Happiness, As Defined By Millennials, Doesn't Look Like It Used To

by Lindsey Lazarte

If you take a look back at the generations before us, it's easy to notice many key differences, like our views on life, how we work and how we communicate.

Many Millennials have a burning desire to chase their dreams. We take more risks, think in more abstract ways and more confidently chase happiness than generations before us did.

But, what does happiness even mean to us now?

When I look at my generation, I admire our passion, perseverance, drive and thirst for more. But, how much will it take to satisfy this thirst that never truly goes away?

We live in a time of always waiting on the next big thing. Innovations in technology, like the next model of iPhone, future food delivery systems and the latest dating apps keep us on our toes.

Information technology creates this hyper-awareness of all the hottest trends. We’re constantly bombarded with knowing everything, and if you don’t keep up, you’ll miss out.

In the time it takes for me to minimize my Twitter window, I could miss at least 30 tweets. Many online publications now continue to feed you more content as you scroll down their websites. It’s information overload.

We are always given more to know and more to think about. I’m not saying that knowledge is a negative thing, but constantly being in the know is quite overwhelming.

It’s taking a toll on younger generations’ mental health and makes me wonder: Was it easier when people knew and had less?

I’m a first-generation American. My parents came to the United States during the 1970s. They left everything they knew behind in hopes of greater opportunities, and to provide a better future for my sister and me.

It didn’t take much to make them happy. They were grateful for their good health, a loving family and a roof over their heads. That’s all they ever wanted, and it was enough for them.

Can we ever go back to having this mentality?

Humans are constantly evolving and ever-changing. Factors like culture and environment significantly impact our lifestyles.

Millennials were born with technology that influences our every decision. It provides us with unlimited resources that we rely on heavily. It’s like having an all-access pass to the entire world.

Generations before us were not as fortunate to have such resources at their literal fingertips. In this day and age, we are encouraged to do more, have more and to be more. And, this is actually the terrifying part.

We have the ability to pursue whatever we want, whether it requires a college degree or not. Millennials have created a movement in taking alternative routes outside of traditional lifestyles. We no longer want to be confined to the restraints of “the norm.”

Instead of getting a job, getting married or settling down, we are more focused on ourselves. We are redefining happiness because we aren’t taking others into consideration the way generations before us did.

We are finally going after our own wants and needs because we can. We're the ones who get to be selfish.

Does this make us happy in the long run, though? When will we ever stop wanting more? We have to acknowledge what is worth sacrificing because we'll ultimately have to decide whether or not we have gained or lost more than what sought to chase.

As Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”