We’re young; we’re wild, and we’re free. We have our whole lives ahead of us and the world is at our feet, but there is something missing in the lives of Millennials today.
It’s spelled R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Not necessarily for each other, but from the older generations.
If you ask any hardworking Baby Boomer or member of Generation X what he or she thinks of Millennials, you'll probably get an answer somewhere along the lines of "lazy, self-entitled egomaniacs who aren’t capable of much beyond updating their Facebook pages." Ouch.
Before you start cursing out the “old people,” let’s take a second to think about how we could have earned such a horrible reputation:
1. We’re unaware of worldly affairs and don't make an effort to understand them.
I’ll be the first to admit it: In a world of nonstop news and endless updates, trying to stay in-the-know isn’t always easy.
I mean, how could you possibly know what’s happening during all hours of the day? It’s a valid point, but guess what? There’s this thing called the news. You may have heard of it before.
It’s the show your parents put on every night, and it, sometimes, interrupts your reality TV binge-watching when the president needs to talk.
It’s been around for a while and was created solely to ensure people like you and me are able to form a better understanding of the world we live in and how it affects our daily lives.
What’s even better, with the incredible advancements of the last century, the news is available to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week on any one of the many devices conveniently glued to our sides.
Bottom line: The one and only reason we aren’t aware is because we aren’t trying.
Maybe, if we took two seconds to stop checking our Instagram feeds and, instead, check out ABC News, we’d realize there are some pretty important things happening out there that deserve our attention.
So, next time you’re tempted to spend your free time stalking the girl who just liked your boy’s new profile picture, do yourself a favor and find out what’s happening in other parts of the world. You’ll thank me later.
2. We don’t respect our past.
Okay, so not reading daily headlines is one thing, but being ignorant of our nation’s history is a whole other issue.
Whether we’re aware of it or not, we owe something to the people and events that have shaped this country. The least we could do is offer a little recognition.
As a history buff, I may be a little biased, but there’s no denying many of us don't respect the significance of our ancestors and the experiences they had to go through for us to be where we are today.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this selfie a teenage girl posted on Twitter, taken from the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
Yeah, you read that right. The girl was in Auschwitz — as in, the place where nearly a million innocent Jews perished in the horrifying warfare of World War II — and the first thing she decided to do was take a picture of herself to share with her followers.
Although I have been one to defend the selfie, there is absolutely no excuse for the blatant disrespect and idiocy of this person.
I have no doubt this teen had no intention of offending the millions of people who were personally affected by the Holocaust, but she did and there’s not much she can do to take it back.
These types of actions can easily be avoided by simply taking the time to understand our past, the heroes who shaped it and the sacrifices that were made.
We can start by recognizing days like MLK Day, Veterans Day and 9/11 as more than just days off of school or work; they mean something to me, to you and to every person in this country.
3. We misuse social media.
As a daily user and social media intern, I’ve seen an aerial view of social media for the past few years and have a pretty good idea of what it can do.
From raising thousands of dollars for worthy causes to completely destroying professional reputations, there are few things that can match the power of the post.
As the generation that grew up with these platforms and quickly became the most active users, it’s easy to think we know all there is to know.
The problem is, just because we know how to use social media, doesn't mean we use it correctly.
Sure, we have a pretty good idea of which Instagram filters are the most flattering and how many favorites we got on our last tweet, but it’s safe to say we don't look much past our own impressions. We don't like to think about is who is capable of seeing these impressions.
Yeah, I know; you’ve heard it all before: hide the liquor bottles, cover the cleavage and watch the f-bombs. But, if we took a moment to think about it, we’d realize the drunken bikini pic wasn’t worth losing the internship of our dreams.
We’ve heard the stories; we’ve seen the disasters, and we know the consequences. A little more common sense and a little less attention-seeking is all it will take to improve our online personas.
4. We don't know how to speak properly.
Speaking of social media, the number of grammar mistakes in the average young person’s Twitter feed brings me right to my next point: There’s nothing more concerning than seeing a grown adult misspell the word “genius” as “genious,” or confuse the word “hypocrites” with “Hippocrates.”
Though I firmly believe most of us are far more intelligent than the people who make these mistakes, we can’t deny we purposely misspell words on a daily basis. Whether it’s the "adorbs" jacket we just bought, or our new "bae," we love Millennial language.
But, why do we do it? No one really knows, but there’s no doubt older generations aren’t getting it.
I’m not saying we should completely avoid Urban Dictionary (it’s far too entertaining for that), but it wouldn't hurt to become a little more aware of where and when we use it.
It’s perfectly fine to "lolz" at your friend’s text, but when it’s time to interact with your current or future boss, proper English is the only option. Period.
5. We’re lazy.
If I had to narrow down this entire list to one reason, this would be it. Though the amount of laziness each of us possesses greatly varies and has a lot to do with how we were raised, there’s no doubt our generation as a whole has earned this reputation.
Our lives are made easier and more convenient with every new invention, and we’d be stupid if we didn't take advantage of the opportunities.
The problem is people who always take the easy way out quickly lose sight of something called hard work.
You know, waking up, showing up and putting in a full day without whining about how long we’ve been there, or what we could be doing instead.
Think about it: We bitch and moan about 8 am classes that last an hour and are most likely followed by an immediate snooze fest, while working America puts in another eight hours before they can even think about returning to their beds.
This is real life -- the thing we are all headed for when the blissful years of college sadly come to an end.
It won't be easy, but if we take the time to meet new people, explore new opportunities and discover what we are truly passionate about, it sure as hell will be worth it.
So, we’re not perfect. There are things we do that our parents will never understand, but isn’t that the beauty of it?
With each passing generation, there are new ideas being generated that have the potential to change life as we know it. With a little kick in the pants and a strong dose of reality, we’re more than capable of proving ourselves to the critics.
We are more than a bunch of self-entitled narcissists. We are Millennials.