When I lived in Calgary, Alberta I took an aquacize class once a week. It was a bit of a strange class in that the teacher stood on the side of the pool, fully dressed, and shrieked orders to us through a headset. One of her favorite things to do was to point her finger at a specific student and bellow, “Dig hard.” This was our cue, we were the star of the moment, time to hit the gas, step it up and paddle, flail, kick, bob, or fling our pool noodle, as fast as we could. For about 30 seconds everyone else floated like turtles on their backs, while you attempted to raise your heat rate, splashing like you had bees in your bathing suit.
One day, we were swimming away, working on a particularly boisterous move of treading water while waving our pool noodles back and forth above our heads. The whistle blew and it was my moment! The amazonish instructor pointed at me, and it was on! I could barely see her through all the splashing I was doing, but I could see she wasn’t satisfied and kept pointing at me aggressively and repeatedly. Ok, I thought, I will kick it up a notch. I gave it even more but she just kept pointing. “For heavens sake woman I’m giving you all I have!” More pointing, more splashing. Weirdly, the other turtles seemed really impressed with my efforts, and were watching with their mouths open. Finally, when I was completely out of breath and almost ready to call Uncle, the instructor covered her mic up, bent over to the edge of the pool and said “Mam, your breast has come out of your bathing suit!” Ohhhhhhh I got it!. I had being swinging my rogue breast all over the place for the last 30 seconds, like a bingo ball in one of those little bingo ball cages.
Alas, this (true story) is an excellent metaphor for my life. I think I’m doing great, totally winning at life, but in reality all everyone else sees is, well ……a boob, flailing around, not accomplishing much. Oh well, the maximum amount of people to witness this display of grace, was probably 30, if that. Today, if this happened, somebody would have pulled out there phone for sure. By that evening I would have had my mono boob plastered all over social media. #areolaaquacize, #momfail, #unaboober
This is the world our millennial have grown up in. A 24/7 global world, of constant documentation. Technology has shaped their psyche and infiltrated their thoughts to their very core. The world is barely recognizable from my big haired, Commodore 64, landline phone, youth (aka generation x).
Thus, I have embarked on a journey to a better understanding of this brave new world our kids inhabit. I looked for a millennial to interview in search of some insight, and as I told you, Hailey Hannigan walked right in through my door! Serendipity!
Task #5 or De-Mystifying the next generation or the Misunderstood Millennial
Hailey Hannigan, is a long time family friend. I met her when she was a cutie patootie with blonde braids, big blue eyes and was in the second grade. Hailey, graduated from Georgia State and then went to Thailand to teach English. When she came back her parents were moving to Charlotte, so we asked if she would like to stay with us while she decided what her next move was.
Dennis feels I’m stacking the deck by picking Hailey as my millenial representative, she is beautiful, funny, smart and kind. I tried to interview this guy, Brandon,
Brandon is 32, he lives in his parent’s basement, he calls it a his “private apartment” (although he pays no rent). He has a degree in communications (after six years and three colleges). He’s thinking about being a Dolphin trainer or starting an online global business.
The last time Brandon actually spoke to a live human (his Mom, Lorraine, doesn’t count) was in 2015. If you would like to hire him, Lorraine says to contact her, Brandon doesn’t do phone conversations due to his social anxiety (thus the heavy weed consumption). His mom was extremely busy when I talked to her about interviewing him, she was applying for jobs for him, doing his laundry, and heating up hot pockets to take to him in the basement. She told him to call me but he never did.
So, I had the pleasure of going out with Hailey for dinner a few times, while she lived with us, and I got a chance to ask her all kinds of questions.
To be honest I was quite surprised by her answers. First question was, “what do you think of the world today?” Hailey: “It’s amazing!” me: “No sweet girl, not the one in your head.” In the world in my head, animals can talk and ride bikes and everyone gets a fairy to keep in their pocket.
“The world we are really living in”.
Not this hot mess ⬇️
So, I composed a letter. Hailey was confused by this concept and we lost time on this project as she kept looking for a text from me. The actual physical letter came back to me as Hailey wasn’t aware there was “stuff in that box”. So I typed it out and sent it to her cell phone in text.
Dear millennial, next generation representative, Hailey,
It’s strange to think I have moved into the “older generation” category. Just yesterday I was young, fired up and ready to change this giant ball of spinning matter. I am watching you launch into adult life, and to be honest, I feel like as a group you are struggling. Geez, so much angst and FOMO (fear of missing out). I don’t know, but it seems like you guys are struggling to make decisions and get your adult lives started.
