The Millennial Disease

The Background

Our grandparents, also known as the silent generation born between 1928 – 1945, struggled to survive during the world wars and in their aftermath. They knew hard work and the reward was food and security.

Our parents, the Baby Boomers (potentially also Generation X), Born between 1946 – 1980 learnt how to work for what they had, often careers spanning decades in the same companies. They too knew how to work, many still in careers, and believed, in the main part, in gradual progression

Then There’s Us

The millennials, otherwise known as unicorns – basically awesome human beings (yes I am obviously massively biased), but we have one little problem – we have the millennial disease.

unsplash-logoClarke Sanders

You see we work hard, but unlike many of our parents, we don’t expect our hard work to bring long term results. Think you’re going to find us working diligently in the same career for 20years waiting patiently for the next promotion? Think again. We want results now.

But Ever Wondered Why?

We have become used to food deliveries we can order from our phones within the hour; the ability to see a person we admire wearing something and click to shop the brands they are wearing from our sofa; find instant information online without needing to use an encyclopaedia or waiting to visit a library.

Whether its a problem, a question, or hunger – we have become used to getting instant solutions.  

unsplash-logoVictoria Heath

What Are Behind The Needs?

What drives us order food online to be delivered to the door even though we are perfectly able to still shop and cook? What drives use to purchase more clothes even though we have a wardrobe of items that fit us, aren’t worn out and are perfectly functional?

This isn’t a blog about minimalism, home cooking or growing our vegetables in the garden (though is fun and if you do fancy trying it out click here). But, it is about looking subjectively at how we are influenced to believe we need to satisfy our needs the moment they rise into our consciousness, why we have those needs and whether they actually have a positive impact on our wellbeing.

We are the generation who grew up pre-24hr reality TV, internet and social media, but we matured and became independent as these mediums began to really take hold.

The positive is that we were able to aspire to far more than past generations by seeing into others’ lives and being able to access information, platforms and products practically immediately. The negative, is that sometimes seeing the filtered way in which others have decided to live their lives (without knowing anything of what was scarified to achieve it) can create a void between reality and possibility – resulting in at best dissatisfaction with our reality, at worse debt or even suicide.

unsplash-logoKev Costello

Reality Check

No, I am not exaggerating. I was speaking to an elderly gentleman in a small town in Italy I moved to a few years ago. He recounted with sadness, touching almost desperation, at how his home town in the nearby mountains had one of the highest rates of suicide among millennials. Their world in the mountains, surrounded by nature, animals and their Nonna’s home cooking was so far away from the magical beaches of Thailand, the sunsets of California or the buzz on London they were exposed to on their TVs, iPhones & computers – that they didn’t feel what they had was anything of substance, and couldn’t see a way to achieve these other amazing lives.

unsplash-logoFabio Santaniello Bruun

This is an extreme example, but none the less, I am sure you will find it as shocking as I did. Especially from an ex-city worker who had moved to this nearby village to find the solace I felt I had lost working in London.

It’s no longer keeping up with the jones on your street[1] – its gone global. Our human nature of looking at others to assess our own happiness and position has been around for years, only now we don’t compare ourselves with those who have the same postcode – its gone global. With the advent of social media, we now have many other possible ways of living, that we are exposed to on a daily basis at home, in the office, on our commute, even in bed.

So The Millennial Disease?

The mixture of voyeurism, immediate gratification, and need to show only the most curated parts of our lives to the world, mean we not only are influenced by, but also contribute to this perfected social ‘reality’. As a result we become so focused on external appearances that we practically stop listening to our inner voice, what we enjoy, we cant differentiate the clamour of Social Media from our inner needs.

And when we decide to make a change so often it is start by deciding what we need, by comparing ourselves to others – and what we want to be perceived as being.

We have become orphans – isolated from our true nature with our consistent focus on everything and everyone else accept ourselves.

And perhaps this is the greatest tragedy – that we may end up striving and achieving a life that will never have any hope in fulfilling us, just because it looked better than what we had in a particular moment in time. We don’t stop to think that perhaps, what we have might look better for that other person, the other side of the world from us.

For us to cure ourselves we either need to be able to objectively look at social media as a tool to inspire activity or be able to objectively respect others journeys, as just that – their journeys.

We need to start from within and really consider, away from the melee of influence, what we need and then change our reality accordingly.

unsplash-logoArtem Beliaikin

[1] Interestingly enough the whole concept of ‘the Joneses’ was created in 1913 in a carton that typified the struggle of a family living next to another more privileged.

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