I’m 34 this year. Which makes me a millennial. We’re the children of the baby boomers, born in the eighties and becoming young adults around the time of the new millennium.
It’s a term that’s often bandied about with a fair bit of eye-rolling and negativity. You probably know the cliches by now. We can’t afford to pay off our student debts because we spend all our money on avocados. We’re impatient and emotionally needy.
But let’s stop the eye-rolling for a moment. There are a lot of useful life lessons we can all learn from the cliches associated with my generation. And it’s not just how to find the perfectly ripe avocado.
We can all learn from this mindset. And I include myself here, because I’ve always been a bit of a young fogey at heart.
Millennials like to live in the moment. We might be attached to our phones, but that doesn’t mean we’re stuck at home. My generation loves to embrace live events and festivals – rather than sitting at the sidelines. It’s FOMO, or fear of missing out – but it’s also that in a life lived through our screens, spontaneity is still prized. I’m trying to embrace this as much as I can because life’s too short to sit at home every night.
Be more millennial: buy tickets to a gig or event
Sobriety and moderation. Have you noticed the shift? Binge drinking has (mostly) had it’s day. Drinking is almost beginning to feel old-fashioned. The role models have changed – these days we’re valuing wellness and health more than ever. Moderation isn’t just socially acceptable, it’s encouraged. You don’t have to give up any time soon, but how about taking a break every now and again?
Be more millennial: only drink at weekends
Location over property. For older generations, it was often the size your home that mattered more than it’s location. Square footage was prized, and moving out from a town to village, where you’d get more for your money, was the norm. Maybe it’s FOMO again, but millennials don’t always want the dream house if it means living in the middle of nowhere. We’d rather be somewhere busy and bustling – where things are happening and community is prized. It’s a shift – and it’s making city life more appealing than ever.
Be more millennial: go on a mini-break to the centre of busy, busting city. Experience having everything on your doorstep.
Freedom from the job for life. The demise of the stable job for life is often seen as a bad thing. And sometimes it is. But millennials are discovering that this social shift has many positives too. Once upon a time, you were expected to train for something in life – then stick to it. These days it’s increasingly common to keep on evolving and changing as we grow older. Millennials are often seen as flaky for their desire to switch careers and retrain – but let’s celebrate it. My generation will be working for longer than any other – so why not make it more interesting?
Be more millennial: sign up for that course you’ve always wanted to try. Be open to new ideas, it’s never too late to try something new.
So, it’s time to stop beating ourselves up for being millennial. There’s a lot to love: openness, exploration and moderation. Sure, we have our problems – but so does every generation. If you look closely, there’s a lot to be valued. What would you add to the list?