Stop Calling Me a Millennial & Let Me Be Myself

Hi! I am, among other things, a millennial. But I don't like it when you call me that, and I don't like it when you talk about me like I'm not sitting right here. Because I am. I'm here, I'm participating, and I can hear you. And I'm kind of over this millennial garbage, because it feels like a label everyone's slapping onto all the wrong things.


As a millennial, I like nostalgic films and gifs that communicate what I'm trying to say concisely and humorously. Like this:

You spit out "millennial" like it's an insult, but then turn around and study us like we're an intrusive alien species you kind of want to be like but mostly just hate. You watch us until you can talk about which emojis are our favorite, then make fun of us for using them so much. You ask us to show ingenuity in the workplace, but then tell us our ways of working are ruining the systems you set up. Please stop doing that. We're your peers, not your enemy.

And here's the thing: None of the names you call us stick, because we're larger and more complex than you'd like to admit. You call us entitled and self-obsessed. That's true. But by an equal measure, it's untrue. You can't assign 75 million people the same personality flaw. We get to decide how we're going to f*ck everything up, not you.

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Here's the truth about me: I will post pictures of my brunch on Instagram. My phone is almost always in arm's reach, but I'm still not going to answer it if I don't recognize your number. I'm going to ask the Internet my question before I ask you, and I pretty frequently google North West just to see what she's up to. I'm also probably running late. I'm sorry about it, but it's true.

But I've also had a job since I was 15, and I'll work a 10-hour day if you need me to. I will handwrite you a thank-you note and call you on your birthday. I have a library card! I actually have three library cards. I also have an embarrassing search history, my friend's mom's Netflix password, and my own phone bill.

Do you see where I'm going with this? The girl next to me on the train might not have three library cards, but maybe she has cable, no student debt, and a deep knowledge of 1980s punk rock. 

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It doesn't matter that sometimes you say nice things, like that we're engaged, political, and connected. I appreciate that, but you're still applying traits to a huge number of people and, by default, assuming they're true. It's impossible for that to be so.

In an effort to define us, you've just ended up pigeon-holing us. Then you turn around and judge us for the qualities you've assigned us. When we try to tell you this, you tell us our whining makes us sound like millennials. It's frustrating when you do that. Can't you see why?

I think you should try to stop treating us like millennials and start treating us like functional, modern adults. Some of us will fail you. Some of us will fall into stereotypes. But others of us? Others of us won't.

Don't tell us who we are. If you haven't heard, millennials are self-aware, self-expressive, and perfectly capable of posting about ourselves on Facebook. We're going to tell you who we are, not the other way around.


Image via Africa Studio/Shutterstock

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