A few days ago, I woke up with a terrifying realization:
I am a millennial.
Do you know what a millennial is? Even if you do, it won’t stop me from explaining it anyway. A millennial is someone who was born anywhere between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. I was born in 1992, so I’m pretty much right in the middle of it all.
Why was this a terrifying realization?
Well, millennials are notorious for their narcissism, selfishness, laziness, and entertainment addiction. In fact, pseudo-scientists have recently created a formula that can accurately assess how narcissistic a millennial is, based on the amount of selfies taken per hour.
In his TEDxSF talk, Scott Hess talks about the five milestones in every twenty-something’s life:
- Complete school
- Leave home
- Become financially independent
- Marry someone
- Have a child
And here are some statistics about the matter:
- In 1960, 77% of women and 65% of men have reached all five goals before hitting 30.
- In 2010, 13% of women and 10% of men have reached all five goals before hitting 30.
As you can see, there is a drastic decrease in the percentage, which speaks for the fact that millennials are lazy indeed.
Except me; I’m a hard worker.
– Every millennial
And I’m one of them. How great.
Young baristas at coffee shops, cashiers, and waiters and waitresses have a bad reputation for being annoyed by the arrival of new costumers whom they have to serve. In this short clip, Louis C.K., an American actor and comedian, states that 20-year-olds “haven’t done anything for anyone, ever,” mainly because young people have just been consuming “education, food, love, and iPods,” and have nothing to offer the world.
But you know, we are treated like children up until we go to college, and then suddenly we are supposed to behave like adults. What kind of human is capable of switching from childhood to adulthood over summer break? How are we supposed to be mature adults capable of dealing with the hardships of life, when just a few weeks ago, we had to ask our teachers if we could go to the bathroom?
There are hardly any parents who initiate their children into adulthood once they reach that age. Most of us have to figure it out on our own. Some people may argue that this helps us become independent, but you can’t deny that we are known for being emotionally fickle and irresponsible, and not primarily independent.
My generation seems to be full of people who want to be understood and accepted. But more than that, they want to do something significant. It’s the same with every generation. And the older people will always think the younger people are crazy.
“I can understand why the youth perceives us, their life predecessors, as hypocrites; we smoked pot when we were young, and now we get mad at our children for smoking pot as well.” – Jonathan E. Mule
Also known as the YOLO Generation, Generation Y, or the Swag Generation, millennials are actually deep thinkers. Contrary to popular belief, these young people are asking great questions to which authority figures don’t have the right answers. Young people are used to hearing unsatisfying responses such as, “That’s just the way things are,” or, “You can’t do much about that.”
In turn, young people don’t see these figures (teachers, parents, employers, etc.) as people with authority, which is precisely why teenage rebellion is so common in the West. We’re the ones who stand in the front of protests. We have the zeal and the energy to change things, because we have realized that there is something wrong with the world. So what kind of a kick in the nuts is a statement such as, “You can’t do much about that”?
Obviously the world isn’t offering us a mission worth our while. So we make our own missions: how many bottles of vodka can you chug before passing out? Is it possible to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon powder? Can you climb to the top of the One World Trade Center and B.A.S.E. jump off it?
How far can I go?
We love to push our limits. And the older generation scoffs at it, thinking we are irresponsible, entertainment-addicted narcissists. But in reality, we just haven’t found a mission worth our while, so we settle for superficial stuff like coning, planking, and twerking. Then we post it on Vine, Facebook, and YouTube, get millions of views, and become famous for something trivial.
We’re idle because we have no mission, not because we love being idle. So wouldn’t it be absolutely fantastic if someone gave us something crazy to do? Something meaningful. Not a job, but a mission. We need it. We need to lock eyes with a vision that is bigger than ourselves. Something so extraordinary that entire governments have to change their focus from spending money on prisons and military to supporting its own youth and their innovative projects. Young people rallied together for Kony 2012 and Occupy Wall Street all over the world. Isn’t that a clear indication?
“You can’t just go about your life with such lofty ideas. Life is hard work. You first have to complete school, leave home, become financially independent, marry someone, and have a child. Once you have your life together, when you’re more mature and experienced, around the 30 year mark or so, then we can talk about changing the world.”