Yesterday, while working with a group of my disabled students, I was approached by a bitter elderly woman who must have seen me as an ambassador to the twentysomethings of America. She wanted me to relay the message to my people that Taylor Swift is the only twentysomething in this country who contributes to society. Taylor took time out of her busy schedule last week to visit a fan in my hometown and drink at our local Starbucks. It was a big deal. It made local news and gave our boring suburb its fifteen minutes of fame. And it apparently makes Taylor a better young adult than me. Why don’t we all help society as much as Taylor? Why don’t I go out there and give my time like Taylor? I joked that I couldn’t help in the grand ways Taylor did because I don’t have any fans to visit. She didn’t laugh.
We twentysomethings get a lot of backlash. Everyone thinks we are lazy and whiney and don’t desperately want to be making enough money to pay off our overwhelming student loan debt and move out of our parents’ house. Everyone thinks we are all potheads and drunks and Tinder whores. Everyone thinks we’re spoiled and self-centered and not as wonderful as Taylor Swift. This woman’s comment about my lacking contribution to our great nation got me thinking…what is the real reason that older folks hate us? In all the time I could’ve spent bettering society, I instead compiled a speculative list. I present to you: twenty possible reasons everyone hates twentysomethings.
20. We are all way too passionate about the 90’s.
Any twentysomething will fight you to the death if you argue that any decade besides the nineties was a good time to grow up. Sure, maybe we’ve only been alive for two full decades and during much of the nineties we have no solid memories, but don’t you dare challenge us on this! Our childhood was full of pop culture trends that were so quirky and funny and inspire hundreds of listicles every day. Kids these days just don’t even know what they’re missing out on- I GREW UP IN THE BEST DECADE BECAUSE GREEN KETCHUP.
19. We are the reason the Kardashians are famous.
I’d guess that about ninety percent of the people who keep up with the Kardashians are twentysomethings. Without our need to constantly be updated on the mundane happenings of a big family with a lot of “K” names and selfies and nudity, the Kardashian empire probably never would have rose to rule this country. Thanks, guys. (SIDENOTE: Someone please explain to me why they’re famous because I still don’t understand.)
18. We post too many uneducated opinions online.
We like to share opinions without knowing facts. We like to engage in outrageous Facebook fights over beliefs and politics and world events. We like to attack each other for having different opinions and beliefs. We get weird enjoyment out of watching our peers begin battles over a topic none of them understand.
We don’t really need to share our new haircut in the form of a duck-faced selfie. No one needs to share their drunkenness with the world by uploading a blurry picture kissing a bottle of Bud Light. Selfies are the downfall of society- keep your eyes open for my dissertation on this topic.
16. We all suck at staying in touch.
Every friend you run into who you haven’t heard from in four years is going to say, “Sorry I never answered your phone calls and texts and Facebook messages and direct messages on Twitter and #tbt shout-outs on Instagram! I’m just so bad at staying in touch!” How is it that a generation raised on meticulously folded handwritten notes and hours upon hours of AIM is suddenly so bad at keeping in touch?
15. All this damn technology!
Do we really need to leave our iPhones out next to us when we’re at dinner with friends? Must we answer group texts during family holidays? Is that email from your boss more important than the people gathered around you? We do a very bad job of being present in the moment because we must constantly be connected to everyone. (Yet, no one keeps in touch. What’s up with that?)
14. We no longer say entire words or sentences.
I CAN’T with words like “totes” and “legit”.
13. We have a constant need to share every moment with the world.
No one in the world cares about the Pumpkin Spice Latte you got at Starbucks today. No one cares that you hate the rain. No one cares that you’re at the gym. No one cares, yet for some reason we continue to outline every detail of our lives on multiple websites for the world to yawn at.
12. We complain about student loans a lot.
I have a full-time job and two part-time jobs, and my bank account still cries out in agony once a month when student loan payments are due. Only nine and a half more years of suffering! That’s my student loan saga – most twentysomethings have a similar story they like to discuss at least weekly as they cry over cheap wine.
