“Gen·er·a·tion Y: noun; the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s, comprising primarily the children of the baby boomers and typically perceived as increasingly familiar with digital and electronic technology.”
That’s how Google defines us, but what does society really think?
Generation Y—the lost generation.
That’s what society considers us to be—lost. We’ve been called a vast array of names that contribute to our unfortunate reputation. People think we’re weak, scared, lazy, reckless, stupid and a plethora of other harsh labels.
Speaking from personal experience, I have to admit that some of these labels are applicable at times. But we are more than our scars and failures. We have developed and grown through the negatives that have stamped our lives.
People believe we’re fragile because we like to avoid pain. We grew up with widespread media coverage of violent tragedies, terrorist attacks, controversial wars and mass shootings. The images flashed before our eyes on television and computer screens so much that they became normal events for us to observe. That being said, we don’t like it—nobody does. Yet, Generation Y is specifically targeted as being weak when we're actually the exact opposite.
We’ve become stronger and grown closer as a result of what we’ve been exposed to. It has instilled passion in us for the issues we deeply care about and has motivated us to fight for what we believe in. The pain we were exposed to growing up taught us to never give up and to always keep marching on even when faced with adversity.
People believe we’re stupid and lazy, especially because of technology. Again, the opposite is true. We’ve mastered every new piece of technology that has been thrown our way as we’ve progressed through our years. We’ve been the first generation to adapt and welcome such change and advancements at such a rapid pace. We’ve become more efficient and are able to more effectively connect because of it.
Tools like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and iMessage unite us. They aren’t flawless, but they foster creativity, community, learning, and success. We've transformed into fast-thinkers and innovators because of our technological astuteness.
People believe we’re against love and commitment. But guess what? That isn't true either. We work toward happiness through creating a meaningful life, which takes in to account our relationships with people. We highly value sharing our lives with those that are around us, and work hard to make sure our relationships are long-lasting.
Oh, but what about the hookup culture? Our openness with our sexuality is considered to be one of our selfish downfalls, and while it’s prevalent, I can’t completely agree that this means we hate love and commitment. It varies between every encounter, but many hookups are fueled by the need for love and acceptance. Behind a hookup is the subconscious desire to be chosen.
We haven’t given up on love at all. Some of us have found it, some of us have been searching for it and some of us have just not been thinking about it. A lot of us just aren’t necessarily ready for it right now. But we surely aren’t against love.
People think we’re reckless because we love to party. We drink. We dance. We sing. We document our memories with ridiculous photos. We crave risks and thrive off adrenaline. Granted, we do some things we shouldn’t, but sometimes, that is what life demands—going against the grain and having some crazy fun.
We challenge how society wants us to be, and we resist conformity. Our parents did it. Their parents did it. And we’ve benefited from it because it has given us the liberty to discover and choose who we want to be.
There are so many stereotypes and definitions of what Generation Y is. But here is mine:
We’re strong and spontaneous. We’re brave and vulnerable. We’re intelligent and rebellious. We’re passionate and free.
We’re a beautiful, blended and unique mixture of our good and bad qualities. We’re damaged and whole at the same time. We are Generation Y. And we are certainly not lost.