So, I have been coming to terms with the fact that I am considered a millennial. I felt this point was arguable and that I was just a bit too old to fit under the classification. However, a colleague at work ‘Googled’ the term for confirmation that I was indeed just the right age to be considered a millennial. Lets clarify the terminology, shall we.
A third-party independent research company called, Pew Research Center, considers anyone born between the years of 1981 and 1996 which puts millennials currently in the age range of 23-38, which is surprisingly older than me. So, maybe there is some reasoning behind this determination. However, I feel that it works something like this – the truest depiction of the concept of millennial is portrayed by the bottom portion of that age range (the twenty-somethings in other words) and then lets say the millennials above the age of thirty had a bit different perception growing up.
But I digress, as my whole point of approaching this topic has nothing to do with the classification of millennials and what age you need to be if you are considered a millennial. No, at this point, I will just say I have accepted the labeling of millennial for better or worse. And since the older portion of the population feels the needs to categorize us all as so, let me identify some of my own realizations about the generational gap. I feel the need to speak up for my peer group whether or not they consider themselves my peers and also despite whether or not they agree with the pronouncements I will be making shortly.
So, let me start by saying this. Each generation has been classified, typically by a single letter, to denote the timeframe in which we were born. This labeling, in my opinion, is meant mostly for the sake of categorizing and eventually researching census information such as purchasing trends and an overall psychological understanding of our generation of citizens. Most of that goes without saying, but I figured I would preface the whole matter before I tear it all apart. Although I do believe this is important research material that will make it possible to understand the difference perspectives amongst the different age groups in our country, this does not mean I agree with the descriptions they have appointed to my generational group.
Let’s jump right into this shit. First of all, the entire premise of a millennial is our interaction with technology. I am sorry but that is the dumbest revelation anyone has ever made about a group of people. Okay, did we claim my grandmother’s generation was that of the TV generation because certainly almost every senior citizen I know has a special place in their hearts for old ass sitcoms and comedy shows like NASH, Macgyver, Sanford and Sons, Gilligans Island, I Love Lucy, etc. They stared at the idiot box for the remainder of their adult lives yet society has never defined them for it. Meanwhile, because cellphones became ubiquitous during lets say the end of my high school career, that supposedly shaped who I became along with my peer group. I didn’t even have my own phone until I turned 18 given the expense of getting even just a monthly plan. And just to clarify, no our parents were not running out and buying us the greatest new cellphones just because they existed and they were out.
The reality is, the older generation above us was so busy taking drugs and partying, enjoying their free love and making hopeless movements their priority such as marijuana legalization rather than tackling the homeless crisis or the hunger crisis. Because it is so much more important that everyone is high. Don’t get me wrong, I am not denying the medicinal benefits but what I am denying is that there was not some more important higher priority issue in this country during that time. Then they wonder why the millenials are more concerned with the next iPhone model than we are with the issues truly facing our society. The role models that we were looking up to for guidance were so busy stuck in their second childhoods, chasing dreams and a bag of weed, neglecting the well being of their children, and ultimately following a pipe dream down a rabbit hole.
Let’s dig even deeper into this: briefly, there was some slight debate about the labeling of our generation. It was probably because the generational gap was shifting onto the new Generation Z, which approximately anybody 22 years old and younger aka the millennials had millennial babies and suddenly we needed to categorize them too. In the process, I guess there was some discussion about whether or not the real millennials were our children and if we should be consideration something else. They toyed with the name of “snowflakes” because they claim my generation has a meltdown over any and everything. I would argue that is a more fitting explanation of the generation behind us (the new Gen Z children) but whatever. Let me play devil’s advocate and pretend I agree with this label. If so, then there is certainly reasoning to explain this.
I truly do believe that my elders and all of these Generational researchers that initially aimed to answer that very question, they had no fucking clue and began throwing together rationals that don’t exactly make sense together. For instance, the whole technology stance is a crock of shit. Technology has enhanced our lives just as much as it has the medical industry, the business realms, in fact, all industries. Technology and the advent of the internet has literally changed the world. If anything, its introduction into society was one of the fastest evolution of any invention to date.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of other innovations that have evolved over time, but none of them at the rate of which the internet and relative technologies have done so. Even the television set, which is a staple within the American household, has taken decades for the hardware to be innovated and to evolve into the full-featured, extremely high resolution, high quality, display devices that they have become. Now, with that being said – the researchers saw something phenomenal occurring in the background of our society and they immediately needed to connect that to something. In other words, correlation is a media favorite. I myself, as a writer, use correlation to connect related facts and ideas to one another. But this is like a whole new level.
