Are you a millennial?
Congratulations. You’re the most spoken about person on the internet. The magical myth of The Millennial.
“2 Out of 3 Millennials Don’t Own a Credit Card.”
“Survey Says Millennials Want To Live In New York, Research Suggests They Should Live In Philadelphia.”
“Career Tip For Millennials: Be Clear, Concise And Compelling.”
“Will McDonald’s new, hip move attract Millennials?”
These are but a few of the news headlines bobbing about the internet this morning: all of them directed to, or talking about, the grand and elusive ‘millennials’. Busy bunch, we are.
It is a little word that has come to carry a heavy load of meaning – so who exactly is the media’s ‘millennial’, and do they even exist?
It is important to note that for as long as the earth has spun around the sun, the older folk have been grumbling about their younger counterparts.
As far back as 700BC, Greek scholar Hesiod was having a ripe old time lamenting the foolish youth of his day.
“I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words,” he wrote. “When I was a boy, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint.”
Which is basically an ancient Greek way of saying – “Kids of today, ammiright? Jerks. All of ’em.”
Time hop to any home, at any point in history, and the scene would be the same: two parents with furrowed brows, sitting at the kitchen table, exchanging concerns about the youth of the day.
It didn’t matter if they were sowing fields, sharpening their axe, or sweeping the floor of their prehistoric cave; the ‘younger generation’ has always been viewed as lazier and ruder than the last. Naive and mindless, blessed with an unfair advantage they just don’t appreciate.
It’s always been that way.
We ‘millennials’, therefore, are just a modern update on an age-old practice – collectively labeling peer groups in order to try and understand them.
And trust me when I say this is nothing new.
In the early 20th century there was the ‘G.I’ Generation’ and the ‘Silent Generation’. Then the ‘Depression Babies’ birthed the ‘Baby Boomers’ who birthed the ‘Baby Busters’; and the ‘MTV Generation’ was nipped at the heels by Generation X, Generation Y, Generation Z…
And yet – with every push of the turnstile, the newest model of humanity apparently becomes worse and worse. The rock’n’roll teen rebels of the 50’s were trumped by the free-love hippies of the 60’s, which were both made to look positively angelic by the LSD munching, bra burning, violent protesting activists of the 70’s. On and on…