A Millennial is anyone born between the early 1980’s to early 2000’s. What it means to be a Millenial is what he or she goes through that defines their very activities.
Now, surely we understand that a name facilitates the caller more than the called. So we are called the millennials because of the observation of our elders, they notice how we are different and then try to build a stereotype on what they see as a pattern.
And they say that we are many things, entitled because we haven’t struggled, which is true. Lacking focus, which science has proven is also true, our attention span is less than 8 seconds. That is worse than a goldfish, which stands on a 9.
They tend to say that we do not understand the world and they need to employ psychologists to understand our minds. I don’t know whether we should take it as a compliment or a major insult?
When I was growing up, my life was guided by my elders. It was almost natural for me to run to anyone older for advice. My Mother explained to me once, that a person’s value is based on their experience, so naturally, anyone older than me has had more experience and hence is a good reference point.
I agreed completely at the time. But the new media that flooded my country from the west encouraged me to challenge my elders. How would you know? Is a question I seemed to ask a lot, but silently. I didn’t actually look for an explanation from them anymore, I assumed that I know better, just like the people on the television screens.
I now see how very detrimental that was. Yes, of course, my elders made mistakes but they told me about them. They also encouraged me to confess my own so I can save someone else from suffering the same fate. That is what we humans do to keep safe, share information.
But my adolescence was full of doubts. Old conventions were challenged by new ideas and I jumped onboard the materialistic train. I viewed people as worthy only if they had material wealth and every poor person, no matter how wise his advice, was considered by me as a lost cause who is just too idealistic.
Hence began my journey into the wild wild west. I wore clothes from ‘brands’ that were popular, I ate food that was trendy, my activities revolved around whatever was hip at the time and my social relationships became callous.
Though internally I felt the anguish, I convinced myself that this is just a phase, I will eventually get used to it and then I will not have any bad feelings against my own activities. I even tried to convince myself that my parents and elders had devised this scheme when I was little to keep me in the dark, so now that I am in the new world it will take some practice to adopt the western train of thought.
Gentle Reader, I say Western because capitalism and materialism are western philosophies. I definitely don’t hate anyone from the West and by no means am I claiming that the media explained everything I needed to know about the West.
I turned 23 and began my journey through the vast expanse we call Earth. I went through all the continents and realised that the values that we call our own are actually universal. The emotions that define us as human beings are completely universal.
The big 7 emotions are found in the world to have the same expressions and I could communicate with practically anyone through the language of kindness. You can imagine what I must have felt. Every day when I was walking through streets so foreign, I felt like a local.
Gentle Reader, I am brown, like really brown, but yet, in black, yellow and white countries I was treated like one of them. Simply because of that language of kindness.
I realised that it was my folly to ignore my elders’ advice and by 25 I had shifted back to my old values. I gave up my entire lifestyle of materialism and embraced again the lifestyle of love. The one my elders had told me about.
Now here is where I realised the dilemma of the Millenials. We are the first generation to have become globalised in the true sense of the term. Ask your parents how many foreigners they spoke with in their lifetime and compare it with the number of foreign friends you have.
We just have a wider perspective by default. The juxtaposition is, in fact, this very realisation. Our livelihood depends on certain activities that we have come to learn are grossly unethical. We have more Yoga practitioners and Vegans because we have understood how in contrast we are to the very system that supports life.
Life or Livelihood. That is the question.
Never did I feel Shakespeare’s quote more deeply than I do now. To be or not to be.
Life is defined by the dictionary as the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.
It doesn’t mention any one rule to do so, neither does it say anything about money. It simply means that when we live we grow; physically, mentally and emotionally. We will want to reproduce in order to keep life going. Any purpose that we find interesting will be pursued by us and there will be a shit load of changes before we ultimately die.
Livelihood, on the other hand, is defined as a means of securing the necessities of life. Simple right? But who decides what are necessities? To me, it means that I should have enough food and water and an internet connection so I can write. To some others, it may mean food and perhaps a violin so they can keep on creating soul-stirring music.
Now, of course, my needs don’t cost me a lot, internet connection is substantially cheaper than a violin but I would hate it if the violinist couldn’t play anymore.
You see? The irregularity we encounter in our own lives causes the confusion of how much is enough. Where do we stop?
We really don’t want to affect our world in a bad way, we consciously realise this, but too many people seem to think otherwise.
I recently discovered this angst in me. I live among all kinds of people and I normally just observe them; as a writer I need content and that I find through people.
I understood that most of us are confused and a few of us know how to cope with the confusion. The others, however, are lost as fuck. They do not know what to do. In an attempt to stabilise their minds, they invoke unsubstantial claims and sometimes, their confidence is unsettling.
I, myself, fell back into the same hole once again, but this time I knew better. I reasoned with myself and saw that to live, I require only the bounty of the universe. The air, the water and the food. Everything else, and I mean everything else, is a luxury and I don’t mind departing from it.
My future is not guaranteed, so I will not spend my present to secure my future, and money is inconsequential because history has proven how it can mean nothing tomorrow.
Money is not a tangible object, the bills we hold have value only until there is a value to it. Otherwise, it is only paper. So I may want to secure my children’s life through it, but it is very likely that it won’t mean much tomorrow.
Look back in history and you will see that in the last century itself, several currencies became obsolete.
What I do know for sure is that my time is valuable, if invested in the upbringing of my children, it has more potential to make great human beings out of them. And guess what, they haven’t yet figured out how to tax my time, so I have that liberty all for myself.
My Father once told me, “The one who has tasted freedom shall not be dominated.”
I resonate with his words from my core. Though I hear contradictory perspectives on a daily basis, some subtle, some clever, some fundamental and others just plain forceful, I still find it within me to surpass them and reaffirm my instinct. And my instinct says, ‘Ain’t nobody will fuck with me.’
I am now comfortable with the uncertainty that the world poses and I am also comfortable with the uncertainty I feel. I was informed about it through my elders and it doesn’t shock me. To be a Millenial is a very exciting journey, my mistakes are unique and worth writing about. I am not sure if this is the best time I could have lived in, but I do know for certain that it is not a bad time at all.