By Tom Williams
Arcadia Weekly has a Millennial Feed, which questions and details most of what they – we – do, our values, our worries. I was expecting it all to have been written by an elderly, terrified person who ascribed to the stereotyping; yet I was pleasantly surprised to find articles written by an actual, real-life millennial, all of which were fair and understanding. For this purpose, I won’t repeat many of the insightful analyses and statistics made therein; but I will, instead, try and think slightly more abstractly – outside the box, if you will.
Doesn’t it feel like all you ever hear about is millennials: like the world is under siege by a mysterious thundercloud of advanced technologies and Unicorn Frappuccinos? Occasionally, I find it absolutely impossible to forget that I am one of these feared and unknown aliens, such is the frequency and hideous relish with which we are labelled by older generations, the media or even ourselves. On some days, I feel that I do not want to be a member of this silly, emotional, fragile age; and yet some days, these very things fill me with a revolutionary spark of pride.
That we are so frequently ostracized and problematized by our peers and the media – perhaps the very thing for which we are most (in)famous – in such a backstabbing manner – hopefully indicates to non-millennials how confusing it is to be a millennial. It may be surprising to learn that millennials don’t identify as one large homogeneous group. I was born in 1995, pretty close to the end of the millennial group. But I am an individual, and I have my own personal tastes, which make me more like some millennials than others. I like theatre, videogames and literature, whereas others like opera, films and non-fiction; yet we are able to bond over the common denominators of drama, excitement, and a good story. Different generations aren’t as different from one another as we think.
Millennials do share certain traits – widespread usage of technology, an unwillingness to marry early, a lack of fulfilment in careers, sometimes even a lack of faith in a god of any type. These are not things that millennials actively seek to do, but rather are by-products of our time. The amount of information available to us has made us the first generation to truly be aware of the world’s complexities and cruelties. Yes, the world has always been cruel. But we are no longer limited to the telegrams and newspapers of some of the worst conflicts in history. We have unlimited access to the tears of every victim of every crime across the globe, all in High Definition. We are forced to carry not only our own fears and sadness but the grief of the whole world on our shoulders. Is it any wonder that we share the aforementioned traits? Is it so surprising when we take such delight in so small a thing as a Unicorn Frappuccino?