My generation (Gen X) definitely shoulders some of the blame on that. At times we were definitely waaaaaaaaay too involved in your life. Shoot we practically put out an Amber alert if we couldn’t find you after ten minutes. We knew pretty much everything going on in your lives (since we creeped you on all forms of social media). When we even got a whiff of the smell of failure we swooped in and talked to the teacher, talked to the kid’s parent, helped you with the homework, bitched for more playing time for you, stalked you at every sporting event and practice, basically whenever you were uncomfortable we moved heaven and earth to fix it.
Us gen Xers told you that you could do anything you wanted. That’s not true. Everybody has some inherent constraints to what they are able to achieve. My parents, told me I could be a white, Mennonite girl from Canada. So I guess you could say I’m a grand success! The truth is you can do some of what you want. We told you, you were special. You are special, to the people that matter in your life. The world on other hand, is rather indifferent to you. We constantly wanted you to be happy without much effort, as if happiness is something you can buy at Starbucks. “I”ll have the Venti Double Happiness, please”. You must learn to create your own happiness, sometimes out of thin air and even when people and circumstances are working against you.
I fear, maybe, we made adulting sound like some grand adventure with no hardwork, dissapointment or failure. Hard work, disappointment and failure are a lot of what ADULTING IS! The adventure is mastering them and crafting a meaningful life. That may not sound like fun, and yes it’s boring alot. Behaving like an adult though is so much more than fun, it’s finding purpose. Fun is just the dessert you get to have after eating the main course of finding your soul’s path.
We told each other, at the time, that everything we did was for you. That’s not entirely true either. Absolutely, we loved you so much it hurt. Truthfully, however, we felt like we were reluctant participants in some sort of the parenthood Olympics. It was, travel this, travel that, programs for the “gifted” kids, trophies that weighed more than you did. Who could have the best and the brightest kids, who could volunteer the most, who could never miss one single game, practice, show.
None of these things are bad in moderation, but my generation took it all to a new level. I mean did any of your teachers really believe you guys made those projects on your own??? A scale reproduction of the space shuttle (complete with rocket blasters) from a first grader? Somehow we thought any failure or weakness on your part was a reflection on us and how well we parented you. We were living vicariously through you kids and it felt really, really, normal.
What we should have emphasized was that, you are on your own journey. And as much as we want to, so badly it makes our hearts constrict, we cannot take this journey with you. Our role as parents is to guide and support you, but it’s your responsibility to find your way. The hardest thing for us is we may not really like the path you choose and that’s okay (providing it’s not harming anyone). It is in this way that YOU are our greatest adventure!. Learning to step back and take our own feelings and expectations out of the equation and let you discover yourself, the hard way, is our greatest challenge. I am absolutely positive this will be so until our dying breaths.
That’s where I feel our generation went wrong (despite loving you more than you will ever understand, until you have your own wee dibbuns). What do you think? What do you think we got right? How are you feeling about your generation taking over in the next 20-30 years? Tell me what you would like me and my generation understand.
P.S. did someone tell you that there is a device in your phone that will trigger a nuclear war if your phone is further than 20 feet away from you? Why on earth do you post pictures of the food you eat? And what exactly does “hooking up” entail? (keep it PG, Oma is reading.
P.P.S Can you try and put your parents in the same home as me? I really like them, they would probably put up with me pretty well and they are used to going along with the games I make people play at my parties!
Leana aka Generation X representative
Dear Leana and Generation X,
First and foremost thank you for the opportunity to guest write on your blog. To start us off I wrote this poem:
being a millennial
is a lot like being a perennial
because if you’re a millennial
right now, today
that means you’ve lived more than two years
Now that you’ve read the worst analogy ever written, I’ll continue. My name is Hailey Hannigan, I am a millennial who lived with Leana, sheltered for one month when I returned from teaching English in Thailand. I am friends with Leana through means of her lovely daughter Amanda who is my #Bestie4ThaRestie.
Being a millennial is finally awesome because we’re now at the stage in our life when generation Z (the one after us), gets collectively dumped on by the nation and we get to watch. We may be unable to afford mortgages but at least we don’t eat laundry detergent pods.
Personally, I enjoy being a millennial. However, I’m blind to all of our generational weak spots because that part of my brain holds the memories to my YMCA soccer awards ceremonies. I say “PARTICIPATION”, you say “TROPHIES.” Go team orange.
I’ll admit, we do have a big weak spot. Our collective Achilles’ heal is voicemails. Watching a millennial try and leave a coherent voicemail is about as much fun as watching your generation takeover the Facebook.com. We also have a strange aversion to doorbells. We just text, “here” and expect you to greet us at the door. Don’t ask me to knock on your door or leave a voicemail.
Generation X, the kids are all alright. We know that we can’t do anything we want, but we’re learning that we can do some of what we want. And what we want is a lot of Netflix.
