Ahhh millennials. The generation that everyone likes to hate on.
No one knows exactly what age group this term encompasses, but we all know one when we see one. They are the technology focused hipsters, ordering “vintage” apparel online that mimics the acid washed jeans and platform shoes of their parents, only at a ridiculous price and a high end brand name. They are the generation of instagram. Of photographing not only their latest outfit, but also every morsel of food they put into their mouth, because really, no millenial can pass up an opportunity not to share their picturesque latté art or extravagant $20 acai bowl. Do it for the ‘gram, they say.
Or rather, I say. I would consider myself a member of this association. The simple act of being born in the late nineties guaranteed me initiation and acceptance into this band of hipsters and wanderers and musicians and foodies. Critics say they are lazy, college dropouts who spend all of their money within the blink of an eye. In fact, apparently they are so penniless that they can no longer afford roofs over their heads to protect themselves from the night sky because of their inability to budget past their afternoon avocado toast. (Please read that link. It’s incredibly ignorant). But no matter. Stargazing is another one of their many pastimes, for they have endless hours in the day due to their choice to abstain from a traditional career.
The stereotypes go on and on. But the accreditation for this generation does not.
I’d like to challenge anyone who pigeonholes this “elite” group into one of these preconceptions to think open-mindedly for just a moment. Perhaps they would rather work in coffee shops for modest pay and tour Europe only to come back with no more than spare change in their pockets than own a home on the golf course. Or maybe they’d rather wait to get married and start a family until well into their thirties, or maybe even forties, or perhaps maybe not at all. Does that make them careless and naive?
I know I hold a deep bias as a millennial myself, but I look around me at my peers with the highest of regards. When I really take a look at the people with which I grew up, I see creatives: entrepreneurs, writers, world travelers. They see the world with an open mind and blank agenda, ready to soak up new experiences like a sponge.
But by no means am I trying to discredit those generations that came before. For they are the generation who raised such wonderfully creative people. They encouraged their posterity to “take the road less traveled” and in my opinion they succeeded in their parental careers. My purpose is not to ridicule the baby-boomers or to boast about millennials, but simply to give credit where credit is due. The latter tend to get the short end of the stick because they tend to be more progressive or hippy-esque, but there is so much more to the current generation than meets the eye.
My coworker, who inspired me to write this post, recently posted a facebook status regarding this topic. She detailed the hardworking demeanor of her peers: how they start their day at their internship, spend their afternoons at their coffee shop gig, and then come home well past sundown only to study for their exam the next day. That’s a lot to juggle, and I think it’s easy to forget that millennials have just as much on their plate as the generations before. Their workload is not the same as their parents’ and grandparents’, but it is substantial nonetheless.
The street goes both ways, too. Millennials, myself included, need to acknowledge the fact that our ancestors paved way for us to live in the world we do today. We are privileged and lucky to have grown up with tremendous role models. They equally deserve recognition.
People hold different jobs, have different goals, and lead completely different lives than they did just a few decades ago. But that doesn’t make them unworthy of respect. In the end we are all just humans and we all deserve to lead our lives however our hearts desire. *mic drop* (aka the official millennial way to terminate a rant).