Millennials Are the First Generation in History to Inspire Think Pieces About Millennials
I saw it, and I clicked on it. I couldn’t help it. It had the word “millennial” in the headline, and I am one of those: a millennial. So I had to click. It was about me, personally. Because I, personally, am a millennial. And millennials, research shows, are the first generation in history to inspire think pieces about millennials.
It wasn’t since the last time I’d read a think piece about millennials (Thursday) that I’d thought about what makes our generation unique. We weren’t allowed to roam free as children; we only did activities as teen-agers to get us into college; and we entered the workforce during the Great Recession. Upon reading the latest think piece about millennials, I really got to thinking about the fact that I wasn’t allowed to roam free as a child; I only did activities as a teen-ager to get myself into college; and I entered the workforce during the Great Recession. These things made me who I am: a completely unique individual, part of a completely unique generation—millennial.
A Gen Xer recently implied that I did not know how to have fun. She was quick to remind me that, when she was my age, she enjoyed activities such as “free time” and “economic stability.” In that moment, I wanted to tell her so many things, but my crippling anxiety (caused by choice overload, constant online comparisons to my peers’ success, and screens) prevented me from doing so. I wish I would have told her that I do know how to have fun. We just had different definitions of the word. My idea of fun is reading think pieces about millennials. It’s a hoot.
For many millennials, a social-media presence—on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter—has become integral to accessing the vast and varied world of millennial think pieces. I, for instance, clicked on a link on Facebook to an article about how millennials don’t have enough money, and then I shared it with my followers on Twitter. It is common knowledge that these social-media platforms—all founded by millennials, mind you—were formed for this very type of information dissemination. And look, it’s working. You’re reading this.
If you contemplate all of the things that think pieces about millennials have claimed that millennials have ruined, a staggering pattern becomes clear. Sure, we’ve killed beer, diamonds, antiques, sex, D.U.I.s, casual sit-down dining, napkins, Hooters, cereal, golf, American cheese, America, stilettos, motorcycles, middle children, mayonnaise, porn, print news, real estate, light yogurt, bar soap, divorce, democracy, fabric softener, loyalty, wine corks, lunch, banks, department stores, designer handbags, gyms, football, oil, relationships, handshakes, canned tuna, and cash. But focussing on all of the things we’ve ruined ignores all of the things that are thriving because of us. Such as, for example, think pieces about millennials. We are truly living in a golden age. I’m a millennial, so I would know.