1. We do what we are passionate about.
Some members of older generations point fingers and assume we are lazy and stuck up because we will not do what we are told. We do not want to be bank executives and sit at a desk all day. We want to explore and create. We want to live our lives doing the things we love.
2. We are always on call.
Those outside of our generation complain about about how “kids are always on their phones.” Maybe we are, but maybe we aren’t always taking selfies and posting about ourselves. Once our “me” stage passes, employers will be thrilled. Our quick responses and “phone glued to our hands” lifestyle will come in handy. Instead of working 9-5 jobs, we will be on call 24/7 and can work from anywhere at anytime, dramatically increasing productivity.
3. Our generation’s women are outstandingly independent.
Although there is still great progress to be made, this is the first generation when young woman are focusing on a career. What men have done for generations is what women are doing now and are being harshly criticized for it. Women are waiting to get married or are waiting later to have children—if any at all. Single mothers are on the rise and are doing so by choice. Some women are choosing not to have children, which to some seems like the greatest mistake a woman can make. Realistically, they are helping a very serious population crisis since National Geographic now estimates the world population may be upwards of 12.3 billion by the year 2100. (The world’s resources are going to have a tough time supporting that.) They were presented with a challenge and are facing it head-on. Women can do it all and are consistently proving it.
4. We don’t judge, because change is inevitable.
Throughout history, the old have been criticizing the young, the colored, the gay, the straight, the tattoos, the piercings, the Afros, the poor, the rich, the disabled, etc. They complain and judge because others are not just like them. We are the first generation to break free of the pressures of being the norm. We have stood up and chosen not to be our parents or grandparents, but rather to be our own person. We are the most unique and diverse generation the world has ever seen. Being aware of this and embracing our differences also makes us the least judgmental and least hateful generation. So many of those in the older generation see this as a horrible crime that we have committed, but they are wrong. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but we are being innovators. Without innovators, we would most likely still be living in a segregated, sexist world. I would still be expected to be a stay-at-home mom and would never get the chance to be a doctor. My neighbor wouldn’t be able to use the same drinking fountain as me because she is black. We are finally making acceptance the norm, and it is about time.
5. We want our experiences to make a difference.
I can’t think of a single person my age who wants to go to school where they grew up, live there, get a dreary job, come home to their sad wife, put the kids to bed, and repeat. If you ask a Millennial what their goals and ambitions are, they will sound more like: Travel the world, fall deeply in love, save a life, or learn a new language. We aspire to experience new cultures and know firsthand how a Third World country lives. We do not want to merely hear about it on the news and hope somebody else fixes it. We want to see the issues the poor are facing firsthand and think of new ways to help. We want to give a week of our time to building a house for a community halfway across the world for free. We want to use our lives to give something to the world and not just settle for a mediocre life. We are going to make huge mistakes and learn from them instead of playing it safe and never learning a thing. If someone thinks that is the wrong way to live, then we don’t want to be right.
As a member of a generation that has no problem speaking its mind and wreaking havoc of the morals and expectations of the older generations, here is my message: BE PATIENT with the Millennials. You were in our shoes once too, but the environment is changing. We have grown up in the age of never-ending technological advancement and with the treat of terrorism looming over us. The Baby Boomer Generation went through a similar experience with the Cold War. With no promise of the future, we have no better option than to live our lives to the fullest and try to change the world for the better. Many say that we are a selfish group who won’t fill job openings and settle into the lives that have been cut out for us. They say we are just collecting student debt and contributing nothing. We disagree. With experiences we have finding ourselves and exploring what the world has to offer, we are also finding what we have to offer to the world. We aren’t focused on making six figures right out of college; we are focusing on how we are going to save the world from the mess it is already in. For all that we get accused of being the “Me Generation,” we have fantastically selfless goals.