With every generation, there are key changes in how we live and do things and we have seen this time and time again in the past. Remember when people said Elvis and his music was provocative and satanic? Yeah, I don’t remember either because I was a 90’s baby but people actually said that. I wonder what those people would think about Cardi B… That said, there’s always an evolution in society with every generation. However, the millennials have seemed to be the generation that is getting the worst reputation when we’re doing more work than any other generation ever has.
Let’s look at a typical family from 50 years ago. The husband was the core breadwinner while the wife was a homemaker and child-carer. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just different from what we’re used to. Back then, a woman could actually stay at home and could afford to not have a career, but that also meant that she had to rely on that husband, regardless of his behaviour. The divorce rate was much lower because one side of the marriage didn’t really have a choice.
Fast forward to today. I cannot imagine the strain it would have on my ‘would-be’ husband if I had to stay at home all day and bring in no income, while he was out working all the hours under the sun to keep the lights on. It just doesn’t work like that anymore. Life is too expensive, but life has massively changed as well, and this is what a lot of the older generation don’t understand.
We work more now than ever before
And we do. You can’t look at me with a straight face and tell me that your cushy 9-to-5 in the city 50 years ago required the kind of KPIs and workload that today’s jobs require. Most businesses today require a blood sacrifice and selling your soul (ie, your hobbies, passion and happiness, not your actual soul) to get a pay check… which will not cover a mortgage and a family with three kids. We’re always working, always hustling, always busy. We’re the most mentally productive we have ever been as a species. So yeah, we’re mentally exhausted.
Then you throw on the expectations of the older generation and society: you must have a thriving social life, you must network, you must keep on top of everything, you must have a side hustle and a hobby, you must watch everything binge-worthy on Netflix, and if you leave the house and you haven’t posted it on instagram, it never happened… And this brings me to…
We’re under pressure like never before
The pressure from society is bigger than ever before. Pre-internet, we only had models in magazines and a few friends in our local circles to worry about. Today, we are in competition with the rest of the world, and while that might be a conscious choice for some of us, it’s peer pressure for the rest. Social media isn’t the toxic beast here, we are. All we have done is use the tool to exact our powers of evil, envy, jealousy, and maliciousness across the globe. We’re competing with Becky in LA, Jade in London, and Xin in Japan, and we’re always comparing ourselves to these people. This is the core reason why I stopped using social media, because it’s an endless downward spiral into depression and self-loathing. It can be great, but man, if you’re instagram pics aren’t as great as your mate’s, and they are getting more likes than you, you’ll start questioning it subconsciously while planning how you’re going to next one-up them with your next insta-worthy post. And this leads me to why…
We’re the most sensitive because we have nowhere to hide
Everything is online and for all to see. We see someone’s carefully curated life and wonder why we can’t be as beautiful, or as outgoing as they are. We don’t take into consideration that they might be putting themselves in debt for the ‘gram. No, we just see the curation and believe that it’s reality, and we know that it’s not, but that doesn’t matter. Then you have the cesspool that is Twitter. You say the wrong thing, at the wrong time, and you’re done. The DM’s full of racist death threats pour in, and for those of us who are already walking a tightrope of imposter syndrome and self-loathing, that’s the last thing that we need, to further ostracise ourselves.
We’re different because we’re evolving
Could you imagine if we didn’t evolve our thought process out of slavery? What about learning our mistakes from the holocaust? What about burning women alive who made their own medicine at home in the name of God? Or what about the lifelong battle homosexuals have had to face? There are so many atrocities that we have committed as a species in the name of greed and power that I don’t have enough time to write it all.
Yes, we still have very far to go and we’re all learning more about ourselves and each other along the way, but that’s why this generation is different. It’s growth. I understand that technology took off in a way that it’s either you got on board and grew with it as it grew or just got left behind, and that must have been tough to deal with. I personally grew up with a computer my entire life, have built an entire career using them and cannot see any other way to live. But that’s just evolution.
There will doubtless be many changes in the future that even I will shake my head and think “this generation” while waving my walking stick at the young’uns faces. Or maybe by then we would have worked out a really cool exoskeleton that can increase the mobility of an older generation… That would be so cool… But those differences just highlights how far we have come as a species and a society, and that’s such as positive thing. Could you imagine a world where women didn’t work? Or a world where people are still physical slaves? (Mental slavery is another topic, and it’s very real in our world today). Imagine a world where smallpox was still a thing… or when we didn’t have such sophisticated medical technology?
The most alarming thing when older generations pass comments about “this new generation” is the simple fact that they were the ones that laid the ground work for all of this to be possible. So, really, they are the ones to blame for the “downfall” that is this generation.
Our generational changes should be celebrated, not challenged.
It’s hard for me to just sit and accept someone’s opinion when I know it’s a much bigger issue at hand. So, my dearest millennials, when the older generation gets a bit overly sensitive about how great life was 50 years ago, remind them that the water systems were a bit shit, that cars weren’t as comfortable, and that when they needed to communicate with someone, you’d either have a hefty telephone bill indoors, have to walk to the nearest phone booth, or have to hand write a letter and post it.
If I could chuck them back into past for 24 hours for them to see how “great” life was back then. They can have their misogynistic, racist, close-minded society back, without any technology or comforts of today.
The one thing I love about our generation is that we are always looking forward, not backward at the “good ole days” because we know that the best days are ahead, not behind us.