Is Generation-Y the most entitled, apathetic bunch of misguided kids to walk the earth? I understand why one might think so, but I disagree.
While the loudest among us might seem self-obsessed and shallow; we’re still one of the most educated generations. We have a world of information in our pocket. I understand our elders getting confused by those of us who choose to utilize current technology by watching cat videos. I could make the case that ALL Millennials don’t spend their time this way. We have our own interests outside of current trends but for the sake of argument let’s pretend we all embody the stereotype, unable to look up from our Candy Crush addiction and worshipping Yeezus.
Like the boomers thought our parents’ generation was doomed, I hear people express similar concerns about us. Generations past were up to as much mischief as we are, we just have evidence of our shenanigans posted online whether it be on Instagram, Snapchat screenshots or the infamous drunken Facebook tag. You should keep in mind that we grew up online, unlike our parents. All of our mistakes are on display, including our awkward stages. One can focus on the negative aspects highlighted by the media or be optimistic and view Generation-Y’s influence on language and culture as a positive thing.
While slang terms like selfie and acronyms like bae (Before Anything Else) might be enough to make our English professors weep (they irritate me as a member of this derpy generation) they aren’t ruining the English language! “Sorry not sorry” but textspeak and the invention or bastardization of words already in use, no matter how ridiculous they may sound (bootylicious and OMG are both in the dictionary now), are a part of our language. I think this is a positive thing because it adds rather than detracts from ways we can choose to express ourselves.
Language has been changing since humans started making up words and will continue to evolve until either words become obsolete and we can send our thoughts instantly through our Google Glasses (imagine how much faster we could tweet our misguided political opinions without the pesky typing or 140 character limit) or we die from eating modified Frankenfoods or bombs via world war whatever but it seems to me that while our generation may not have a handle on our perceived narcissism online, many of us have our priorities straight when it comes to changing the world.
Of the complaints voiced about 20somethings, lack of conviction shouldn’t be one despite the association that we’re all apathetic. Most of us aren’t cool with war, consuming mystery materials marketed as food, or polluting our planet for the sake of consumerism. In fact, most of Millennials who care actively work (or are educating themselves in fields that apply to) changing these things about our world. The multiple LOLs and unnecessary emojis are less offensive when I know that kid is going to grow up to help save the planet.
Take the sometimes-misunderstood acronym YOLO. There are two ways to view its meaning, You Only Live Once. #1. YOLO: let’s do drugs and get DRAKE tattoos! Or #2 as a modern recitation of a line that goes back to 23 BC. I bet the Latin poet Horace didn’t think people in 2014 would repeat this version of “carpe diem” which translates to “seize the day” meaning, at least according to the person I know with it tattooed (regrettably) on her lower back, enjoy the present rather than looking too far ahead or dwelling on the past. When I think of how I only live once I think about how I want to make my actions count while I’m alive.
People idealize the past and talk about the 60s like it was a big inclusive party where everyone fought for their rights. We forget or maybe gloss over the fact that everything wasn’t peace and love. No generation has done everything right but I think they were on to something and we’re progressing on important issues, too—only with no legitimate acid hookups and less daisy boob paint.
Elders who turn their noses up to our self-documentation and stubborn courage to be individuals when it comes to our goals are the same people who instilled in us that we were special and could achieve our dreams. Just because I haven’t made it as an astronautballerina doesn’t mean I don’t believe I have a purpose and just because our dreams have not manifested in a way that our parents approve of does not mean that they are not worthwhile uses of our time. We can collectively decrease world-suck and I think that’s what we’re doing or at least trying.
Someone told us when we were kids that we could do anything.