As someone who was born in 1985, grew up in the 90’s, lived through the invention of the internet, had to obtain CD’s with AOL minutes to be able to get on the internet while taking up the phone line and waiting minutes to connect and then for pages to load – I have found myself in a position of a combination of denial and shock over the fact that I, technically, fall into the category of ‘Millennial’.
As a term that was coined (once I had already gone to college) to categorize the younger ‘generation’, never once had I identified as one. Never had it crossed my mind that I, too, would someday be lumped into the category of the term we used to talk about the young, inexperienced, impressionable youth. I had simply refused to accept that label my whole adult life. Well, you can imagine my shock – when only through the whole Gen Z/Millennial debate (which I think I’m behind on…because of well…island life) I finally received confirmation that I am, in fact, a side parting/skinny jeans wearing…Millennial! As if navigating a world wide pandemic wasn’t stressful and confusing enough!
I’m sure some of my fellow 80s ladies reading this have already come to this realization, and maybe even processed and accepted this whole concept. Proud of you! But alas, I know that I cannot be alone. We non-Millennial-Millennials have got to stick together as we cope with this life-altering information. We dealt with the complications in the lives of our beloved Dawson’s Creek and Party of 5 characters, we can get through anything together!
So take a minute, let it soak in. You (if you were born from 1981-96) are too, a Millennial. Forget about what/who you’ve considered a Millennial your whole life, and soak it in. You are a side part wearing, 🙂 using, skinny leg jean wearing – Millennial. As it’s a lot to take in, I want to share with you what to expect as you transition into the acceptance of this new found Millennial lifestyle.
The phases of accepting that you too, are a Millennial, have revealed themselves to me as follows:
Denial – For me, the phase was a long one…years! Once in a while, I’d listen to the other side’s argument as to why I am considered a Millennial. Ultimately, I would come back to the position of denying the fact that I could possibly be a Millennial.
Finding Common Ground with Millennials – In recent years, I began to find that I had a thing or two in common with the young ‘naïve’ Millennials I would encounter. They started sporadically, and then before I knew it, were happening more and more.
Justifying/Bargaining – Becoming friends with or working well with Millennials certainly isn’t because I am one. What a gift it is to be able to work well with and become friends with other “generations”.
Learning (and using) the term “Okay Boomer” – Looking back, I now know that this stage was definitely a Millennial acceptance tipping point.
Finding out how your Gen Z relatives identify Millennials – This is the most eye opening-smack ya in the face stage of Millennialism. Turns out, the clear descriptors they come up with, describe me and my fellow Millennial denying Millennials…to the tee. Yes, we part our hair on the side, yes, we wear skinny jeans, yes…we love emojis and use the crying laughing face all the time. In fact, there was a song invited by our generation called “LOL Smiley Face” in 2009. We, like every generation before us, have a distinctive style and appearance.
Confusion – This is a lot of information to take in. I do all of those things they are saying about Millennials! Could I possibly be…a Millennial?
Anger – So what if you wear your hair parted on the side? What if you want to wear it in a side part? Are the Gen Zers going to think you are one of those old Millennials trying to relieve their younger days? Who do these Gen Zers even think they are?
IDGAF/Acceptance – Then… you take a breath, have a little chuckle, remember every single generation has its differences and disagreements. Remember that you were once in your low rise, wide leg pants laughing with your friends about what your parents and their generation were wearing and saying. Then eat your delicious avocado toast, pull on your skinny leg jeans or leggings, throw your salty hair to the side (or the middle…do whatever you want) and go about your smiley face emoji sending day.
Keep rocking on, you wonderful island ladies!