My oh my, the millennials…

The other day, I ended up in a curbside conference with my neighbor, and the topic of millennials, or The Millennials (always spoken with a downtrodden voice and a headshake), came up.

Millennials, those kids born in the 90s who transitioned through the change of the millennium and somehow survived Y2K without a scratch (that’s a joke), are catching a lot of flak over their cultural differences from previous generations. Mostly, they’re touted as being righteous, lazy, privileged, overly moralistic (without the life experience to fully quantify their societal allegations), and a bit prissy. Basically, it’s said, millennials are a screwing it all up because they have it so easy.

It was my neighbor’s opinion that most millennials fit their current, less-than-stellar label as society’s current miscreants. But I actually don’t think they’re not any different than any generation that has come before or will come after.

I know a number of millennials. I have seven nieces and nephews, all millennials, a sister-in-lawy, and the Sun Day Assistant Editor Kelsey O’Kelley is a millennial. None of them really fit into that view of a millennial, at least not any different than any one generation exhibits trace amounts of their generation’s stereotype.

Sure, in many ways, life is easier for a millennial than it was for even my generation, which is Generation X, and at one time, we were thought to be privileged and wrecking everything.

Imagine this. Think about that horrible time our country’s history when black people were enslaved. Imagine those enslaved generations when encountering the firs free generation’s complaints: “You think you have it bad? Let me tell you about what it was like when I was growing up.”

I think it’s safe to say that EVERY generation born after those enslaved have it easier…by miles. You don’t even have to go back that far. Often, when I hear people complaining about millennials, think back to my grandfather. He was born in 1903 and by the time he was seven years old, he was out of school, chewing tobacco, and working in one of the infamous Chicago sweat shops. I’m betting the majority of everyone reading this right now had it easier than that growing up.

I read an article once that talked about how life was basically the same for hundreds of years before the Industrial Revolution, and once that hit, the entire world and the way we lived changed. Things got easier, while everything became more available. Then for the next hundred years, life was basically lived the same. I was born in 1978, and barring some minor differences, my youth wasn’t that dissimilar than my father’s. If you wanted to buy something, you had to walk or take a car to the store or order from a catalog. If wanted to know something, you had to ask someone who knew or go to the library.

Then the Internet hit and changed the entire world again, making life, yet again, easier to the point where now in 2017, if your home’s wired right, you can order something just by speaking it into the air and have it delivered, in some cases, within a few hours. Need an answer to a question? Just ask it aloud and a pleasing, feminine voice will give you the answer out of thin air.

But these advancements that have made life this easy for a millennial came from the work of the generations before.

Every generation brings progress and decline. Every generation has pros and cons (millennials are making good music, if you ask me).

One generation is always making life better or easier for the next—in fact, that previous generation raises the next generation with the famous pledge: “I work this hard so one day you don’t have to.” Then when the next generation profits from the work of the former, the former claims the next generation isn’t working hard enough and complains, “These kids have it too easy nowadays. Not like it was when I was growing up.”

So let’s give these millennials a break, they’re trying to change the world, same as every other generation before them and every other generation to come. And it’s not like all of us who lived before them were around before fire was invented, when saber tooth tigers still roamed the land. Imagine living your day, knowing that you could be something else’s dinner. That’s bad.

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