A Blog Post I Will Probably Regret

I’m tired, y’all.

Tired of not fully understanding my French reading. Tired of not having proper time to go the the Rec. Tired of my phone being broken.

Above all, dear reader, I am tired of being a Millennial.

Not because I’m ashamed of my Millennial brothers and sisters. Not because I wish I was born in another era (that’s a whole other story). But because I’m tired of being bashed in popular media.

I read another article the other day which sarcastically mocked 20-somethings. And it just might have been the straw that broke the 20-something’s back.

Hi, I’m an entitled and broke 20-something and today I’m here to share with you some tips and tricks to grocery shopping on a budget that I’ve picked up over the past year and a half. You see, I graduated college a year and a half ago and, without meal plans or home cooked meals from my parents, I ventured out into the Grown-Up Grocery Shopping realm… and failed over and over again. There’s only so many times you can subsist on Cheese-Its and Hot Pockets or clean rotting food from your fridge before you learn how to do this shit right.

Stop. Stop stop stop stop. Stop classifying an entire force of young people because you know a handful who live on Cheerios and Red Bull. Not every recent college graduate is only looking to get drunk on Thursdays and learn the easiest way to make it through Friday with a hangover until he or she goes out drinking that night.

Thanks, Time.
Thanks, Time.

I understand that there are a lot of those situations. I understand that the financial situations presented in GIRLS are not too far from fiction. I had less than $10 in my bank account for nearly the entire month of October. I currently have $5.95. I understand that reality.

I also know that it’s wildly unfair to generalize a demographic like 20-somethings. We are every race, every spot on the sexuality spectrum, every religious creed, every IQ, every career ambition. We are joining the Peace Corps and the Army. We are oil painters and janitors and accountants and unemployed and writers. We are parents and we are children. We are moving back to our hometowns and we are moving to South Africa.

The only thing truly tying us all together is that we were born in the early 90s.

So why would you think that a sweeping statement about our “laziness” or “entitlement” or “stupidity” would be anything close to accurate?

It’s hard to be a 20-something. You are told to check your attachment to your precious laptop in the same breath that you are told to respond to emails within the hour. You are told that grades aren’t everything two months before your GPA is .3 too low to apply for a coveted honors society. Spend time outside, but don’t forget to do your homework. You’re a student first, but you need to hold leadership positions in organizations. And work out. And eat well. And work a job. And work an internship. You look exhausted. You should take a day to take care of you.

Most of us are being pulled in 200 different directions at once. There’s school and work and money and mental health and friendships and (god forbid) romantic relationships and THE FUTURE. I’ve had so many amazing conversations with my three best friends about this conundrum. We’re balancing so much, and constantly on the verge of dropping it all.

And we don’t need someone calling us entitled.

I could go on and on about the pressure society puts on its 20-somethings, but that would only fuel the fire. The point of this post is not to whine. That would only prove a point I don’t want proven.

We are not living in the same society that our parents grew up in. This seems obvious, but the implications may run deeper than we give them credit. We live in a country in which you don’t exist until you’re online. A bachelor’s degree is considered the new high school diploma by many employers. Social change spreads at an awe-inspiring rate with viral blog posts and videos.

There are so many 20-somethings who eat frozen dinners or McDonalds every day of the week, who are hungover more often than they’re not and who don’t know how to write a check or address an envelope. I know a few. I’m embarrassed and concerned for their futures.

They also most definitely should not be the face of an entire generation.

What about a co-worker of mine who started the first ever collegiate chapter of Executive Women International? Or my friend Laura who recently left to serve in the Peace Corps? Or friends of mine working full-time to pay their way to medical school?

Why are these writers discounting a huge percentage of 20-somethings because the “they’re lazy” trope is so easy and prevalent? Is it because people will nod their heads and click “share?” Is that how readily accepted this generalization has become?

We live in a world that is both shrinking and expanding every second. People are closer and more accessible than ever. At the same time, our knowledge about how our planet works is constantly growing.

Why wouldn’t I work hard to see it all?

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253 thoughts on “A Blog Post I Will Probably Regret

  1. This is an awesome post!!!! I literally could not agree with you anymore! I work non stop so that hopefully one day I can be successful and it annoys me to NO END hearing the media report that we are all lazy. It’s not true and the people that it actually does apply to, they don’t matter anyway! I am concerned for them as well!

  2. The problem is just getting worse. Us teenagers, with our selfies and attention spans of gerbils are perceived in an even worse light that 20 somethings, and I think that says a lot about our society. Let the youth be young. We’re not perfect, we’re not all the same, and we’re certainly not lazy, self centered leeches.

  3. i’m old. and i think many of us forget that we too were told we were the laziest, that we lacked ambition, were coddled, unable to write, do math , understand…blah blah. forgetaboutit! ignore it as best you can and get on with it. they have mags and rags to sell.

  4. Love this entire piece! So spot on —> “You are told to check your attachment to your precious laptop in the same breath that you are told to respond to emails within the hour.”

