Dear Gen Z,
Full disclosure: I am a millennial, I love brunch with avocado toast, and side parts look good on me.
Please stop roasting the millennials. I do not know what we did as a collective to deserve this, but I miss watching you scream “SHUT UP, BOOMER” from the rooftops. I guess that should have been the sign that eventually your dislike for the Boomers would soon be directed a little bit closer to home.
The millennial coalition had very few issues with Gen Z. Your love of TiKToKs, fresh dance moves, alternative meat recipes, and dalgona coffee made the months of lockdown go by a little easier. However, you have taken it upon yourself to make fun of millennial’s hair, emoji use, clothing, and our love for brunch and Rosé All Day. Now, Gen Z has designated parts of the millennial aesthetic as cheugy?
The past few months of TikToks and online posts about middle parts vs. side parts, laughing emojis, and loss of love for skinny jeans led me to the hard realization that I am getting old. Some of the arguments are valid—skinny jeans were hard to wear, and relaxed jeans are nice. I am happy that Gen Z brought back mom jeans and straight leg jeans; my athletic legs thank you all.
The middle part vs. side part conversation is interesting. Most of us wear different parts based on our face shape or the health of our hair and hairline. Come on, friends, let us all live. For some reason, I have not been able to let the middle part thing rest. I have been trying to figure out why this conversation bothers me so much, and I believe it is a result of the difficulties millennials have had growing up. Growing up a millennial has become a consistent test of mental resilience.
When I think back over my life, I can remember early images on TV of wars in foreign lands. I remember years of financial recovery and then the horrific events of September 11 that shifted the country into a state of heightened patriotism. After September 11, the US entered a long-term war in the Middle East and other policy changes began to tear the country apart once again. The US also experienced many devastating hurricanes, which were overshadowed by the unfortunate increase of school shootings across the country.
As the wars surged on and we lost many Americans, our economic financial bubble burst and millennials found ourselves watching our parents lose their jobs while their financial stability and security evaporated. It was heartbreaking watching so many people lose college funds, homes, businesses, and various things they worked so many years to build now no longer existed. The millennials entering the workplace during that time were also competing against many people for jobs, and we were all told that we did not have enough experience to even compete for these jobs. After realizing that we would not find employment, many millennials found the easiest solution was to attend college.
Once in college, we were paying astronomical fees and taking out many loans just to attend class and pay for books. Millennials were told attending college would help us get ahead, only to find four years later that you were now overqualified for all the available jobs. At that time, the US was still in a state of financial peril, recovery was slow, and anger and racial turmoil began spreading across the country.
Fast forward to the present day. The world is in the middle of a pandemic, people are trying to survive financially, and the US is dealing with political and racial issues. The same millennials who took loans for college are in unbearable debt, and many are unable to afford homes, much less our day-to-day expenses. The prime stages in our lives over the past 30 years have been shrouded in so much sorrow. I feel mentally exhausted from all that we have dealt with growing up in this country. I mention all these events to remind other generations that each generation has different issues and events we have gone through and will continue to deal with in the future.
Maybe I am jealous of Gen Z and all your free spirits, your energy, your efforts to fight for the causes that mean the most. This millennial was tired of being commented on by the Boomers for occasional Starbucks drinks and lack of ability to buy a home. Now, millennials have been canceled by the generation that seemed closest to us in understanding. As close as I felt to Gen Z, this middle part divide makes me realize that we are worlds apart. Can we just have a truce? Agree to disagree while living our best lives?
While I wait for your answer, I will be “Live Laugh Loving” on my way to Rosé All Day brunch. If you are looking for me, I will be the girl with the side part double fisting a huge mimosa while drinking iced coffee out of a reusable cup with a metal straw.
Signed the not-so-cool anymore, just getting old, Cheugy Millennial.