Life as a millennial

(Julian Gentilezza)

I love being a millennial.

Despite all the wrap we get from the baby boomers, I believe that there is no better time to be alive than in the age of millennials.

Nurtured and pampered by parents who didn’t want to make the mistakes of the previous generation, millennials are confident, ambitious, and achievement-oriented. They also have high expectations of their employers, tend to seek new challenges at work, and aren’t afraid to question authority.

This is a description I found when I searched for what millennials are known for. It is a controversial statement that defines us, yet a true one.

A product of being coddled and protected, unrealistically ambitious and always having unreasonably high standards of my baby boomer employer, I not only tend to thrive from challenging and questioning society and culture. I seek the confrontation and live for the challenge.

Millennials grew up alongside the Dot com boom and have early on learned to not only embrace it, but to thrive from it. We learned that there are so many things we can take shortcuts on and that life can really be easier than the current way it is being lived. We started challenging the older generations and started rebelling against societal norms. We get backlash for being lazy yet praise for being innovative.

I want to set the record straight

We are innovative because we are lazy. We are lazy because we believe that there has to be a better way. And we are entitled because we believe we are worthy not because of what we do, but merely because of who we are.

It is because of the millennial laziness that we are seeing so much innovation happening and we are accused of being entitled because we refuse to settle for the norm of having to wait.

We are ambitious and we go look for what we want. We are a semi-spoon fed generation and it is because of that, that we are ambitious and entitled. Because we are raised to avoid the mistakes of our elders and pave a new way. So thank you boomers for coddling us, because you made us entitled. But you also made us ambitious.

Challenging the norms

There is no greater pleasure for me than to challenge the existing way of life. I gain energy by looking for different ways of doing things regardless of whether the existing method works or not. And find enjoyment in the confrontation of what currently is.

It is through challenging the standards that innovation takes place. It is true that there isn’t always a better way, but hey, we won’t know if we don’t try. If we merely settled for what we had or tried to ‘just improve’ we would never have the light bulb. We would only have a bigger candle. Henry Ford would never produce the first car, we would simply have a carriage with more horses.

I call to you to rebel against the standards set forth and look to see if there might be a better way. If not, don’t fret about it. If there is, fight culture to show them what is possible. As the saying goes, impossible is only impossible until it’s done.

It is not a coincidence that we are called “Generation Y”. We are the generation with all the questions and no answer. The generation that is hungry for truth because we are discontent of being told the world is as it is, so deal with it. No, we believe there is something more. We believe there is meaning to how we live and truth to what we say.

My challenge to millennials is to keep innovating and keep asking questions. But also to listen to our baby boomer generation. There is a lot of wisdom to be found among them and a lot of lessons to be learned. They have paid a way for us and they have ultimately contributed to our generation in ways that are not being acknowledged. So respect your elders. Experience can take you a long way.

I also challenge older and younger generations to accept us in our ways, guide us where needed and try to understand now and then. We truly have a lot to offer.



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André Nel

I am a freelance writer with a passion for life, with a focus to teach people how to increase the quality of their lives and help grow leaders.