I am also not saying that growing up in this time period has not had any affect at all on my generation (aka other millennials like myself) because it certainly has. I mean, I work with technology for a living and I question how much of my current job duties and responsibilities were even in existence back when I was growing up. There is a commercial for Porter and Chester Institute (a very well-known technical and trade college in the northeast USA) that talks about a skills gap within the workforce because technology is progressing much faster than student can be taught these principles. In fact, technology is advancing at such a progressive rate than many of the technical certifications required to find work in my field, have been made temporary rather than permanent certification like they used to be.
In other words, the generation before mine was able to work in the field of IT with much less expense revolved around testing and eventually retesting down the line. The highest level of exam I took was fairly entry level with a cost of over $400 and when I did not pass the exam by mere points (I believe a passing score was 720 points and I had about 712 points), I realized there is no concession or discount on the price. They do so for full time students with a school email address ending in .edu but even those emails don’t stick around for long after graduation. My point here is that my generation has a whole new standard of living and working and finances that the generation before us can BARELY understand.
Then there is a man vs self side of the coin – you know, the problem that doesn’t need to be a problem but is one because we are all just flawed human beings. Well, here it is because I promise it is my favorite misconception about our age range. And let me be more precise as I discuss this one because it involves other generational groups – both the Baby Boomers generation (between the ages of 55 and 73) and Generation X (between the ages of 39 and 54) are the parents of the millennials, depending on what part of the scale they fall under. These two older generations were young and dumb, as all youth tend to be historically speaking, but eventually they had children and grew up. And when they did, they decided all of sudden they should have standards for us, their children, in order to promote a better future.
So, our parents pressed the importance of new concepts they had not seen in their day and age, such as birth control and condoms, or the importance of education. Now, as with any attempt to make change, there are successes and failures. There was much success in fighting drug addiction, and don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of addicts right now in 2019 just as there are still drug dealers out there in the world. However, I would say the whole free love, hippy environment that fostered the heavy drug usage of the past, has certainly died down immensely. And believe me, I know was a teenager when Woodstock was still going strong, but I mean to say it was dwindling as most of that generation was growing up and figuring out their lives. There are also other changes that are out of our control such as, inflation, technological innovation, and climate change.
Despite that some of these changes can be considered positive, the older generations look upon us in a negative light for these things. I already gave you an easy example, and it was that of the cellphone. I’m not sure what makes older generations think that cellphones greatly improved our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I would hate to lose my cellphone but it would not be the end of the world. It also improved my life in the most shallow sense, but it does not put food on the table, not to mention cellphone services cost entirely too much money compared to the prices our parents paid for their basic phone plans. Climate change is not a good thing, generally speaking, but there are some perks such as much milder winters in the northeast USA. And here comes the older generation, as if they played no part in the damaging of our environment, talking about how long they walked to school, work, etc. in however many feet of snow. Such a cliche for me to go there but yes, older people, shutup about which modes of transportation and communication DID NOT EXIST YET back when you were younger. Maybe you should have become an inventor and not an accountant or bank teller and you could have created the means to communicate over long distances or you could have been Henry Ford instead of John Doe. I don’t know but stop blaming the shit on millennials.
They have also tried to implement other changes that were not so successful. Like the educational advancements and changes in the curriculum. That was not as successful as they thought it would be. I mean, sure they wanted their children to be smarter and have more opportunities. So, we were pushed to forward the mission of the secondary education system. First of all, how many of our elders even bothered with that whole college process and yet they were able to make a living, easily. Now, however, you can barely get a job with a high school diploma (at least one worth working where you can provide for yourself and family). And even with a BA, about a year into working on my Masters, and two certifications I was granted when I passed the respective exams, I can barely find a full time job that isn’t trying to grossly underpay me for my efforts.
All of this, simply to say that, my peers and I have been coined as millennials and then assigned all of these harsh and incredibly unfair connotations to define what is it that makes a millennial a millennial. And I feel like I have a much better answer for the world. We are the fed the fuck up generation. Taxation without representation is the story of our lives and we didn’t have to damage the ocean by throwing massive amounts of tea into that ecosystem for us to say in more or less words – WE ARE UNHAPPY WITH OUR REPRESENTATION. All day and every day, society is enthralled in these political ideals that have NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR GENERATION!!! They talk about the social security and disability fund without ever addressing the fact that it won’t be sufficient to support our elderly changing needs once we have reached retirement ages. Lets not forget that these older generations will leave ours with the task of fixing what you all fucked up back in your days and we still are. The opium and the methamphetamine that was circulating when we were babies or being conceived, yes we paid the price for your mistakes.