  5. Thank you for this post! My core group of friends are ’20-somethings’. Among them there are so many professions and interests, so many life styles and so many behaviors.

    There will, in my opinion always be underlying environmental forces that help ‘define’ a generation. For example I would say that the Millennial generation as a whole are fast tech adopters and abandoners because we have grown up in a world where we know that our phone will be obsolete after two or three years. We know that refusing to adopt new technology will only leave us behind both in our social and working life.
    Giving a generation personality traits on the other hand seems ridiculous and seems to be based, quite often, on how a generation copes differently with life compared to their predecessors. You would never walk into a classroom for example and try to assining all the children in there the same set of personality or behavioural traits but as soon as they become a generational group, its ok?

  6. This is incredibly well put. In fact, I participated in a business lesson webinar today and the idea of appealing to “millennials” came up. I understood the terminology but wasn’t prepared for the comment made by the webinar host. “How do you position yourself to appeal to the millennials, Generation Y, the impossible to deal with?” I thought the lost portion of that comment could have been left out. Because if I’m not mistaken, some of the largest companies in the world were started by millennials and continue to dominate the headlines. I think Gen X is jealous.

  7. It’s not easy to be human, regardless of age. People like to stereotype because it means they can think about the group rather than the individual, which saves time and grey matter. Every single generation has encountered their detractors. For example it is a well known factoid that all ten year old boys break windows with careless ball games. All middle aged housewives get bored and have affairs with the milkman. All politicians are corrupt and all progressive policies will cause terrible social problems and be met with antipathy by those who liked it better the old way. It is nothing personal, and soon enough it will be your turn to tell the kids to get off your lawn and go read an e-book. Enjoy your youth while you have the vibrancy, the flexible knee joints and the opportunity to do so. Thirty-something creeps up faster than you think…

  8. I never understood my French reading either. I’m a solid two generations ahead of you. Your generation is going through the same rite of passage every generation experiences: you don’t measure up to those before you. “Gods walked the Earth before your generation was born” and all that horse flop. From an economic standpoint, Millennials have been dealt a bad hand (to coin a cliche). On a positive note from my viewpoint, more than any recent generation, Millennials hold the potential to achieve levels of social justice unmatched within the last 50 years, at least. You will end discrimination based on sexual preference. You will, I hope, put a massive hit on the toxic sludge of racism in this country because of who you are and how you’ve grown up with more awareness of other races and cultures, plus the mixing of same. Now if you’d just stop fixating on your phones before you walk in front of a car.

    One last note — in a few years you’ll notice that the generation behind you is growing up. You’ll look at them and realize that their clothes are weird and their music blows. And they’ll roll their eyes at you. It happens every generation.

  9. I loved everything you said, and I’m 58 years old. I can’t tell you how sick I am of the “older” generation at work complaining about some of the young employees who, yes, do things differently then they did as young adults. I do things differently than I did as a young adult; i.e. use technology! And I did things much differently in the 60’s and 70’s than my parents did in the 40’s and 50’s. Times change and we all adapt and change with it, hopefully, while (also hopefully) maintaining our humanity. So to expect younger people to think and act like we did in the past is outrageous, and in no way should 20-somethings be condemned for it.

  10. Our laziness is a scapegoat. The financial situation and the leadership of yesterday is the actual problem. You insert the hopelessness of those facts together with burgeoning technology, the ability to escape with easily accessed drugs and alcohol and we become the excuse for stagnation. All generations need to come together if millennials (and those after us) are going to fix what the boomers and generation X’r’s truly began: the degradation of ethics and the utter failure of capitalism.

  11. I enjoy reading anything about millennials… We the Time Magazine post came out about this I was shocked to learn this is what everyone thought about us. I accepted it… And have tried to embrace it in a more satirical way. However, since than I feel like the media is becoming harsher and harsher towards us. I am not lazy. I am 24, a college graduate, with an 8-5 job and a 401(k). So I agree we can not all be considered part of a stereotyped generation. Keep blogging!

  12. Throughout age, we all had different challenge to face. Imagine our grand-mothers and for you your great grandma were the first to have right and to vote! Black people were said equal to white after years of struggles not so long ago! Our grand parents had 2 nd ww… Etc… I could use a famous quote of JFK ” don’t ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country…” That is the spirit! We are born with a hang of card to play and we should try our best to play it! I think we are already lucky…. Yes the world evolves fast… Challenges are though… But you have a smile that shows happiness and I m sure you ll find your way.

  13. If I may offer one small bit of advice to millennials it would be to give up on trying to do everything at once and instead concentrate on doing one or at most two things until you do it better than everybody else you know. Nice post, your thing just may be writing.

  14. My oldest are Millenials, but I just think of them as young people. There’s a vast gap between what I know and what they know. They’ll make their way. (Hopefully not on fast food and Red Bull.) And God help me, they know how to address an envelope!

    1. It’s always a little shocking to me when people my age don’t know how to address an envelope or set a table. I forget sometimes, as silly as it sounds, that not everyone grew up like I did. Unrelated: Red Bull does wonders when you hit your coffee wall.

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