"I'm talking about my generation
Talking about that newer nation
And if you don't like it
You can beat it
(Beat it, baby)"
Brooklyn Baby, by Lana Del Rey
One wonders if inter-generational warfare is as old as time itself? It seems like every day there is a new article, argument or opinion espoused regarding Millennials, the generation of human being who have been categorized as being born between 1977 and 1994. I'd always thought that was Generation Y, though perhaps it's been renamed? Regardless, it would seem to be the whipping boy in the latest battle of the generations.
Millennials are often described as lazy, entitled, coddled, and I'm sure "whiners" has probably made its way into the critique at some point. Much of this has been done without a whiff of irony, though I can remember the same criticisms being labeled at folks from my generation (X) a scant two decades ago. Now (again, with no irony whatsoever), the Generation Xers are leveling those same complaints against those currently finishing high school, or who are either in or graduating from college, attempting to enter the workforce.
Heck, I see kids (those younger than Millennials) being criticized from my generation, as well.
I am here to say, as someone who grew up in that Mesozoic era of the '70s, '80s and '90s, we weren't exactly model citizens, ourselves. We complain about how kids don't go outside and play these days, except that it is us, as parents, who prevent them from doing so, often citing societal dangers. And, lest we forget, we were quite frequently zombified in front of our TVs, playing video games or watching HBO.
We complain about all of the days off that kids get from school, but I remember the frequent time-off we had growing up. And we were happy to have it. We drove dangerously. We bullied (and were bullied) fairly mercilessly. We weren't above talking dirty and looking at the odd Playboy (or worse) that our dads may have left around the house. Our pop stars made splashy music videos, sung about love and sex, and we gobbled it up right and left.
Some of us went on to college. Others did not. Of those who went to college, some finished, others (like myself) did not. A lot of us weren't honor students. We stressed-out our parents. We probably acted like entitled brats during some of our early jobs. We didn't understand how the world worked. We f**ked up from time to time (some more or less than others).
And yet, here we (most of us) are. We're trudging through life, doing our best. And that's what millennials are doing, too, if we just give them the chance. Well, most of them, anyway. I'm not sure what our parents were like growing up. I've heard stories of walking to school in 3' high snow, but no doubt they were perfect angels. I know it's easy to fall into the superiority trap when discussing generations, but I'm hear to say, as someone who was there: Ease up on the Millennials. We weren't much better.