I'm really tired of millennials getting such a bad rap. We're too addicted to tech screens, have nonexistent attention spans, are high-maintenance, desperate for attention and praise, addicted to avocados, sensitive snowflakes, etc. But when I look around at my generation, while we might have our flaws, I'm pretty damn proud of us.
I think that deep down, something that we all have in common is that we look at older generations and recognize a common trait. They seem unhappy. They did everything by the books. They found a mate, settled down, had kids, work 9-5 jobs, and don't challenge the norms. They suck it up and accept things the way they are. They say "life's tough, get a helmet." They talk about the good ol' days, how they pulled themselves up by the bootstraps, toughed it out and survived, despite eating gluten and GMOs. They're doing just fine, they say. They look down on us and call us spoiled and privileged. “God, why are they so worried about being happy all the time?"
Because maybe we don't want to be “just fine." Maybe we don't want to merely exist. Maybe we have more of a desire to live. Maybe you laugh at us when we talk about “free love," while we explore our options without attachment and commitment rather than settling down too soon and ending up in an unhappy marriage. Maybe you think we're silly for wanting to see every inch of this Earth and succeed in our career before we think about bringing another life into this crazy world. Maybe we've watched our parents and grandparents suffer from health issues and obesity, and that's why we're so concerned about our food choices. Maybe we want to challenge the way people are so used to living their lives…because we want to be happier and healthier. Why is that such a crime?
I'm also extremely proud of the younger generation and how they're so strong and adamant about challenging our politicians to make changes. They're not sitting down and shutting up like kids have always been expected to do. They're being brave and using their voices and showing the world how intelligent and important kids are, too. After all, the adults in our current society are the ones that messed everything up. We have no other choice but to take things into our own hands and make a better future.
You make fun of us for needing “safe spaces" and being careful with our words so we don't offend anybody. We indulge in self-care and want to acknowledge our mental and emotional health just as much as our physical. We realize that words hurt and that suppressing our issues only makes things worse. We're done fighting silent battles and pretending that everything's okay all the time. We just want to be happy and make the best out of the short time we have on this planet. Once again, why is that such a bad thing?
I also have to give some credit to our creativity when it comes to establishing a career. Oh, the job market sucks? Can't find something stable right out of college? We're going to start our own businesses then. We're going to be our own bosses. We're going to become brand ambassadors, or travel the world and write about it, or invent cool eco-friendly products that will make the world a better place. I see more people my age wanting to be entrepreneurs and live life on their own terms rather than work for the man. It genuinely makes me happy.
You can talk badly about us all you want. Call us this, call us that. Say that we're big, lazy babies that need to be coddled and spoon-fed organic chia seed pudding and told we're special.
Me, on the other hand? I think that we're innovative badasses that are redefining the way people live.