To all the articles that claim to have all the answers to happiness, on how to mend a broken heart, or even on how to grieve the right way. Stop. To the writers that write articles on what we require to find fulfillment. Stop. Stop writing lists on what we, millennials, need to do to obtain contentment. On behalf of the millennials in pursuit of happiness, these articles do more damage than good. They make us believe that if we read them and follow them, over and over again, we will eventually find happiness. Thought Catalog, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, and Buzzfeed constantly publish articles that target millennials.
I often find myself reading these articles on nights when I feel lost. Every time I stumble upon these types of articles, I feel very hopeful, hoping that someone has experienced life the way I did and successfully discovered the answer to happiness. But here’s the problem: people experience life differently, and have different opinions and feelings. These generalized articles impact people differently. These articles seem to actively discourage diversity. They set an expectation for us “20-somethings” to fit a mold.
So my question is: how effective are these articles?
Every time a “20-something” (a term that most articles use to target a specific audience) sees an article with a title that targets them, they have the urge to read them. Stop writing to us “20- somethings” and let us live. Stop trying to tell us what to do. Stop dictating us. Stop drowning us with your words. It sets expectations and disappointments to us “20-somethings.” It feels like a guideline rather than advice.
What happened to “you do you” and “be your own person?” I believe in individuality and experiencing life the way you want to.
I recently stumbled upon an article, “20 Things Every 20-Something Should Know How to Do.” While reading this, I realized that I internally reassure myself if I fall under that category. When I end up not falling under this certain category, I feel like I am a failure. For example, the article points out that we need to stop being online often. I disagree. The world we live in today requires the Internet to survive. It provides us with information, as well as allowing us to connect with others. As a 20-something who lives 10000 miles away from my family, if I limit my online presence I cut myself off from my family.
Another article recently published on Thought Catalog, “Your Forever Person Is Going To Be Willing To Fight For You,” describes what kind of person you should be in love with. This article provides an unrealistic expectation for young girls seeking love. These “ideal-relationship” articles possibly inspire bad decision-making. The article claims, “He’ll fight to make you his forever.” Relying on an article to ensure that your relationship is real damages the integrity of the relationship.
Fragile “20-somethings” constantly look for answers in a society where they need to fend for themselves, and reading these generalized articles don’t provide them with experiences they need to find these answers. Experiencing life today as we are still discovering ourselves and establishing our identities represents the millennial struggle.
These articles influence how we think and manipulate us into thinking that they provide shortcuts to life. Instead of trying to make us feel good, it ends up pointing out our flaws and what we lack.
Enough negativity exists in the world without the presence of articles that nitpick on your shortcomings.
Stop writing cliché articles that damage rather than improve our lives. To the writers: you experienced your life without a road map, so let us do the same.