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I was born on February 19, 2000 in Chesapeake, Virginia. I suppose that as soon as I came forward, screaming and fighting into this world, I was immediately labeled with the term "millennial."
First, allow me to clarify. The term "millennial" applies to those born from 1984 to 2004. As for myself, I'm right towards the end of this timeline.
2000 marked the beginning of a new millennium, which, let's be completely honest, is one of the coolest things any human can live through. Imagine being able to tell your grandchildren, "I was about 5-years-old at the turn of the millennium." That would make you sound all-knowing and mystical as sh*t.
What's not cool about being a part of this generation?
Constantly being looked down upon by Gen X's and Baby Boomers.
We've been stereotyped and blamed for so many things that it makes my head spin. Even my younger brother (who was quite literally only 20 days late of being a millennial) blames the millennial generation for everything.
What I've learned, however, as being a part of the millennial community, can be summed up pretty easily.
We're more vocal.
What I've noticed lately are more and more people from my generation taking to the streets and all the way up the chains of government to make their voices heard. We're not quiet in the face of injustice, and that has given us the label of "crybabies" by such figures as Tomi Lahren and Alex Jones.
Why, pray tell, does our integrity sell for so little?
We are a generation moved by passion, untainted by bias and hatred that ran rampant during the former generations. We see injustice and we want to do something. We want to be a bigger part of everything. We want to be heard.
We're more laid back when it comes to the simple things.
I work in the food industry, and I've seen it all. I've had food thrown at me, been threatened with a gun, and been called every name in the book by irate customers.
What I can tell you is that those people would be Gen X's or Baby Boomers.
When it comes to millennials like myself, I'm always greeted with a smile and patience. It's those people that really make my day.
I've noticed that millennials tend to slow down a bit, just to enjoy life as it happens, grounding ourselves in the moment. Everything moves so fast, and so many of us just stop altogether to take it all in.
We have the highest rate of depression.
One in five millennials have depression, and considering how large of a generation we are, that kind of sucks. So what's going on here?
Well, I'm that one out of the one in five, and what I can tell you is that yeah, it sucks.
Baby boomers could easily graduate college, get married, have two kids, and settle down without even really having to worry about any financial repercussions. As for us, we look at college tuition and our hearts sink into our stomachs. I'm only a freshman in college and I'm already 18k in the hole.
Then there's the tiny issue of our future.
While the Gen X's and Baby Boomers saw the future as something out of a The Jetsons kind of scenario, our outlook is so much more bleak. When the past generations die off, we as millennials will be left with a planet totally destroyed by pollution created by past generations. What the X's and Boomers saw as a shiny Utopia, we see as a sh*t hole with irreparable damage. With that burden unloaded on us, who wouldn't be depressed about what lies ahead?
We're very opinionated.
Most recently in my college classes, particularly in my favorite class, my professor asked about Nike shoes and shunned whoever wore them. I raised my hand and told him to buckle up, because the majority of my household are enlightened thinkers and accepting of all ideas that don't revolve around hatred.
I started a full on debate on the topic of kneeling for the national anthem, and then more and more students voiced their opinions as well. All of us were open minded and understanding, with most of us holding slightly more liberal beliefs. I was happy to know that I wasn't alone in my ideas, and I intend on cracking my professor's conservative shell.
We're proud to be millennials.
No matter how many times people put us down because they're looking for a scapegoat, they can't pin it on us. We know that none of this is our fault, having endured the rapid changes in technology, politics, and world situations created by those who came before us.
Living as a millennial, I can say that we're not villains. I promise. We're not the "butt-hurt little pansies" that everyone makes us out to be. We are the next generation trying to scratch out our own living in this world, just like everyone else. We have to adapt fast or be left behind.
You could try and try to blame everything on millennials, but unfortunately, the blame lies with generations past. This is our future, our time, and we're fighting tooth and nail for it.