I’m not a Millennial. I checked Wikipedia, which can’t be wrong, plus I can self-identify with whatever generation I choose. Besides, I am at the cusp, precisely. Many “researchers” would say I am an X-er, fair and square though there is a gray line, drawn somewhere in the early 80’s. I believe that with the X-ers is where I belong.
Here are some suggested qualities for Generation X-ers, and my thoughts about why I relate:
The “latchkey” generation- which gave way to social independence (I remember watching after school specials about latchkey kids made to babysit real life latchkey kids, like me, and I remember every female role model I had telling me I don’t need a man. I adored “Career Barbie” and her micro-suit and white briefcase, and wanted to be like her.)
Highest level of education- ever (Last generation of affordable higher education and we took advantage of it! Almost everyone I know my age has a degree they are not using but has long been paid for.)
More inclined to civic duty and responsibility (Today people think things just “happen” and problems are solved by complaining, or they smile for their selfie because they have no idea what’s going on. It’s amazing how many young people today don’t even understand what a primary election is. I was raised to understand politics and how they can affect me.)
Inclined to individual risk taking and business entrepreneurship (Yep, we’ve taken control over the way we spend our time and we can hardly bare to squalor it on a huge corporation that does not share our values. This may be part of that social independence that stems from the latchkey experience. See above.)
It’s not like I’m bragging, though I know that Millennials are well-hated, sometimes intensely. I have a friend who admitted that he “loves to fire Millennials” and another who will “not hire a Millennial under any circumstance” and please- can we stop with the hipster bashing already? Every generation dresses strangely and modifies their body in some way or another in the name of identity. Funny mustaches today are the beehives of yesterday. Plus, unchecked greed by generations before them, has ruined the chances of going to college for many Millennials, who can’t or won’t afford to drop 100k at the state university. We scoff at baby CEO’s in hoodies who have dropped out of college or never went in the first place and say how we worked hard for our first x amount dollars while they make that in 30 seconds while they sleep. Well good for them! They should be proud- but not quite that proud…
More than anything Millennials are attributed to being narcissistic. The selfie pandemic and the phones and devices made to take them. Endless social media sites that encourage self indulgence, self importance, and self promotion. The Me, Me, Me generation has arrived and you better photograph them, tag them, like them, hire them, buy what they are selling, and too bad if you are pregnant, Dylan or Madison was sitting there first. Part of me cries out: leave them alone, they are the first generation to have this technology that encourages- is made for- complete self absorption. The other part answers: yeah, but they created the technology in the first place.
So if I am not bragging about being an X-er and not a Y-er, what I am doing is just saying it is nice not to be stereotyped in these ways. I am flattered that most people say I look younger than I am. But don’t let my youthful exterior fool you! I can’t take a decent selfie, or use Twitter or Facebook effectively and without being overwhelmed, and if you offer me a job, I will be grateful and know that it is an opportunity for me, and not a lucky break for you. I’ve used paper phone books and dictionaries and have even made my share of mix tapes. These are not Millenial experiences.
Even if I took perfect selfies every time by using a stick, I am too old fashioned to be a Millennial. I still believe in hard, sweaty work when required, shitty jobs that pay minimum wage for young kids, phone calls not texting, meeting in person not on Facebook, going to the store for a roll of paper towels vs. ordering it online, and I still believe in privacy, at least in terms of what I ate for dinner. I have an LP collection. I even like to write with a pen (no, not a quill pen, you Smart Ass 26-year old, you). This kind of life may seem repulsive to some, and antiquated to many but it’s just life to me.
Maybe I am a Baby Boomer?