I have a rather sardonic view on life. Usually I hate all things millennial-related, especially in its quest to define a generation of people who are lumped together just because they happened to be born in the same age bracket. I fit the bill as a millennial because not only did I begin this piece with the article that millennials seem to be obsessed with, but also because I am turning 25 and no less certain about my future than everyone else I encounter around my age. The structure and discipline that I rebelled against in school disappeared instantaneously when I left it, and now I find myself attempting to maintain my individually in a sea of people who sport similar credentials, job titles, ideas and thoughts. And throughout this, as I attempt to find myself in society, I have learnt a number of things about the millennial generation.
1. People’s upbringing explains almost everything, even in a day-to-day setting
You meet people who you wouldn’t necessarily hang out with, but are required to spend a certain amount of time with, such as in the workplace. And here is when you realise the importance of upbringing. Whether it’s the co-worker with the bad hygiene or the one lacking any social tact, it all comes down to how they were raised and how they choose to conduct themselves in society.
2. Past turmoil can be overcome
One of my best friends overcame a difficult childhood to become one of the most well-rounded people I know. Her upbringing with an alcoholic dad isn’t an unfamiliar trope – yet her ability to forgive and move past it floors me constantly.
3. Be careful what you post on social media
It is unbelievable how many people share their entire lives on social media. Don’t share compromising photos of yourself (no matter how “authentic” the setting may be – naked photos are always a no-no) and then expect a job offer.
I am a private person, and therefore Facebook became something that contributed little to my life. At first, telling people 3 years ago that I didn’t have Facebook prompted surprised exclamations, but now the anti-social media movement seems to have caught on with a lot of people. Still some people tend still feel the need to share every detail without fail. Which leads me to…
4. People crave validation
There is this egotistical shamelessness that seems to accompany sites like Instagram, masked as perceived perspective when it fact it boils down to a cry for validation. I don’t know when social media made it acceptable for people to convert attention into countless posts or selfies, and receive validation by the number of likes they garner. It’s self-obsession at its finest which most sane people view with a mixture of sympathy (and often plenty of ridicule and disgust). Millennials, and society as whole, have become a bunch of attention-seekers who crave validation and attention. If you post passive-aggressively ambiguous messages all over social media about guys treating you badly or a photo of yourself in hospital so that people ask what is wrong with you, maybe you need better friends or it’s time to re-examine yourself.
5. Communication is a two-way street
With the global mobility millennials seem to be armed with these days (especially considering the popularity of working on the cruise ships) keeping in touch with friends can be difficult. However if the will is there and communication is maintained on both ends, it can be done. Same applies to long-distance relationships. It just takes a bit of effort.
6. Paying attention to current affairs isn’t a hobby. It’s a necessity
I find myself drawn to people who can hold a conversation about what is going on in the world, and have an opinion on current affairs. In this day and age there is no room for ignorance when news is available so easily. Choose to be informed (and disheartened by the news) than ignorant.
7. Relationships should make you happy
People are always saying that millennials have the right to be a bit selfish when it comes to being in your 20s, and with regards to relationships, I agree. If you have goals and dreams that don’t include your partner in the future, it’s ok to be selfish. If you’re in a relationship and his ex-girlfriend is a psycho, get out. As clichéd as it might be, putting your happiness first is always important.
8. Getting into the working world is a tiring and disparaging process
And your dream job (and salary) doesn’t just fall into your lap. Most millennials have another 40 years of career ahead of them, and therefore expecting to find the perfect job (and salary) is unobtainable. Some jobs will be good, some less so. Perseverance goes a long way, as well as taking every opportunity presented. Which leads me to…
9. Never turn down an opportunity to pursue higher education
If the opportunity is there, take it. Learning a new skill, furthering your knowledge or just adding to your CV is always beneficial.
10. Cherish your family
Concluding on one of the most important aspects I have learnt, cherishing one’s family is an integral part of being a well-rounded millennial. Gone are the precocious teenage years filled of fighting and attitude, and left in its place is an overwhelmingly infinite amount of respect, gratitude and astonishment at how much my parents have done for me, how much my family has shaped me and how important they are in my life. Cherish them, every day.