A Very Reluctant Millennial

Millennial is a buzzword that is often tossed around on the internet. It refers to the generation, formally known as, Gen Y. A few years ago, this was news to me. The term Millennial was not new to me. I had often heard the term on the news and used online. My first impression of the term? That it applies to those born just before the new Millennium and just after. It came as a bit of surprise that my generation, in fact, were those “awful Millennials” spoken of. Those darn Millennials who are  just ruining everything.

There is no doubt we are the generation who reached adulthood at the turn of the century. We grew up knowing what life is like without technology. We saw technology evolve and rise to the status of daily necessity.  We saw the evolution of the mobile phone. We knew the struggle of flip phones and texting. Those Nokias though, I wouldn’t mind something a little more indestructible. For those, like myself, who remember the 80’s we saw even more.

I’ll admit, I was born in the early 80’s. Many of those years passed by as I developed motor skills. I remember a lot from that decade. I look back to the free spirit of the time. When credit cards were the multi-pass to success and anything you wanted. Also, cocaine. Okay, that last part isn’t something I knew about at that young age. I figured that part out from later watching movies in the 90’s – thanks, Scarface.

I saw the end of the Reagan era and the election of President Clinton, which was a big deal where I lived. Arkansans were pretty jazzed about their former Governor becoming president. My band director knew President Clinton in his younger saxophone years. I remember watching musical specials on television about the Gulf War. It wasn’t a reality for me or for my family, but it was something happening in the world. I never experienced a war until after 9/11. So many friends joined up, served, and either made it back or died.  We know life before 9/11. We understand what we once had. For those who were too young or born after, they can only read about it. Boy, can I just say, those Bush years were interesting.

I won’t bore you about my earlier years. The young bright-eyed tween who dreamt of Zach Morris and Bayside with hopes of owning her own landline phone in her room. I even mooned over JTT.

We are facing another presidency come November. It’s kind of scary the direction our country is going. I’m not going to get political, everyone has an opinion – informed and uneducated alike. Our society is stewing in a climate of hate, violence, and ignorant vitriol. Do you know who has become the beacon of blame, the easy scapegoat for all the country’s woes? Millennials or better yet, those damned hipsters. I find it amusing and disturbingly sad. There are countless articles written about this battle between Baby-boomers and Millennials. Boomers blame Millennials for the current state of the country. The darned Hispters are ruining America, they say. My generation just wants to be politically correct and hold everyone’s hand. No, we grow weary of mindless opression in a country that touts liberty, freedom, and equality. Oh dear, those Hipsters are coming in with their weird stores, beards, and bicycles to ruin our cities. Boomers aren’t the only ones, there are the Millennials who get their news from faux sources that just nod and repeat what their elders say. It’s absolutely contradictory. If you are not a part of the solution, then you are most certainly a part of the problem. Enough with the misplaced blame.

The reality is the economic state of our country isn’t because of my generation. We are just now entering into our 30s. We inherited a bad housing market. I was in my early twenties when the housing market crashed. I was in my early twenties when the job market went south and CEOs had to work at Taco Bell. So, in a decade my generation has single-handedly ruined the economy. The reason is we are blamed for not trying hard enough. You know, because we are “lazy.” We aren’t working hard enough to achieve the unrealistic standards of others. We need college but when we do pursue a college education, it leaves us in debt. We cannot work our way through college, not like the characters in the films we grew up watching. We cannot work at the grocery store bagging your groceries so that we can afford college. We cannot mow your lawn or a multitude of lawns during the summer to pay for college. Even if we worked 40 hours a week at a fast food joint to pay our way through college, when would we have time for classes? Time to study? Time to sleep, eat, and just live? Not to mention, those of us who have families. Like I said, we Gen Yers, are entering our 30s.

I have many of my High school friends that I am so proud of. They are doing amazing things. A friend is a lawyer in D.C. and I am pretty sure he is kicking ass and taking names. I have a friend who is doing amazing things for the higher education system. He came from a similar background as I did. I have another friend who is redefining her community for the better. I could go on because this list is long. These are Millennials making a difference in the world because they know it’s needed. They saw where others have failed, so they stepped in and are actively making a difference. Making a difference in your community doesn’t require anything major. It could be supporting local arts. Volunteering for local festivals, charity events, or even The Boys & Girls Club in your area. If you’re in the greater OKC are, our local Boy & Girls club needs volunteers!

Don’t pass the buck. Don’t blame others or events for why something failed. Own it. Learn from it. Change it and make things better. I know I make mistakes. It’s a part of life. My failures do not define me as a person.

I may be a Millennial by default but I am very reluctant to give up and allow the negativity and hate win. I will continue to be a voice. To do my children justice and make this world a better place. I don’t want my children to just survive. I want them to thrive! That’s a real legacy. Consider what your legacy will be. Consider what you can do to make a difference in your community.

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