And now we live in a world of upside down capitalism where manufacturing is a joke and nothing is built to last and the price of goods and living expenses have skyrocketed meanwhile the minimum wage only just reached double-digit numbers within the last decade or maybe even less. So, here is the reality – older generations are jealous of our generation and the opportunities that have been afforded us. They have no concept that the opportunities they BELIEVE they have created for us have mainly hindered us. They say things like, when I was in high school we didn’t have cellphones and we had to wait at home for the boys to call. As if having a cellphone means the boys are calling it. That is like the least deductive reasoning I have heard to classify an entire generation of different individuals. That is not to mention that when you live in an urban environment, the benefits of our generation reach us much slower. Who gives a damn what new gadget exists on the market when our market is not being targeted due to the extreme cost of goods.
I work in IT and I cannot afford a Macbook Pro – are you kidding me. But there are kids in college now who received a brand new one from their parents before they were enrolled. Hell, my parents didn’t even bother to buy me a laptop until I began my Master degree program at the tender age of WHAT – 27 YEARS OLD!!! Yes, so I got my first cellphone at 18 when I was old enough to finally use my SSN for a line of credit. And though we had a desktop PC at home, don’t at all for a moment think that I was not at the library printing and transferring my homework assignments onto a USB flash drive to take it to some other computer at my school. Though I learned to drive early, I didn’t have my own car until college either and that was probably sophomore/junior year of college, the earliest. I took sometimes 2 buses and a train to get to school. And for the sake of finances, I did not live on dorm as the tuition at UCONN was already high enough without room and board and food added to that.
Every car we invest in, last years less than the year models prior and thus they depreciate in value must faster. The real estate market does the weirdest shit and even for us to afford an apartment is a challenge, nevermind being approved for a mortgage with these ridiculous student loans breathing down our backs. Our children cost more, their clothes, their shoes, their toys, and everything includes technology that we did not ask to be built into everything that is marketed to our generation. It likes the terminology and all related principles of ‘millennials’ were staged in order to make us into what they wanted. They wanted us to be technological zombies so they created a series of shallow advancements and marketed them to us in their most clever and well designed well manipulated mannerism. Then after they sell us these $1000 phones, they are the first one talking shit about how stuck we are on the damn phones.
Let’s be real here, sure some young software or programming whiz kid probably created most of these innovative technological inventions, but we all know damn well some old ass CEO from either the Boomer generation or maybe a very smart young CEO from Gen X is sitting behind a eloquently appointed oversized wooden desk giving the green-light on marketing direction and pricing and demographics. They then realized these damn phones are too expensive to reach the urban environment so lets give them a zero money down phone payment plan and we will call that INNOVATIVE. Stop fucking innovating our lives and innovate your own. Create a stronger adult pamper or figure out what the nation is going to do about the social security disability fund – stop fucking adding more features to these dumb ass devices and vehicles you sell us that still don’t last.
I have a Nokia phone that still has a battery life of more than a day and that is years after being out of warranty and basically exceeding its proposed shelf life. Nokia is no longer in business, I guess because good manufacturing became a taboo during the millennial day and age. It was intentional for the manufactured goods in our time to be poorly built to malfunction right after the warranty has ended and then we are sold other dumb ass incentives to replace the hardware with another poorly functioning piece of hardware! This is a disgusting world you have left behind for us. You want us to vote and then some older politician who doesn’t like our viewpoints because THEY DON’T FUCKING UNDERSTAND, will simply pull our ballots out of the box, set them on fire, and light his expensive cuban cigar with those ballots that will never be accounted for. Now here we are with this racist, sexist, crack pot of a president and I am supposed to feel American pride. Are you fucking serious?!? Watching the news lately is more likely to promote traitorous thoughts than to elicit national pride. Keeping in mind that my black ass didn’t rush to this fucking place on a boat all willing to be a part of the raping of this land nor did I personally sign up for the persecution of various indigenous peoples that already inhabited this place.
