Are We Like Our Parents, Millennials?

Adam Greenwald
Nov 13, 2018 · 4 min read
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by Brittany Simuangco on Unsplash

Today, our millennial generation is moving in and our parent’s generation is moving out. We are bursting with forward-thinking, progressive, and empowered individuals and families — filled with more optimism than ever before.

We are prospering with hard-working, compassionate and empathetic neighbors who live all around us.

We are seeing this play out in all corners of the country — whether it be our personal, professional or political arenas. And that’s a good thing.

Our generation talks to one another. All of this dialogue is happening around the clock. We no longer limit our neighborly conversations to weekends — or weekdays — when we’re home before 9 am and back after 5 pm. We no longer go out of our way to keep our exchanges to a minimum.

We know there’s a reason why people choose to live on the same street or in the same apartment building as us. We might as well get to know our neighbors and find out why.

We make an effort to go out of our way to help our fellow residents when in need. We volunteer our lawn mower when their lawn mower breaks. Or, we watch their pets while they’re away on vacation because they’ve watched ours.

We like to greet (almost) everyone we see — whether the store clerk, the town police officer or a stranger walking by us.

Perhaps, it’s because our generation prefers to live life on our own terms — to not give in to false expectations set by our friends or family — or to not be swayed by unsubstantiated claims of living the “right way” as told to us in books, TV shows and online.

Perhaps, it is because our generation prefers to live a life full of meaning, purpose, and commitment to our family, faith or work.

We no longer like to be defined by any single entity. We are unlike generations before us — where it was both common and safe to devote your life to either your family, your faith or your work.

What matters most to us is our willingness to be defined by forces for which we cannot measure — such as our character, morality, or integrity.

It is our willingness to be defined by how we lift ourselves up after personal or professional setbacks — and our ability to help others in times of trouble that may matter even more.

We make choices that greater align with our life goals — choices that accurately forecast whether or not we leave this world a little better than when we first entered it.

We witness first-hand how fast life can pass us by if we are not looking. We better understand that notion because life is indeed short and so we have no other choice but to ignore circumstances that are out of our control.

We make our voices heard for the first time about issues (technology, healthcare, entrepreneurship, government) that greatly affect us and our loved ones.

How do we do it? By helping.

We help ourselves by putting in the time to learn more about our family of origin and what that may tell us about the ways we are inclined to raise our own.

We help ourselves by taking inventory of our relationships and career choices.

We help ourselves by helping others when they need someone to turn to in times of calamity.

We derive great pleasure from welcoming others (familiar and unfamiliar) into our homes.

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by Duy Pham on Unsplash

Our generation gives less credence to what we perceive as self-serving accomplishments— such as a job title, the number of dollars in a bank account, or the exact date that a baby began to crawl.

Instead, we assign worthiness to what is underneath the facade —where we find a mutual awareness that humans are fundamentally good people with fundamentally good intentions.

For us millennials, it has become too easy to focus on our faults, mistakes, or misgivings.

It has become too easy to hold grudges or cloud ourselves in an air of negativity.

And so we extend ourselves outward with open arms — leaving our cultural and societal differences at the door. There is no more capacity for “fixed” mindsets — no more room for black or white thinking.

Instead, we move, bend, twist and change just as the seasons do. And we do so not because we have to — but because we want to.

Our generation now finds itself at a crossroads. We can adapt and grow together — or become stubborn and suffer alone.

To those of us who adapt and grow together — there is much to gain. The ability to shift perspectives, improve our skill sets or alter our communication techniques — things that were once considered trivial — now become deeply consequential.

When we align ourselves with the infinite resources that are available to us — we can advance ourselves, our families and our communities at-large.

That is playing the long game — one that will set our generation up to live prosperously and harmoniously for decades to come.

But to those of us who remain stuck, isolated or unforgiving — the years ahead will be challenging at the least — and deadly at the most. This is a very troubling and devastating reality.

There was once countless opportunities in life for do-overs, comebacks, and second acts for us millennials. But what if this opportunity became your last chance for a better future?

It very well could be — so better make it count.

Adam’s thoughts

The occasional musing by Adam Greenwald.

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