I’m too optimistic to be a Millennial, and too much of a pessimist to hope for a better term. Now, I’m coining one.
It would be easier to call myself a Millennial if I could believe it. There’s something fundamentally wrong with me that while I like the idea of my generation having a title, it doesn’t fit what I see myself as or how I see my peers.
My favorite definition so far of Millennial is this: a person reaching adulthood in the 21st century. That doesn’t fit me at all.I’m 32 and I still don’t feel like an adult. If anything I would define myself as a disillusioned hippie, with a tech addiction and chronic depression caused by constantly trying to define myself. I can honestly say my biggest problem with the term Millennial is that it wasn’t coined by my generation.
Credit for this vulgar term is given to William Strauss and Neil Howe, both of whom do not belong in the generations they’ve helped to tag. If we are to believe the Strauss–Howe generational theory, in which the cycles of generations follow general personas and usher in new eras, then perhaps it’s time we coin a new phrase for this widely disillusioned generation: Generation Millstone.
Generation Millstone has reached a whole new level of disbelief. Our entire childhood the definition of an adult was someone who’s able to pay their bills, buy a house, own and maintain a car, and still have enough of a disposable income to not only have a savings account but also have a life outside of work. This, of course, is a dream for Generation Millstone. Unless there is a drastic change in the economy, in the value of the generation of 20 to 30-somethings, and more widespread availability of education and health care, these goals will remain a pipe dream.
Generation Millstone can be defined as a generation of people between the ages of 20 to 40 who are saddled under such extreme debt that their only choice is to work mind-numbing jobs in order to merely stay alive. Those who do try to better the chances of getting ahead in life by obtaining an education are often times forced to carry the millstone of extreme debt in order to do so. Generation Millstone has been spoon-fed the idea that just by putting their nose down to the the grindstone that they can get ahead, only to discover that no amount of self-mutilation is ever going to truly work.
It’s only left us with bloody faces, and an extreme disdain for the generations that lied to us.
Generation Millstone was taught that if you didn’t get a proper education you’d end up working it at McDonald’s. Only to find the only jobs they could obtain even with a bachelor’s degree, were at McDonald’s. The generation that was taught that if you got an entry-level job and worked hard you should get a promotion, only to have the previous generation holding all the management positions with a steely death grip. The generation that now struggles to define themselves, as that’s the only way to market yourself. The generation of self care to recover from the trauma of a generation that stayed together, even if it was toxic.
We’re more community driven, we circle the wagons a lot faster. It’s because we had to learn how to catch the shit before it even gets to the fan because we can’t afford the clean up afterward. We’re living at home because we can’t even dream of owning our own. We drive shit cars to even more shit jobs and feel blessed when we don’t have to work a weekend.
And I can hear the rallying cry of “Not all of us are like that” and all I can say is “Good bitch, we don’t want you in our community anyway”. There are very few things that would exclude you from the Generation Millstone.
If your mommy and daddy paid for your education, then you don’t belong in this group. If you’re lined up to inherit the house that you grew up in, then this isn’t your hashtag. If your parents have never had to take out a loan to get your teeth fixed or to pay for a medical stay in a hospital, then this isn’t the cause for you. If you’ve never had to decide between a car payment or rent or eating, then this isn’t your game. You don’t have anything to lose by not banding together, but Generation Millstone does.
And We’re Done Putting Our Noses To The Grindstone.
I think the greatest defining characteristic of Generation Millstone is that they have suffered more from listening to previous generations then they would have if they just had ignored them and done what they wanted to. Now they’re forcing the economy to change, thanks to a lack of time they have given birth to the gig economy. More members of Generation Millstone work on the black market of under table workers thanks to a lack of decent paying jobs. More are willing to sell their life away if it means keeping their head above water. It’s getting old quick.
Like every generational archetype before us, Generation Millstone is ushering in a new era. One in which healthcare is a demand, not a luxury. Where we will get a living wage or else. We are no longer excepting the things we can not change.
We are building guillotines in our backyards and looking at the 1% like the Kings they think they are.
Like the story from the Brothers Grimm, we will find you Evil Mothers and we will crow all your misdeeds against us, and when you deny them thrice we will drop the Millstone on you. The Dawn of a new Era is coming, and its hashtag will be #GenrationMillstone.