But here I am and here we are all. I did not ask to be American anymore than I asked to be black anymore than I asked to be classified as a millennial. But since I am a black woman born during the millennial generation and working in a field highly saturated by anything BUT black women, I will speak upon and address the circumstances which apply to me and maybe some of my peer group. I am disgusted by the example being set by my elders, President Donald Trump for a start. I mean who is the millennial when this man sits on Twitter all day writing the most inappropriate comments and sharing them with the world. I can barely remember my Twitter password and lucky that it is signed in automatically on my phone. Even then, I still would not launch the app merely to read what this idiot has to say. What kind of role model is he meant to be and he is certainly Gen X or older even. Back up off my generation, stop riding technologies YOU KNOW WHAT, and get a grip. iPhones are not improving the job market unless you work at Apple and the newfangled innovations of the day are overpriced gimmicks waiting to eat our wallets inside out. The education system is way too expensive and incredibly skewed. The lessons revolve around celebrated historical figures that literally raped innocent women because their skin looked different and then ran them out of their homes, also quite literally.
You talk a big game – society, America, Trump, Uncle Sam, THE MAN!! Whomever you want to call it that I am currently addressing. This goes out to all of those with a completely irrational view on my generation, our challenges and struggles, or our motivations and opportunities. You have nothing to offer us in 40 years when we become the elders of the nation’s youth. And when you judgmental, preachy fools realize your well being and care will fall into our hands, you will think twice before you insult us or judge us unfairly. Because I am completely fine with jumbling you all together and categorizing you all as you do us and then stick you all in convalescence because you are all unbearable or annoying. And honestly that would be a horrible thing to do and I especially have a soft spot for the seniors. I love my grandma and I love her generation and the sacrifices they made. They fought for real shit like freedom for the blacks, rights for the women to work and vote, and they did so while putting a damn good meal on the table and honoring their husband no matter how drunk or obnoxious he was. Those traditional values were real and are still respected to this day.
But lets just say somewhere between the ages of I don’t know, 50 to like 75, there is a group of stuffy ass lazy ass old people watching TV, spitting out opinions that are unwarranted, and judging the younger generations for using the technology that exists to our benefit as they did when the automobile and television were invented. I mean this to be completely ignorant when I say this – but I used to agree that millennials needed to work on social skills and educational skills the good old fashioned way. Then I realized I am supposedly a millennial and you are crazy if you think my spelling and math skills are not on point and I don’t need Google to tell me the difference between their, they’re, and there. Nor do I need to ask Siri (Apple) or Bixby (Samsung) whether to use bought or brought when I am writing a paper.
If you want to box us all together then I can start boxing our irresponsible elders together as well. Thank you so sticking us in front of a video game while you ran the streets hugging trees, doing elicit drugs, and promoting free love. Now 30 years later, where is all the free love. It all HATE HATE HATE in your blood. You elders are always talking some shit about my age range without ever taking accountability of where you all went wrong and why we turn to Google to ask for help instead of asking you!!! Have you ever wondered why that is?!? I am far from a politician nor am I a public speaking. What I am is a writer with a big ass mouth and a lot of opinions of my own. I used to blog religiously and heavily as a teen but I shut my mouth and kept my opinions to myself for a long time. I tried to be more understanding of society and I found compassion for the rough times you all experienced. I thought to myself “if you don’t have anything nice to say….” and I promise you I didn’t write the way I used to for a A LONG TIME.
Don’t get me wrong, I still wrote poetry and dumb little blogs but never anything heavy and offensive in my mid-twenties. But it you read almost anything I wrong in my late teens and early twenties, it was all passionate rants about why shit isn’t right or why things are so very wrong. I will go back to that speaking up as I have no other outlet for this shit and to be honest, somebody needs to throw people under that bus that actually deserve to be run over!!! It is time for my generation to speak up for ourselves and to say BACK THE FUCK OFF US!!! We had it rough too and you have no idea half of the trouble caused by the injection of technology into our young impressionable lives. You are cool if you wanna have your opinions. But when I hear news reports or articles where we are referred to like youth cattle that cannot be controlled but your dumb ass media outlets, its because you have not caught our interest where World Star Hip Hop has. What do you think that says about these media sources and what does that say about the news?! Why is it we would rather watch ANYTHING on YouTube than watch the news and pretend to give a shit about what Trump has to say. Because you throw our ballots in the trash with a flippant statement about how all we care about is our cellphone. We used to care about our elders and our environment and our laws before you made it clear early in our voting experience that YOU DON’T CARE WHAT WE THINK!!! Guess what, the feeling is mutual!!!