I am constantly being categorized as a millennial. Yes, by general standards, I am one; however, I strongly disagree with the boxes that I am systematically placed in.
Millennials are characterized as twenty-somethings who can’t get their lives together and spend their days finding new trends and being “fun-employed.” Many have hard-working parents to fall back on, merely encouraging these acts of carelessness.
Popular television shows like Girls, Two Broke Girls, and Girl Boss seem to glorify individuals who simply aren’t good people. (Also, can we all agree that it is in fact possible to have a show about girls without the word “girl” blatantly in the title?)
These shows display women who are trying to make their mark on the world but don’t seem to care how they do it. While I enjoy these shows, I have a hard time identifying with any of the characters in them: they are selfish, cruel, and loose with their morals. This sets a terrible example for young girls and further perpetuates the millennial stigma.
(Un)luckily, my age and current lack of a steady full-time job welcomes comparisons to the women in these shows who waste their money and don’t care. In reality, I care. In fact, I care a great deal. I care deeply about my friends and family. I care about my dad’s age and the toll my granny’s dementia is taking on my mom. I care about my brother finding someone to be with and desperately want him to be happy. I even care about the little fox in our backyard who has been displaced due to endless construction in my hometown.
I stay up at night wondering how I will ever be able to make enough money to afford a house of my own, or how I will navigate the waves of online dating to find someone to settle down with, and how I will accomplish all that with my biological clock ticking obnoxiously loud.
The world is a very trying time for young adults these days and the fact that I’m not further ahead in life makes me feel as though I’ve already failed. Every day, my generation has to deal with online scrutiny, and social media comparisons, as well as the looming fears of letting everyone down.
I’ve struggled in various customer service jobs as well as been bitten and slapped across the face by a three year old I was babysitting because there are no jobs in the field I spent four years and $60,000 preparing for. All this so I can pay rent in a place where I can’t stand up straight in the shower because of the slanted ceiling and low-hanging shower head.
Yes, sometimes I cope by going out for drinks with friends or spending too much money at a trendy restaurant, but mostly I sit at home wishing for things to change. I don’t want to date online and I certainly don’t want to have meaningless conversations with people I don’t really care about. I don’t want to eat vegetables and hummus for dinner four nights a week, and I don’t want to be called “sweetie” every time I go to the LCBO.
I know I can’t speak for every millennial out there as I’m sure there are many who aren’t as conscious of their decisions as I am, but many of us are trying our best to find our place in this world and make some kind of impact. Some, like me, use their ample free time to focus on bettering themselves and volunteering in their community.
So next time you see a twenty-something standing in line in front of you at Starbucks, please try to see them as a caring human being before you jump to conclusions. And, if they end up Instagramming their Venti Frappuccino, then I sincerely apologize—you were right.