Musings

Millennial meltdown

September 14, 2015
Ominous forest of birch trees

Millennials: The loathed term coined for the generation of 20-30 somethings made of self-absorbed critical complainers with rampant entitlement issues and existential crises.

The one-word that can be used to poo-poo away any of your legitimate concerns about the way things are, from work/life balance to the concept of “work” in general, relationships, marriage, the environment, technology, corporations, economy, trade, food – you name it.

The truth is, I can’t stand you either, millennials…you’re so annoying. Which, unfortunately, means I also can’t stand myself!

Being a millennial among millennials magnifies our search for unique, authentic meaning and purpose.

If it’s up to us to live a life beyond mediocrity and we’re in charge of our own happiness, what do we need to do? What does that even mean? Will having a unique life give me more happiness? When will I be satisfied? I want money and I want purpose. I want it all and I want to enjoy it and bask in all “its” glory.

But, what is the “it” that we really want?

There’s pressure to find stability, both financially and personally, while living a meaningful life that somehow contributes to the advancement of humanity. We constantly see aspirational, fabulous lives broadcasted around us in our “everybody’s famous” world. But we’ve seen preconcieved notions and beliefs about the good life fail in reality.

We’re a generation born to a 50 per cent divorce rate, does marriage have to be in the equation? Post-feminism has left us wondering, “is it ok for me to want to stay at home or am I giving up and not reaching my potential”? Can I not have kids and not feel like I missed out? Our parents saw a recession, we’ve seen a recession and are now in a looming one. Reality proves hard work doesn’t always pay off, as much as we’d hope it would out of merit. How do I get ahead and not be taken advantage of or should I just keep my head down? Is big risks for big rewards irresponsible or worth the gamble?

What’s too rich and what does it mean to be poor? Past benchmarks just don’t make 100 per cent sense anymore. Extravagantly affluent people can come off selfish and harmfully indulgent, disregarding the world’s ills and earning their riches off the backs of others, yet never being satisfied. The purposefully poor can come off equally aimless, as guilt-tripping, unrealistic, preachy idealists.

We want to do better, but what better means remains different for everyone.

We search for our right individual path, but in an age where we pressure ourselves to be ourselves, the glaring self reflection is exhausting. If we’re supposed to achieve anything we put our mind to, suddenly, travelling the beaten path is intolerable.

We’re raised to feel it’s quite a travesty for us to not do better and be happier than generations before because we were afforded the riches of the world and the world’s our oyster, but what is better? We’re on a paralyzing merry-go-round using the same familiar parameters to judge ourselves in varying degrees of importance, depending on our flights of fancy at any given moment: money, power, fame, fun, purpose, adventure, humanity, love, family etc.

It haunts us this search for meaning, happiness and satisfaction. We’ve inherited more questions and scepticism and are afforded the opportunity and responsibiltiy to critically think about everything, including ourselves and how our decisions affect the world.

As we search to achieve, constant comparisons are commonly – and more easily – made against everyone’s successes. Everyone essentially, purposely or not, broadcasts only their happy best-faces-forward for all to see on social media. When you’re constantly seeing only everyone’s best, does this warp our understanding of what’s normal and create an over-inflated view of everyone’s happiness? Does this trigger, more often than not, detrimental, almost obsessive, comparisons of oneself?

On the other hand, we can just as easily excuse and dismiss envy-inducing comparisons with our meandering views of success and authenticity.

“That guy makes so much money, but he’s probably a major a-hole. That girl is so successful and hot, she’s probably secretly miserable.”

So comparisons don’t usually serve as positive motivation for our questioning selves, but more so  excuses to stay random and self-deflate.

In the end, in the face of competitive perfection and our mounting fears of failure, we’re all just trying to get by and, un-uniquely like ages before, be alive and okay and even content about where we end up.

What if the legacy of millennials is lowered expectations and ironic self-deprecation? Existentialist exhaustion and the rise of “just be”. Or the revival of “Let it be” since there’s a catchy Beatles song to go with it (did you just cringe at the humble mention of menial 70’s rock knowledge?).

As I almost turn 30 and my predictable self reflection is at a self-esteem crushing high, I’m trying to break away from my own self-inflicted pressure, jealousy and judgement weighing me down. How boring and cliche, but a hopeful effort to lessen unneeded stress. I’m trying to stay objective, open-minded and supportive of the different paths to happiness, whatever they may be, which may provide insight in to my own direction.

Being grateful can be hard to do in a society where the nebulous “more” seems to be at our fingertips, but frustratingly just out of grasp.

As much as I seek solace in appreciating the little things and making a conscious effort to be a good, positive person, I still feel bad. Like there’s always something more I’m supposed to achieve, that I’m meant to do better, but am not.

The same sad violin screeching the same overplayed tune across an entire generation.

The point of this post is there really is no point. But, you’ve read this far already, so I’m taking the philosophical excuse of “the truth is subjective”! Will a change in perspective make things better? I’m not entirely convinced.

Take from this as you will because my lame answer for the millennial quarter-life crisis is I just don’t know, like the most of us! I guess, try to be happy and grateful as you try to “do you”, while pushing forward or at least sideways so you’re not so frustratingly miserable.

Which brings us around to the age old question, what is the meaning of life anyway? Making meaning?

Too much. Off to Netflix and chill. Ew. #iknowyoualsohatehashtags #memes #isaidmemes

You Might Also Like

4 Comments

  • Reply Sarah October 22, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    This is brilliant. And hilarious. I think we can all relate.
    Favourite line: “The same sad violin screeching the same overplayed tune across an entire generation.”
    The hashtags also made me LOL.
    Fantastic stuff.
    Now… to go find something beautiful, yet rugged, and inspiring to post on my Instagram. My friends will be so jealous.
    Hehe.

    • Reply Michelle Seto November 10, 2015 at 10:32 pm

      Just checked this today! Thanks for reading Sarah!!! …I’ll be waiting on bated breath for your next instagram post. Please include nature, a subdued yet artistic filter and it will speak volumes to me. haha. Thanks for your support and for taking the time to entertain my random thoughts 🙂

  • Reply Elisha September 15, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    So much thought went into this post and it’s very well written! I completely agree with the post and have often find myself questioning happiness and the meaning of life.

    • Reply Michelle Seto September 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Thanks for reading, Lish. And, for being one of my greatest supporters (and of course for continually picking up my life crisis phonecalls), haha! We’re on this obstacle course together and I love our moments of confusion that end up expanding into clarity!

    Leave a Reply