on being the prime millenial

I read something the other day that said the most millenial of all millenials was born in 1990 and raised in a suburb of a large city. So hello, from the primest of the prime, the handpicked millenial. Born September 12, 1990 and raised 42 miles from Chicago, IL in a cute little idealistic suburb that was recently voted the “Best Place to Raise Children.”

I grew up knowing that my parents were baby-boomers, and that made their generation special, for some reason or another. The only special things I’ve learned about baby-boomers is that they will all eventually get old at the same time and need a health care reform, lots of doctors who love old people, and hefty retirement funds.

It’s discomforting to hear people talk about “millenials” and lump us all into a vague group of careless kids who have new fangled opinions, higher expectations, and don’t want children. While I am the epitome of a few of those personality traits, there’s a much bigger group of generalizations that are the complete opposite of who I am, or who I would ever want to be.

  • I DO care about the environment, despite what the general population assumes. Very much, actually, and Brian and I wish we could compost, recycle, and garden more than we’re able to in our apartment.
  • I also care very much about other people. Most of my peers are careless, self-centered, self-absorbed individuals who will throw anyone under the bus if it means getting what they want. Don’t believe me? Try navigating the Lincoln Park Whole Foods on a Saturday morning and then tell me what you think. (If you somehow manage to avoid getting run down by that 22 year old in her Range Rover that has blacked out windows so you can’t see her face while she honks at you and your 3-yr-old in the parking garage to get out of her freaking way.)
  • The student debt thing though…. yeah I identify 110% with all of that, and you better believe I’m feelin’ the Bern.
  • But what about marriage and kids?! Apparently millenials don’t want to get married, and they definitely don’t want children. The more I consider the reasons, I realize there are a lot of factors that contribute to that choice, including finances and family history. I’ve wanted both a marriage and kids for as long as I can remember, but both mine and Brian’s parents are happily married and we’ve never dealt with divorce. I’m sure that’s a huge component since I have more peers with divorced parents, than married.
  • One trait of millenials that I was surprised to read, was that we tend to value the usefulness, history, and components of a product before purchasing. We (collectively) are interested in the company selling the product, and care about their beliefs and goals. Very true! Brian and I have been making more of an effort lately to buy only things we need, and find high quality products that are well made by people we believe in. Yay millenials! We’re doing something right!

It’s just so weird to read articles that are generalizations about ME! It’s definitely interesting, and intriguing, and inspires me to be as un-like my peers as possible, but it is still an odd feeling to be part of a group you never chose to join. It just dawned on me that that must be what it’s like to be a minority, or a refugee, or an immigrant. Swept into a common group, given a label, and then scrutinized to the last detail, with no say in the matter. Just a thought.


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