more interesting to hear it from a peer.
The basic premise of the spiel goes like this:
- Millennials are raised to believe they are special
- They’re raised on the “everyone gets a medal regardless of performance” idea
- Because of this, they’re over-proud, arrogant, selfish and lacking in empathy
- This attitude to the world, work and relationships results in relative failure in each of these categories
- This failure, isn’t realised in its true sense (“I am nobody. The world owes me nothing.”) but instead is realised as “This is unfair. I am being hard done by. I quit.”
- In the workforce, this results in a lack of progression, job satisfaction and salary. In relationships, this results in shit like Tinder suddenly being an acceptable way to meet people to satisfy your carnal desires, and then crying on the way home because he wasn’t “the one”, when in reality you can’t even remember his name.
- Then we come to dopamine, ie. happiness. Happiness is a chemical. It just is. Sorry romantics. The lack of the skills and ability to deal with people, work and life in general leads to a lack of dopamine, which results in the social media happy posts to get likes/retweets/other forms of validation from, often, strangers. This is the new happy.
- Lastly, the world goes to shit (According to our parents)
If Millennials are between 35 and 19 as of now, then at 25 I’m pretty much smack bang in the middle, so lets analyse my schooling career…
From day one, my schooling was supplemented by home schooling from my mum, who deemed the Australian school system to be less than necessary to get ahead (and if you look at the academic scores of kids from South Korea and Australia, it’s obvious why she thought this).
This is interesting for two reasons: 1) While it is a slightly different approach than what most of my friends might have gotten in school (“You’re a special petal, everyone gets a medal”), 2) it made no difference to the effect it had on my success.
It still lead to a grandiose sense of self which ultimately lead to me overshooting what I thought I could do without trying so, while I did finish my degree, I did so by the skin of my teeth.
I thought I was well above average, and after she could no longer home school me (as the topics I studied became more complicated), my grades started to drop. In hindsight, this was due more to the fact that I do not want to be a doctor, and therefore it just became more and more obvious that a passing interest in science was not adequate drive to finish a medical degree, than actual below average intelligence. (Phew, nice save Shan.) Either way, not ideal. (There’s a whole other kettle of fish I could write called “So, how do you raise kids then? Where is the manual?” which would only say it’s not our parents’ fault either way, but basically – if your parents did their best, everything else is on you. You make your own decisions.)
There are some parts of the narrative being told that I can’t deny I participate in. I had to tell myself not to delete a photo on Instagram of a dick bicycle (See: Side to Side – Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj) I painted with watercolours, because it did not get as many likes as some other photo I posted of a beach.
“Shannon, no. As stupid as it is, this makes you laugh. Leave it.”
It takes no amount of effort to realise every part of the last two sentences was stupid. Obviously.
More importantly, I recognise the sense of entitlement we’re perceived to have. Or do have. I have it. Definitely. It happens to me all the time, I get frustrated that I have to work for money and then I laugh at myself when I realise what I’m frustrated about. Before I realised, I just tried to take what was “mine”. I got basically fired from a few places for stealing company time as a teenager (which here means, standing around doing nothing and looking annoyed and bored when there was clearly work to be done). Not in so many words, but to put it honestly, that’s what happened.
A lot of this I work on consciously now (for both financial and just-trying-not-to-be-a-piece-of-shit reasons), but I often wonder how it happened. I am and have always been alert enough to realise energy in = energy out, in all things, but I often am overcome by the desire that it wouldn’t be so. The “I wish money would just fall out of the sky” or “I wish [insert relevant attractive celebrity male] would ride up on a motorcycle and ride with me into the sunset” kind of shit, and it’s a pointless thought, like most wishing.
For the majority of Millennials, it’s fair to say most realise you gotta do what you gotta do jobwise, but what isn’t being realised is the value of real relationships, real conversations and just “irl” interactions and how they can enrich your life more so than they can through a screen. Yes, technology has it’s place. It’s great for a lot of things. But when it gets to the point where you don’t want to talk to the person behind the deli counter so you take the shittier quality packaged pepperoni from the shelf over asking for the better pepperoni just to avoid talking to someone, you gotta do some serious self reflection.
I think, (I say I think, because I’m not 100% sure, tbh) my bottom line is it isn’t really as bad as our parents are saying. We’re not robots and we’re not stupid. Some basic understanding and then application of balance to ones life does a lot of good. Scroll through Insta for a bit, but make sure you make an effort to go outside too. Take a deep breath and ask for dat spicy pepperoni. Make a bomb ass pizza and invite your friends over to eat it. Make two pizzas. Go wild. It’s a crazy wonderful world and you don’t have to be a genius to enjoy it.