By Kelly Riibe of Family Footnote
My name is Kelly and I have a confession.
- I like avocado toast.
- I am a fan of Snapchat.
- My husband and I have multiple blue tooth speakers throughout our home.
- Our household recently ditched cable, but we have even more television options for our viewing pleasure thanks to unlimited streaming devices.
- I have been known to take pictures of my food and share those photos with friends and family.
- I am guilty of thinking that if a store doesn’t have a Starbucks, is it really worth the shopping experience?
My name is Kelly and I think I might be a millennial.
UUUGGHH, but wait! I can’t be a millennial. They are cool and hip people, while I am not. My persona lends its hand more towards a practical and sometimes bossy character. I mean, I wear eye glasses because my astigmatism dictates that I need them in order to see properly in poorly lit areas. Millennials wear big, square, fake lenses just to look sharp and preppy. That fact alone should disqualify me from their tribe — well, that and the fact that already in this article I have spelled “millennial” wrong three times. Two “Ns” Kelly, not just one!
There is also the issue of my age and place in life. I wear leggings and yoga pants while hardly ever putting any sort of product into my hair. I can’t create the daily look of a messy bun or wispy locks to save my life. I am more of a scraped-back ponytail or finger-combed wet hair type of gal. This practicality should automatically qualify me to a steadfast position in the Generation X or Y camp. However, according to the internet, my birth year falls within the millennial ratio, and I need to embrace this fact.
But it is hard because there are so many things about me that I do not find cool. And I have always equated the term millennial with being cool. For example, I change about a million diapers a week and ask my first-grader for fashion advice, while the hipper millennial types know all the good places to eat with Wi-Fi. They are the crowds of people hitting the town around the same time I am going to bed.
Millennials get a bad rap, which means by association, I get a bad rap because I do have a lot in common with those born between 1974-1998 (give or take a year or two). We all seem to like craft beer and enjoy participating in 5K runs. Give me a running event that includes a beer tent at the finish line, and I will preregister in a heartbeat. But even these similarities highlight a difference. I go to breweries because I like a decent stout or porter that can be served in a 2 oz glass. The smaller drink portion means I can eat a yummy meal, with a small drink, and not fall asleep at dessert, while younger millennial humans probably frequent a brewery because they like the beer, and it is located in an up and coming area with easy Uber access. They may actually want to close the brewery down for last call, while I would prefer to go early to avoid crowds. When it comes to running, I jog because my hormones and metabolism are rooting against me in life; some millennials run because they think it is fun. To each their own.
The generational label really should not matter so much to me, but it does. My biggest problem with it is that this age group gets a lot of blame. Bad waiters at restaurants and fast-steering moped drivers almost always get identified with a millennial hashtag. They also are frequently slammed for having poor interpersonal communication skills since they like to text or tweet versus the old-fashioned notion of calling someone or speaking face-to-face. I love interpersonal communication and took a lot of classes on this subject in college, yet I hear people constantly commenting on how the millennial generation cannot speak in public, make proper eye contact, or put away their devices. Interviewing and listening to others is a huge part of my job as a writer, so I have to have some solid interpersonal communication skills, right? But, then in contrast, I love texting. So where does that leave me when looking for a generational label to call home?
I am probably actually a xennial, which is a sub-set group off of millennials. A small “micro-generation” that grew up watching commercials and VHS tapes but can now cancel cable and cast their favorite sitcoms to the living room television via an app. While the distinction is nice, I kind of think that by just writing out the term xennial in this post, my case to find a home as a millennial is going backwards. I like my smart phone, but I do not understand the concept of going to bed with it. I silence everything (except my morning wake-up alarm) at night because I need the peace and quiet. I also still go to libraries and would rather read an actual book than download one onto an e-reader. What do these contradictions mean to me and my place in the world?
I feel bad about the millennial label because so many harsh adjectives get unfairly attributed to this generation, such as lazy, spoiled, and entitled. I do not want to be lumped in under these description words and even more so I do not want to raise children that have any of these undesirable qualities. However, there are some really great descriptions for millennials, such as upbeat, self-expressive, confident, and empowered. Now those are fantastic adjectives, and ones I need to focus on more when accepting my admission into the millennial club of movers and shakers.
Every generation (old, young, and new) has lazy and spoiled people in their ranks. They also have positive and confident individuals. I will try to get along with them all and eat some more avocado toast (with cottage cheese) in the process.
This post was originally published on Family Footnote.
About the Author
Kelly J. Riibe has three kiddos, a husband, a Jack Russell Terrier, and a mildly curbed addiction to Diet Coke. Keeping busy for her involves staying home with her children and also finding work as a freelance writer. She has been published in Nebraska Magazine, Heels on a Farm, The Manifest-Station, BonBon Break, Parent.co, Living Here Magazine, Black Hills Faces Magazine, and MockMom. She is also the co-writer for the blog: www.familyfootnote.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @familyfootnote and @KJRiibe.