11. Being tired and busy is always a contest.
Being a young professional and someone trying to pay off student loans and move out of your parents’ house means that you are busier and more exhausted than you ever have been. Instead of dealing with this quietly, we try to convince the world that we are the BUSIEST and MOST TIRED and MOST CAFFEINE-DEPENDENT. I’m sure the 40-year-old single mother of four at the desk next to you doesn’t really care about your “exhaustion”.
10. We flood the Internet with listicles.
9. We’re always in a rush.
We speed through red lights because we’re late for work. We text while driving because every text must be responded to immediately. We put our heads down and walk past old friends in the store because we don’t have a spare minute to say “hi”. We have no time to say “hello” and “how are you?” before spilling out our Starbucks order to the barista. Older people don’t get it that we’re not RUDE, we’re just too damn busy for safety or pleasantries!
8. We quote Mean Girls A LOT.
Mean Girls quotes have been an integral part of daily conversation for the past ten years. We get it, everyone. You can go shave your back now.
7. We all think we’re supremely unique.
We like to talk about how quirky and unique and different we are. We try really hard to find that one aspect of our being that sets us apart from the pack and if we don’t have an edge, we create one. Your pink hair doesn’t change your bland personality. Your face tattoo doesn’t mask your insecurities.
6. We dont no how to sppell or wut grammer realy even is tho.
Its just like so hard to even remember cuz like wen did we even learn any of that stuff? Middle skool? Was i even payin attention then? Who cares if i spell anything write or use the rite forms of words cuz like thats wat autocorrect and spell check is for anyway, duh. Im not wrong, your wrong. I cant even.
5. We’re really mean about accepting family members into our social media world.
Your mother grew you and pushed you out of a tiny hole in her body and raised you and sacrificed her entire life for you. The least you can do to repay the eternal debt is to accept her friend request. She just wants to keep in touch with her spawn and see what you’re up to because she loves you. Social media does not belong to twentysomethings. Parents and aunts and grandparents have people they want to keep in touch with too. Get over it.
4. We are just plain old assholes on the Internet.
If/when this piece is published on some Internet website, I’m sure that half of the anonymous comments will be really mean and not at all related to this subject or my writing. “You’re ugly”, “You’re fat”, “You’re stupid” all grace our comment boards too often. We mask our hostility behind anonymity and are cruel to people we know nothing about. We use the Internet as a place to air our anger and hatred, rather than as a place to support and love our fellow twentysomethings and fellow human beings.
3. They’re jealous.
We are hated because we’re young and agile and we have our whole lives ahead of us. We’re at a pivotal and brief moment in time where we’re free and scared and unscathed. We’re unwrinkled, we haven’t lost our hair to male pattern baldness yet, and we can still stay out drinking until three in the morning and only suffer mildly the next day. We have all this and we don’t even realize it, because youth is wasted on the young. We won’t see how good we have it right now until it’s all gone and it’s too late. We are right at the very beginning of our adult life and have a world of opportunity at our fingertips, and that’s something pretty legitimate to be jealous of.
2. We think that we know everything.
When we came over the hill into the twentysomething decade of our lives, we suddenly could see miles ahead of us and had a clear picture of how the world works. We’re not done growing, though. We’re not the fully formed adults we like to pretend we are. We’re a group of know-it-all punks who suddenly joined the adult table and spewed out our opinions like they were facts, then forced the world to proofread our premature memoirs. We complain that no one takes us seriously, but we haven’t given anyone a reason to yet. We’re young. We’re still forming ideas and opinions. We’re still gathering experiences. You can be smart without being wise- wisdom will come with age. As the appointed ambassador to the twentysomethings, I propose that we all take this decade to shut up and listen and learn some lessons about being good adults.
1. We’re not all Taylor Swift.
Let’s be honest, this is probably the one and only reason older folks hate us. Thanks for making the rest of us look bad, Taylor.