But above all, I would like to thank your generation. As parents, you guys loved us a lot. When we were toddlers you would bring us to restaurants even before the invention of the iPad!
Because of your hard work, millennials are the most educated generation of all time. More people are able to attend university and pursue higher education degrees than every before. Beyond that, you guys taught us to care about our fellow man. Millennials donate more money and spend more time volunteering in our free time than any other generation. We also are better at saving and budgeting than generations before us.
You guys stayed at so many 4 hour swim meets for a 1 minute race to ensure that we were happy, healthy, challenged, and socialized and that didn’t make the world a worse place! But it most definitely did use up a lot of your Saturdays and for that I would like to say thank you. When I think of the generations before me and their sacrifices, I think of this:
“We are an immigrant nation! The first generation works their fingers to the bone making things, the next generation goes to college and innovates new ideas, and the third generation goes snowboarding and takes improv classes.” – Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock
I know that everyone in my generation has heard that we are the worst people to ever exist. We stay on our phones too much, we aren’t buying houses or diamonds, we eat too many avocados, and we’re moving back in with our parents. But on the other side of that coin is the INTERNET! I think that we are living in an unprecedented age where the Internet has allowed us to connect in ways that were not possible.
The spread of ideas and knowledge through the Internet has allowed for exponential growth and improvement in tons of arenas. I can’t think of a single sector of humanity that has not been impacted by the Internet.
For a millisecond after typing that sentence I thought, “Well, what about religion? Pretty sure Catholic mass hasn’t changed in literally hundreds of years.” And then I remembered I follow the pope on Instagram.
New industries are being born everyday, and olds ones are getting improved in tons of ways. Because we are better connected than ever before, I believe that we feel more responsible for other people. We want to leave the world a better place. We see natural disasters moments they strike. We make our own websites for the online businesses we create. We teach English online to kids in China for $16/hour as a side gig. We learn how to create apps. Generation Z is learning how to code in elementary school now!
The world is a different place but it’s not a bad place. Now, to answer some of your questions:
“Did someone tell you that their is a device in your phone that will trigger a nuclear war if your phone is further than 20 feet away from you?”
All that human interaction we’ve missed out on thanks to the invention of cell phones. There is an inverse relationship between my personal happiness and how much small talk I have to engage in throughout the day. Also, as recent events have proved, cell phones were the only thing warning people of the threat of imminent nuclear war! BOOM.
“Why on earth do you post pictures of the food you eat?”
Money can’t buy me happiness or a boyfriend but it can buy me a burrito bowl so
“…and what exactly does “hooking up entail?”
Don’t tell anyone I told you. The phrase “hooking up” comes from secret “hooking up” parties. At these parties, millennials take their non dominant hand and curl it into a hook. They then thrust their hook hands upwards as a means to get closer to heaven.
a millennial “hooking up”
” Can you try and put your parents in the same home as me?”
OF COURSE! Rumor has it that geriatric hooking up parties are on the up and up!
Love ur Millennial Friend,
Turns out this group isn’t so bad after all. Millenials want to work smarter not harder so they can enjoy life. They are independent thinkers, who want experiences not material things. Technology has allowed them to see the bigger picture, and understand things from a global perspective.
These kids, generally, really want to make the world a better place. You know what, I believe a lot of them are going to! They are, however, going to do it their own way and in their own time. They will probably be taking selfies of their hipster beards while listening to wrap music that makes your ears bleed and drinking craft beer but these kids are going to shake things up. Maybe us in the older generation need to quit focusing on the negative and celebrate what makes this generation unique. Because you know what they are the only future that we have. Plus, I personally know they could hold us all hostage by refusing to help us with technology, I for one would like to be able to have my drone do my laundry (and you know they will have to show us)! Also, they will be raising our grandchildren so we can’t give up on them. Let’s be supportive, let’s listen to their ideas, let’s understand EVERY generation bemoans the one coming after them, and you know what the world keeps on spinning!
Now for some millenial speak.
IMO, BTW, I’m SMH and LMAO , how OBV negative towards millenials we have been. TIL, and got WOKE, IRL these kids are GTG more than we think, even though they aren’t on fleek . So Yolo, don’t be salty, get on board the millenial bus, it’s going to be turnt
Translation from Millennial into English
In my opinion, by the way, I’m shaking my head and laughing my ass off, how obviously negative towards millenials we have been. Today I learned, and understood, in real life, these kids are good to go more than we think, even though they aren’t perfect. So you only life once, don’t be bitter, get on board the millenial bus, it’s going to be awesome!
#squadgoals #millenialsmakingwaves #hopeforthefuture
Lots of love my kittens,
Love Mummy, Auntie Lee-Lee, or Goose
xoxo, oh and don’t forget…