It’s always gratifying to reach a new reader, albeit fleetingly. People are so busy with ephemera that it’s hard to hold anyone’s attention, let alone the chronically SAS Millennials, monolithically and unfairly labelled as lazy, entitled narcissists. I own three of them, and they’re nothing of the sort. In fact, it’s a coup to even reach someone under twenty-five given the furious, social-media-whack-a-mole lives they lead. I’m always surprised and grateful — after all, for better or for worse, they will inherit the Earth. I’m not saying they’ll do a better job of it, but their legacy could hardly be less banal than that which they inherit.
I’ll add a rider to that — whatever they hope to achieve, they’d better get it done soon — because hot on the Birkenstocked heels of the Millennials are the ‘Linksters’ as they are apparently already being called, who don’t remember life before memes, who’ve never touched a corded phone or manual typewriter, born with iPhone thumbs more dextrous than a chimpanzee’s, and to whom the swipe motion is muscle-memorised before they utter their first word. Yet, while chimps are capable of interpreting facial expressions, will Linksters retain such ‘redundant’ skills in the post-Millennial world? I’m not so old that I won’t live to see the answer, and I hope my suspicions prove wrong.
But what a world they will inherit! The Millenials, for all their good intentions, are the architects of a social ice age. My generation can’t dodge responsibility for climate change, but the Millenials with their doxxing and hacktivism are to be blamed for a world where every snowflake is special, and anybody who doesn’t agree will find a pizza-delivery guy at their door at odd hours of the night with an order they didn’t place, charities ringing for monies promised when they made no such pledge, S.W.A.T. teams bursting through their door because a Millennial ‘vigilante’ says you’re the head a terror-cell. All because some SJW wants revenge for your tweet about overweight people being unattractive. Because oversized snowflakes are special too. There’s just more stretched canvas to decorate with life’s art.
Unfortunately, we take everything to extremes. Millennials are trapped by the pressure to have these carefully curated online lives. All that FOMO bullshit. But we all suffer from the irresponsible suggestion that only the extremes are interesting, and so we crowd the liminal spaces looking for that out-there, definitive life experience. I’m here to suggest we all calm down. Instead of trying to appear interesting, reoccupy the heart of things, get the right education+training so that you can make a career of what interests you, work hard at it and become expert, make your expert contribution to society and be a decent person. Have some ideals, and live up to them insofar as you can — yes, I’m paraphrasing — don’t neglect the duty of life in your pursuit of its joys.