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.
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?