Millennial: to be or not to be, that is the question? Is it? Or am I Gen X? Or am I a generational outsider? Merriam Webster defines a millennial as ‘a person born in the 1980s or the 1990’s’. I was born in ’87 ( and proud), yes I remember watching FraggleRock and singing to Zoom Zoom from Zenon: Girl from the 21st Century; don’t play; you remember too! Over the years I began to embrace the ‘millennial’ tag, but something that started to stand out to me was how we were viewed by older generations.
A few days ago I read an article, addressing the lack of self-identification with millennials. Pew Research Center, wrote the article ‘Most Millennials Resist the Millennial Label’ addressing how generations truly view themselves. Despite millennials being the largest and most influential generation ON EARTH, only 41% of millennials identify with the millennial generation; while older millennials identify with Gen X. The survey found that Millennials are uncharacteristically more willing to pin negative stereotypes upon ourselves. What? Ok, we’ll keep on reading. The article goes on to say that 59% of millennials think we’re self-absorbed. What? Ok that’s when I stop the presses. The younger generation must be the ones answering these surveys! Your saying, the generation that is pushing harder than any other for equality, free healthcare, free/reduced education, is ‘self-absorbed’. The generation that pushed for equal marriage, the generation that said no more war, the most educated generation, said we’re ‘self-absorbed? Hmmm. I start to feel conflicted in the sense that I view our generation as ‘innovative’, ‘empathetic’, and ‘relentless’. In this moment I’ve never felt more proud to call myself a ‘millennial’. Then the career coach in me questioned, ‘if we see ourselves so negatively, no wonder other generations do as well’.
Then it hit me. We’ve drunk the kool-aid. We’ve bought into the idea that because we view the world as changing, that we are unconventional, unapologetic, and ask ‘why’? That we are seen as lazy for not wanting to live conservatively like our parents led. That we are seen as naïve, because we believe everyone should get along and live cohesively. That we are rude and unruly, because we know what we want and don’t feel the need to wait on hierarchies to tell us yes. We are the most influential generation on this earth! We are making change without even putting all of our effort forth. Could you imagine the change we could create, if only we stopped this indoctrinated sense of self-loathing? So yes, I am un-conventional. Yes, dear millennial, you are unapologetic for not wanting to sit around waiting for someone to say ‘it’s your turn’. Yes, we believe everyone can get along and live harmoniously. So yes, I am a millennial. Stop buying into the idea that you are negative; start realizing your potential and know the only person holding you back is you! Dear Millennial, you are powerful, go get your dream!