For The Culture
Apparently, these days, for people like us it means kale, alternative music, startups, the color pink and an unplugged online existence. Until a few days ago, I didn’t realize “us” included me. My snobbery had given way to ignorance bordering on thickness and I stumbled on what was news to me — I am part of them, “the millennials”. Get this, I found out through an online quiz where I excelled at an impressive 80% and I don’t even like kale. I didn’t know who I was anymore!
I liked to think of myself as an old soul. I mean, I like classical music. I am really bad at techy stuff. And math. Oh. I guess that accounts for my poor calculation of years and generations. I was indeed made in the 80's. This grouping of young individuals is really quite sweeping. I can hardly tell if the word “millennials” is often mentioned with awe or derision. It is reminiscent of the microcosm of the high school cafeteria seating dynamics. Millennials are the cool kids, the ones everyone wants at their parties. You might as well die a slow painful death of obscurity if you have nothing to impress this bunch. Brands are scuttling to be recognized and advertising is now as snarky as they are good-humored. The millennials own the market and they are building the economy one click at a time.
Have I mentioned how astonished I was at my result? I know I did. This time is for emphasis. I had always thought of myself as the moderately hip aunty that knows how texting works but whose use of emojis will make you cringe but here I am acing a quiz that asks “How Millennial Are You?”. Perhaps it is evident I still need some time to acclimatize to being in this generational bracket because I still refer to them as them. I considered this whole notion thoroughly- what does this really mean for me? The answer was quite enlightening as to the state of my stereotypical assumptions. You see, I was disappointed by my quiz score because I had thought that those almost a decade younger than me were spoilt brats with poor work ethic and an inflated sense of entitlement. These were all negative indicators attributed to the average millennial. I had also identified this through first hand experience quite a number of times, thereby reinforcing my bias. The media did not help either.
However, I cannot honestly say the same for myself as a millennial. I recognize that there are even more hard working millennials than myself now that my perspective on the concept is broadened. Even though our digital footprints may give our carbon footprints a run for their money, a lot of millennials are in fact successfully at the forefront of both these footprint industries. I’ll say we are pretty ambitious.
We revel in culture and all it’s ramifications. We drive our causes through social media. We eat out very often and the contents of our meals find their way to the Internet with witty hashtags and red pins proclaiming our location to the world. Contrary to popular beliefs, likes and commentary are not tied to our self validation. Instead, they reflect relatability in a world where being different is a struggle. The seemingly public documentation of the mundane or sometimes fabulous nuances of our everyday life serves as accountability of sorts. It shows best and worst of humanity at the palm of your hands.
Millennials are doing exploits. We are to a large extent a deeply creative lot, happy to push boundaries and re-invent how history is chronicled. We protest. We petition. We are keenly aware of everything around us. We are woke. Our generation consists of too many moving parts to be considered one massive bland lump of youngins. We are eclectic. We represent all the things that can be. We are expressive. The sacarsm, pith and even glibness of our expressions are supported by unending memes and gifs. Hiplet? We did that.
I reckon this is what an ideal time capsule should aspire to. Perhaps when the latest batch of post-millennials reach their prime, the iPhone X will be an impressive little gadget that fell terribly short of perfecting teleportation. No pressure.
As I stand undulating in my existence as a member of Generation Y, I am now adequately prepared to intentionally immerse myself in the polarity of a new age. I am even more certain in my conviction to give kale another shot. I may still not like but it is a superfood goddammit and I too deserve leafy goodness.