For better or for worse, I’m a Millennial. Generally speaking, this is one who was born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. I was born in 1982. The Millennial Generation is one constantly bombarded with the latest technology, and one whose interactions with the world – whether near or far – have been greatly coloured by social media. While I cannot speak for an entire generation, I aim to share my point-of-view not just as a Millennial, but a conservative Millennial.
My first thought upon considering this generation is the excess and comfort we’ve always enjoyed. I am not similar to my grandparents and their generation, ones deeply affected by The Great Depression and World War II. I am not similar to my parents’ generation, the Baby Boomers, born into a world ripe with memories of the Second World War and all its devastation. No, I am included with those who’ve always had plenty and rarely known struggle. The hardships of decades ago don’t touch us, and turmoil, though alive and well, seems distant. It happens, but it happens elsewhere, and we’d like to think it can’t quite reach us. Of course, that conclusion is wrong.
The cocooned upbringings we’ve had are only increased by the YouTube-Instagram-Twitter-Facebook-selfie-type culture which now engulfs us. Instantly we can share our thoughts/feelings/music/art/fashion/stories on a digital stage and wait for people to notice. With all the competing social media platforms out there, we’re still waiting for our individual submissions to be praised. And we’re impatient for that to occur. Immersed in technology, we disconnect from our actual lives, and yet at times wonder why we feel withdrawn. This in turn seeps into our real environments, and we exhibit a defining trait of Millennials. Selfishness.
If there is anything that seems to be the Millennial banner most often waved, it is the idea of “rights”. How dare anyone contradict our thoughts and opinions? If it happens, surely it is an infringement on our rights, correct? All the while we seemingly can’t comprehend that our opinions don’t trump anyone else’s, and vice versa. That’s not groundbreaking, but to the coddled Millennial Generation, it’s akin to a revelation.
This is seen in the “Fight for $15” campaign that some American fast food workers are fueling. They believe they deserve a certain hourly wage…just because. Instead of taking the chance to improve one’s skills, they glide along, expecting others to meet their demands. In reality, however, their entry-level experience doesn’t hold much clout. While grandparents and parents had to work up to where they were/are, Millennials too often expect to be at that same level out of the starting gate. They are in for a rude awakening.
As a conservative Millennial, I’ll be truthful. These traits don’t bode well for our future. Our emphasis on feelings over facts too often translates into taking the easy route, instead of the right route. Those routes are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I don’t believe conservatism is dead in this generation, but liberalism is clearly the most popular, followed by libertarianism. Too often this generation forsakes long term health – societally, culturally, politically, economically – for short term happiness, and the almighty claim of “freedom”.
My prescription for my own generation would be a major course correction. We think we’ll always have what we want because that’s all we’ve known. We think our “rights” and determinations are to be respected before all others, based on no foundation other than feelings. We ask for handouts when we really should take the path of hard work. We conclude disagreement is the same as hate.
We proudly proclaim our access to more advanced knowledge than any other generation, but for all our “education”, we lack common sense. I do hope for the turnabout of my generation, and an awakening, albeit rudely, as an increased number enter into adulthood. More than anything, we need to study the lessons of the past, listen to advice from those who have gone before, consider others first before ourselves, practice humility, and continue to fight for what is right. Like it or not, the next generation will be a product of us. As it stands right now, that is a scary thought.