By Amanda Romeo
Special to the Chronicle
As of late, my dad has begun to journey off into the great wide world of old people, and consequently, my house now has a subscription to AARP The Magazine. If you’re wondering about the number of ways in which this has affected me, the answer is actually not zero, but one. Flipping through the magazine the other day, I came across a feature titled “Ask a Millennial!” The question they posed was written below a cartoon of a young girl on a cell phone that simply asked, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” and under the question was a subheading that said, “We plan for the future a little differently.”
Following were three very small answers labeled: career, savings and family. However, it quickly became very clear to me that not one of these answers could have possibly been an actual response from a real millennial. Also very clear to me was the fact that anyone literate enough to be able to read the article should be able to recognize this fact immediately.
This included answers such as “successful but still working very hard” is what we say. What we really think is “working only as much as I have to, preferably somewhere better” and “about 60 percent of millennials save for emergencies. We hope Social Security is still around when we’re older,” among others.
Now, before I go any further to address the real issue at hand, I must address the overall absurdity of this being published anywhere, by anyone, as a piece of nonfiction. The magazine never referenced sources of the information, if you could even call the content information. Simply put, this article is just a bunch of uncalled-for slander of a generation, probably put there for the sole purpose of making old people feel better about themselves.
Don’t get me wrong, I found it very funny. Most of us find ourselves having to defend ourselves from the millennial stereotype from time to time and it doesn’t faze us. We know how to laugh about it because we take it for what it is: something that happens with every generation. Every generation goes on to say the generation that follows it is lazy, self-centered and that the world was a better place before them – blah blah blah.
In the 1960s, they were a bunch of dirty hippies, in the ‘70s, everyone was a criminal and the ‘80s saw the birth of what became known as “the me generation.” Absolutely nothing happened in the ‘90s, ask anyone. There are good and bad things about every generation because every generation grows up differently – with different technology, different environments, different world leaders and overall, different challenges. They’re not better, they’re not worse, they are just different. So if every new generation goes through the same rite of passage just for being new and different, let’s look at it for what it is.
People of the same generation often join together based on their similarities and form opinions on other, newer and different generations. In a very similar sense, people of the same religion, of the same race, of the same gender or of the same sexual orientation can often join together based on their similarities and form opinions on the other, newer, different religions, races, genders or sexual orientations. What’s the difference between these categories?
Why is it considered okay for people to openly rip on a millennial just for being a millennial? After thinking long and hard on the subject, I can only conclude one thing: it’s rookie hazing. We are the newbies, and we have to pay our dues. That’s exactly all it is. It is considered okay to openly bash on the millennial generation because rookie hazing is a part of real human life.
In real human life, just like everything else, being the new kid sucks. Everyone gets it. Everyone has to hear it. Unfortunately, there are no two ways around it. There is a price our generation pays for our debut to the planet. So until we can leave our younger days behind us and become the tired, aged, wise old people of the world, I guess we’ll just have to suck it up.
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