Many have heard of “baby boomers” or “generation x” but what is the name ascribed to today’s generation? It’s Millennials.
Critics are concerned that Millennials are overzealous, but as a Millennial myself, I believe our ambitions are something to be admired instead. Millennials have broken taboo, dissolved boundaries that limit our school of thought, and redefined the status quo.
The Pew Research Center conducted a survey in 2010 focused on 18-30 year olds and found several distinct trends. One was that Millennials have broken the taboo of deeply severing ourselves from political and religious ties. Those who label themselves with political party affiliation tend to readjust the rest of their ideas to look more like that party’s political platform. However, Millenials refuse to stick to some cookie cutter agenda institutions tell us to follow.
Strict religious groups like Christianity and Catholicism condemn liberal Millennials today who question God’s existence. What conservative critics fail to realize is this is our way of rationalizing what we are told to believe before we actually choose to believe it.
Critics argue disassociation from tradition leads to no good. Political and religious affiliations have supposedly provided a starting point for Millennial ideas. Without these, skeptics argue, today’s generation would not have a clear and distinct collection of what they value.
However, everyone forms values and opinions based on their experience of the world – independent of institutions. Political parties and religious institutions are just labels tacked on to a specific collection of values. Millennials just choose to form a collection of their own.
Millennials have also been burdened with economic struggle longer than any of our predecessors, but stay all the more optimistic. We dissolve negative thought that inhibits us from progressing. The survey finds, “more than 9-in-10 say they currently have enough money to lead the lives they want or expect to in the future.”
In a current state of higher rates of poverty, student loan debt, and unemployment, the pursuit of the “American dream” kicks into high gear as we seek alternative paths to reaching the top.
Critics argue that we are just misguided kids with our heads still in the clouds. The argument stakes a claim that to remain so undyingly optimistic is to be ignorant of today’s problems. Millennial skeptics believe that we haven’t had our reality checks yet. We have, we just handle it better than past generations would.
We’ve faced some of the worst economic downturns, endured extensive war conflicts – some of which are still ongoing, and recuperated from several natural disasters that have upset our country.
Progression requires us to focus our thinking toward the future. The answers to today’s problems won’t be found by mulling over basic facts we already know. We are supposed to venture out into the unknown, with our “heads in the clouds.”
Millennials live in the height of technological advancements, once inconceivable to past generations. This is only a glimpse of what we are capable of when we use our minds to innovate instead of sulk. And yet skeptics are telling us to sulk.
Millennials have also scrapped the status quo of settling down with a stable job and a family. The Pew Research Center found that only 26 percent of Millennials are married while 36 percent of GenXers, 48 percent of Baby Boomers and 65 percent of the members of the Silent Generation were married.
Our focus shifted from creating wholesome families to pursuing individual endeavors. More time is being put into educating ourselves in pursuit of a degree and working on our careers.
When we pay more attention to finding solutions to societal problems than settling down, it is evident that we indeed have had our reality check.
In the wake of rocky economic times, Millennials today are more committed to stabilizing themselves before even considering a spouse. Our generation simply opts to keep work and play separate. Millennials are not only in this way more committed, but more careful that skeptics write us off to be.
This is only one of many misconceptions of Millennials today.
These disparities make skeptics uncomfortable because our approaches to everything are simply unheard of. But that’s the beauty of this generation.