Sometimes it’s hard for me to call myself a millennial. I was born in the mid-'80s and my earliest memories are clearest around 1990-91. But to be a millennial is to have been born anytime between the early '80s and early aughts, and there are plenty of differences within those eras. My "section" of millennialism still recalls having a mostly computer-free childhood. We didn’t have internet in my household until I was 13. Still, I refuse to apologize for being a millennial, even if I don’t always share the same memories as those on the latter end of the generational spectrum.
Overall, I am pretty fed up with all the anti-millennial think pieces, mainly penned by bitter baby-boomers (and sometimes also by over-privileged gen-x-ers and millennials). There’s all this talk about millennials being entitled and lazy and unappreciative and every other negative trait you can think of. However, few bother to explore why we might appear “lazy” (maybe because the workforce has become increasingly saturated) or why we don’t seem to have our collective “sh*t together” (perhaps because so many of us are drowning in student debt). I even had some random troll on Twitter get bent out of shape because I just recently wrote another piece on millennial life. So you know what? I am a millennial and, no, I won’t apologize for it, nor will I apologize for any of the other things below.
When I Had To Move Back In With My Parents
If you’re a millennial, chances are you’ve either had to move back in with your folks or had friends who did. According to Pew Research, the percentage of young folks who live with their parents is greater than that of millennials living with partners, roommates, or alone. Even though I’ve had lots of friends who have lived with their parents well into adulthood, I still find myself making a list of reasons why I did it, as though I need to justify myself.
When I Took A Selfie
Millennials like selfies. OK, maybe not all millennials, but this millennial does. And you know what? There’s no reason why I should have to apologize for that.
When I Struggled To Find Work
Upon completing college, I began to search for a job. However, it quickly dawned on me that most jobs required multiple years of experience. So, I mean, how the hell was I supposed to get that experience without getting hired? I took on an unpaid internship for the first time, but after a while, I couldn’t afford it.
When I Had More Than One Job In The Same Year
I was fortunate enough to get hired on as an actual employee where I was interning. My hours, though, were a joke at only eight per week. This meant having to seek out two additional jobs to almost make me a full-time worker. Some folks might see that as irresponsible but I see it as, “I need to eat.”
When I Had A Gap In Employment
I was let go from my job during my first pregnancy, due to my inability to show up for work after a medical emergency. Concerned for my health, I opted not to work the rest of that pregnancy. This happened again with my second pregnancy, and for the following year as I dedicated myself to being mom full-time. Unfortunately there are some that would also see this as irresponsible.
When I Didn’t Have Health Insurance
Part-time employees are not eligible for health insurance under their employers. Freelance employees are not eligible for health insurance under their employers. Health insurance out of pocket costs more than I can afford each month, so my only option is to use my husband’s insurance (when he gets it through work, which does not always happen, either). So unless you’re paying my bills, don’t judge.
When I Couldn’t Pay My Bills On Time
Speaking of which, when you don’t always have stable income it can get difficult to pay bills on time. This ends up racking up more debt, and then making it even tougher to pay bills. Rinse, lather, repeat.
When I Didn’t Apologize For Having Multiple Partners
While numerous articles have come out stating that millennials are having less sex than other generations, that doesn’t mean none of us are having sex. Also, being that we are the generation of OKCupid, Grindr, and Tinder, many of us are certainly enjoying ourselves with zero f*cks given.
When I Didn’t Pull Myself Up From My Nonexistent Boot Straps
The biggest lie older generations tell us is that we are all equally capable of lifting ourselves by our bootstraps and making good lives for ourselves. While our nation still does grant us certain opportunities, I would say that this myth is more about keeping folks from questioning things like nepotism, institutionalized racism and sexism, and class warfare.
We all come from different backgrounds, all face a different set of challenges (some totally unexpected), and while hard work can get us places, it will get the white boy born to a billionaire much farther in life than it will usually get the poor, queer woman of color. Or at the very least, she will have to fight 100 times harder to get there.