Reading time: 6min.

by Danny Holden

Millennials: The lost generation

Millennial: noun “a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.” Otherwise defined as anybody who talks about gender fluidity, complains about the price of housing or refers to when a time when a Freddo only used to cost 10p.

Described as lazy, conceited 20-somethings who aren’t willing to work as hard as their grandparents. Obsessed with “smart phones” (otherwise known as ‘phones’) and made up mental illnesses.

Statistically, millennials spend more time being told to suck it up than the average Henry Hoover. Told not to want the best that life has to offer, told to be more grateful to previous generations that somehow all fought in World War Two, and told not to complain about any of this by people who aren’t sure if those funny pictures with words are called “me-mes”, “meehms” or “mems”.

Perhaps many other millennials are like me; living in career purgatory after University or college tuition. I haven’t got my own house because Chelsea FC owns half of the houses in London, or something like that. Working the Dolly Parton hours for my wage and then writing in my free time, I’m in the same boat as a lot of people, I don’t have the experience I need to get a job. That’s what you get for taking a history degree in order to avoid the real world I suppose. Like the rest of the privileged and entitled millennials I don’t expect to have to work my way into any job, so instead of working for free to gain experience I decided to throw a hissy fit, which fixed everything.

Living at home isn’t bad, even if it is a little embarrassing. I probably could afford to move out into my own place, but for what? I’ll admit that it’s annoying when I can’t watch Taboo because somebody is recording re-runs of the West Wing, but probably not enough to move out on my wage. The age of the average first time buyer is currently sat at 103 years of age and while I can’t blame those buy-to-rent vampires, I don’t have to “suck it up” either, although technically that is the definition of what I am currently doing. My Grandmother had an outdoor toilet when she grew up, and my father didn’t have a landline in his house until he was a teenager; I’m lucky enough to have a comfortable life and I’m grateful for that, but to say I’m happy with my future prospects is probably pushing it.

A growing reality for the people of my generation is that spare time is growing more and more elusive. Aspiring to make more of yourself takes a lot out of you. I love writing, but balancing it with my day job is hard. It can be difficult to make yourself get out of bed to go to a job you don’t like, and even harder to make yourself do it if you’re not getting the personal satisfaction you need from your home life. Perhaps that’s why so many millennials suffer from the same apathy as me from time to time; they don’t always enjoy life. So many millennials lack a direction, and with nothing to work towards, where can you find satisfaction in your working life. For comparison, my mother is a nurse and works 25 hours a day, 366 days a year, the pay is appalling and the work is exhausting. Despite this, she can take satisfaction from a job that gives her direction; millennials don’t need all the money in the world or a nice easy job. Millennials need direction and coming from somebody who only recently decided that they have found theirs; finding your direction can drain everything from you. Bemoaning the laziness of millennials won’t make them work any harder and blaming previous generations for not giving more won’t make us any more successful. You can tell yourself this all you want, but at the end of a long week when you feel like you’ve gone nowhere it won’t do you much good.

While people like Piers Morgan spent their days complaining about “fragile” millennials, people have been taking their own lives. Men in particular, these young people who had so much in front of them have been trapped for so long that it killed them, and finally we, as a generation, are talking about it. You and I the supposed whiny, entitled, conceited and arrogant millennials. The people drinking cocktails out of jam jars, and spending a small fortune on vegan fair trade avocados are talking, and it saves lives. Maybe in ten years we might look back at this time and look at this change in the same way people did about smoking; pretending they thought it was okay until people died.

I was part of a generation of teenagers who grew up on MSN Messenger, Bebo and Sony Ericsson phones. Baby boomers I’m sure had their own foibles, Generation X their own, and the next generation will have their own unique and exciting differences. Hopefully when I am fifty I will take a moment to understand it; that is all we’re asking for now.

The point of this long rant is to tell millennials not to be cowed by people who don’t understand what it is to grow up when we did. We didn’t have a second world war and we didn’t have to walk up hill both ways to get to school. Instead of being less like you because a 40-something man in a Facebook video told you so, keep going. Instead of being embarrassed, lay some sauce on it.