Millennials often get a less-than-stellar reputation from our older generations, like the Baby Boomers who single-handedly ruined our housing market, ignited the decrepitating climate change through continual ignorance and failure to address a global issue, amongst other things. But, we’re ruining chain restaurants and department stores, which makes our generation almost as bad. Right?
Want to hear something wild? I had avocado toast for lunch this afternoon, so of course now I am unable to put a down-payment on a house and become a homeowner. Damn. I knew that I should have stuck with a plain bagel. Well, I guess the fact that I live in New York and plan on doing so until I die, and therefore will be residing in apartments for the rest of my natural-born life, makes this less of an issue for me. What am I going to tell friends who live elsewhere, though?
No, I do not think that any generation is blameless, but our generation tends to be stereotyped a lot, and given a certain persona that couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re entitled, lazy, spoiled brats. But the thing is that, while there are some in every generation, many of us aren’t any of those things. I’m 21-years-old and I am financially-independent, living in the borough of Manhattan in New York. Those from older generations who are going to peg me as spoiled and entitled, being handed all of this on a silver platter, might be surprised to find that was not the case. Like many people, everything I did to get here was hard work and done all on my own. Yes, I had financial help with housing during time as a full-time student, with an unpaid internship and a part-time retail position, but the minute that I graduated and started working full-time, I told family that I no longer needed or wanted financial assistance, and that I could afford to live comfortably on my own- even with the inflated, high-priced rent that is a direct result of the generations before me. Guess what? I can even afford avocado toast and a latte on the weekends.
I did not know a single soul here, nor did I have a connection with anyone. I worked hard during college, balancing a million and two things at once, so that I would have a single shot at this life. Today, I continue to spearhead a successful writing career, with two full-time career positions, as a fashion closet assistant for the most successful magazine in the world, and a freelance writer for other publications. Tirelessly, I work anywhere from 14 to 16 hours each day, not because I have to and cannot get a better position somewhere else, but out of complete free will because I love what I do. I am the furthest thing from spoiled, entitled, and lazy that anyone will ever come across. I’m not an exception to the rule, though. There are a ton of people that I know who have also done six internships during college, have worked at major companies before graduating, and travel the world and manage to pay for all of their expenses, all before the age of 30.
We are a generation made up of hard workers, big dreamers, and high achievers, with goals that have no ceiling. Rather than settling for the stable, boring life like *cough* some of those before us did, we go after the life that we really want, our absolute wildest dreams, the life that ignites the fire within us. We want to fulfill our desires, and work hard so that we can make our ultimate dreams a future reality. Because we follow our desires, some of us do not work for others, but bust our behinds creating something of our own, and we become our own boss. We practice our passion, and are dreamers and doers. You consider the fact that we don’t want to purchase a home and settle down a problem? Well, we would rather travel the world, collect stamps in our passports, and live life to the fullest, rather than create a settled, stable, unmoving life in our mid-twenties.
We’re not killing the American Dream. We’re simply not limiting ourselves to your American Dream. What is our American Dream? For one, it might be treating life as an adventure rather than an obligation, traveling around the world until there is no land that remains untouched. For another, it might be taking the fact that we live once, and following their dreams of being in a band, no matter how far-fetched, rather than spending the rest of their life wondering what would have happened if they would have pursued their dreams. For another, it might be living the life their parents did, and living the same American Dream that those before them did, owning a home and having a big family. For me, it is being drenched in inspiration, experiencing endless self-reflection, living in a world of wonder, allowing the ink to flow freely onto the ripped pages of a notebook. I will spend this lifetime as a writer, producing wonderful pieces that touch people, making the coffee shops of New York the office that I work from. Someday, I will found and become the editor of a print or digital publication, and become a novelist. Then, I would love to meet an amazing woman here, get married, and adopt a little girl down the line, who will grow up to be the coolest city kid ever. That is my American Dream. Our American Dream is all about living an authentic life, the one that we want, not the one that we are told we should want. It is about reaching the ultimate happiness, being where we want on our own career path, whether that be a 9- 5 office position or writing from a coffee shop until midnight. With all of that being said, excuse me if I don’t plan on purchasing diamonds in the near future, or if I never plan on being a homeowner, but I don’t think that the life I plan on living is one to be shameful of. It is one of the countless American Dreams that we all have and hold, all of which are beautiful and will be treated as such. Oh, and it is certainly not a life that I will achieve through being spoiled or entitled. FYI.
Along with working hard, we are a generation that recognizes global issues like global warming, prepared to take measures to prevent more damage, and reverse what has already been done- rather than continue to claim it doesn’t exist, or recognize that it does exist, but turn a blind eye to it. We are passionate about social issues, about being more inclusive and working towards making all people equal, rather than continue to mistreat others, claim that we aren’t racist or homophobic or xenophobic, but continue to perpetrate stereotypes about these groups, and do nothing to fight for their human rights. Listen, I am not claiming that people of older generations are all horrible, and are the root of all of our problems in the world. No generation is blameless, nor is one all good or all bad, including our own, but all I’m suggesting is that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Do not go pointing fingers, blaming other generations for ruining things when there is a mile-long list of things that near death because of yours. Do not call us entitled and spoiled when we work as hard as anyone else to get what we want in life. There is no room to suggest that we are not living life as we should, because the fact of the matter is we think the same thing about you.
Millennials, raise your lavender lattes to a toast, to pursuing our wildest dreams and settling for nothing less. Let us all raise our glasses to living our best life, whether that be alone or with a partner, to traveling the world or building a home, with children or without. We will continue to speak out on social issues and advocate for change, and establish strong values and stand behind them. May we never be afraid to speak our mind and fight for what we think is right. Here’s to going after what we want in life, and what we want alone, and giving ourselves our best chance. Remember that we all have the potential to change this world for the better, so long as we realize that and tap into this potential, and channel it to benefit the greater good. We will go on to do incredible things for ourselves, for other people, and for the world, leaving unimaginable legacies behind that will shape the future as we know it. Stay woke. Continue to crave success, and work hard to achieve that. May we all remain relentless in the never ending, lifelong pursuit of happiness.
Also, Baby Boomers, might I suggest trying avocado toast sometime? Perhaps it would help explain the hype behind it. You might even come to find that it won’t put you behind on your mortgage payments, either.