Hating on the younger generation is a past time that is handed down year after year. I get it, sometimes I hate change too. But a lot of the things that Millenials get blamed for – being lazy, or naive – is flat out wrong. When I look at the people around me, I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this generation.
Earlier this week, I made a trip to the downtown area a city over and I realized something. What I remembered as a kid to be a crumbling facade of days past has become vibrant again. There are young people revitalizing business and doing it in a way that also brings social justice. The vegan donut shop for example, with pamphlets on animal rights and a 10% discount if you bring your own container (it must be reusable!) to help prevent waste. Or a local gift shop, where local crafters and artisans can display their work, so people like me can buy quality, handmade goods that support the local economy instead of some huge coorporation in another country. There’s even a new performing arts centre and a farmers market. Ten years ago I felt uneasy driving down this street and now I look forward to bringing my son there on date days.
I see these people, making livings off of what they love and doing good while doing it, and I am proud. Yeah you’re right, we killed the napkin business because not only is it environmentally irresponsible to buy a product that’s sole purpose is to be thrown out, but it also leaves us with a few extra dollars to buy food that’s actually made from food. No, we don’t want words we can’t pronounce in our food that we feed our children. I’m not talking about the scientific names – that’s not my issue. My issue is not being able to pick up a can of tomato sauce made of only tomatoes and seasonings without it costing 10 bucks.
And then I see the kids we’re raising, and I think screw millennials, let’s just hand the reigns over to our kids. This week, my son corrected me for calling him pretty – not because he’s a boy (which would have been the complaint 20 years ago) but because it doesn’t matter what people look like, it matters who they are. Slow clap anyone? I remember riding our bike past the fire station over a year ago, and stumbling for the word for a female fireman and my son, without skipping a beat, correcting me “Firefighter, Mom.” The “duh” was implied. Or the time my sister was explaining Victorian courting couches to me and my son interrupted (who knew he was listening?) and reminded her that it could also be a boy and a boy, or a girl and a girl; not only boys and girls. We didn’t delve into the history on that one; it was just so awesome to see a 3 year old schooling the grown ups on equality.
Because I think if we all look back to our own childhoods, we can remember a time before societal norms. I remember being furious at my parents for saying “gay” was a bad word. (For the record, my mom doesn’t remember this and will hate me for saying this. She’s a loving, awesome lady who loves anyone as they are.) In the same week, my 3rd grade teacher feigned ignorance and said it just meant “happy” when another kid said gay in school and was tattled on (thanks Step by Step, you kept us woke). It was North Carolina in the 90s, sure. But I hope that my kid will never experience the inner termoil of wondering why it’s wrong to love someone.
So no, we don’t buy napkins or cereal. We prefer to make eggs or a smoothie, and prefer reusable over disposable. Yes, we spent a good part of our twenties getting a good education, and yes we’ll likely be spending the rest of our lives paying it off. No, many of us won’t be taking the plunge into home ownership any time soon. We’re broke AF, despite working our asses off. But yes, we’re going to speak out when we see injustice. And you’re damn right we’re proud of it.