Relax, Baby Boomers: The Millennials are all right — and so are you

    Every prior generation loves to bemoan the next — coming up with reasons that they will run the country into the ground and cannot be stopped — but it’s an unfounded fear. No generation is worse than the one before; it’s just different. Maybe instead of focusing on how every person between the ages of 18 and 33 is only interested in taking selfies and getting likes on Instagram, we should look at what Millennials are actually doing and how they have already shaped the world we live in.

    “The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone knew everything and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for girls, they are forward, immodest and unwomanly in speech, behaviour and dress.”

    That quotation could have come from any of a number of people who love to talk about how the newest generation is a bunch of lazy, narcissistic children — but, in fact, it’s from 400 BC and attributed to Socrates. Things really haven’t changed much, have they?

    Every prior generation loves to bemoan the next — coming up with reasons that they will run the country into the ground and cannot be stopped — but it’s an unfounded fear. No generation is worse than the one before; it’s just different. Maybe instead of focusing on how every person between the ages of 18 and 33 is only interested in taking selfies and getting likes on Instagram, we should look at what Millennials are actually doing and how they have already shaped the world we live in.

    I’m on Facebook, my mom is on Facebook, my boss is on Facebook, and most likely, you are on Facebook. You know who invented that Internet-changing platform? A Millennial. In fact, most Internet and technology platforms were developed by people 33 and under. I would argue that, rather than destroying the world we live in, we created it.

    Young people are running for office. We are starting companies that will probably be some of the biggest names in the world in the coming years. We are giving back, and we are trying to change the world for the better. As a Millennial myself (on the tail end, born in ’93), sure, I watch a lot of Netflix — and I also study and work and want to make a difference. What I care most about is changing politics and social dynamics and how to use my limited resources to do that. And I’m not an exception; I’m the rule. This was true for Generation X and Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation — we all seem to want to make things better than before after growing up in a world where everything seems to work against us.

    Every generation is defined by worldwide events, so rather than playing “which is worse,” it might be better to realize that it’s just different. Instead of trying to out-do one another with who had it worse, or trying to convince the world that the kids will ruin everything or their parents created this mess in the first place, we could take a step back and look at the patterns.

    Every time a new group comes along, there’s an uproar that this will be the end and things will never be the same. But the world keeps going, the economy keeps chugging, and things get bad, and then they get better. Millennials approach the world differently from Generation X and Baby Boomers, yes. We are more likely to give to charity, more likely to go to college, less likely to buy a house. So rather than griping about how awful we are, accept that, yes, the world is going to change as Millennials come into power, and no, that is not the worst thing to ever happen.

    For every snarky intern you run into, there are probably three intelligent and motivated graduates working on exciting projects and trying to make the world a better place. Hey, for every snarky intern, there’s probably a just-as-snarky colleague your own age who you have to work with!

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