I think millennials get a bad rap these days. I hear people saying that millennials are spoiled, lazy and entitled. Perhaps it can appear that way. However, let’s take a deeper look.
A ‘millennial’ is described as someone born between 1982 and 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is estimated that there are over 83 million millennials in the U.S.
Millennials are very tech savvy. It seems that they were born with a remote control in their hands. In the time of my youth, if I wanted to watch TV, I had to make the arduous trip from my comfy spot on the sofa all the way across the room to the TV set. Phew! Times were tough! Let me repeat. I actually had to exert myself off the sofa and actually walk across the giant expanse of the room in order to change the channel, and adjust the antennae for better reception. We had a selection of about 5 channels on the dial to choose from.
Today, I have to think twice before I approach the TV. I must confess that I still can’t figure out how to operate the THREE remote controls resting beside me. It is so stressful. If I want to turn on the TV, then switch the programming, I break into a cold sweat. And then after my panic attack dies down, I call one of my millennial offspring to talk me off the ledge.
I had to FaceTime with my son the other day so he could talk me through the technical procedure to use the headphones with the TV. He calmed me down and we overcame that stressful experience together.
But, that is alright. There is an upside to this way of living. It has become our new way of bonding.
It seems to me that not too long ago, in order to communicate with another human being, we actually physically faced each other and took turns exchanging words directly from our mouths that floated in the air and magically landed directly into each other’s ears. It was a primal experience.
Millennials have morphed into beings that only seem to exchange verbal data via smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets.
If I want to communicate with my millennial children, I must resort to email, text messaging, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or whatever is the latest social media platform. I once suggested to my children that we spend our family vacation by going on a camping trip and living in nature for a few days. I was met with stares and laughter on our video chat. One of their responses sums it all up. “Do you even know who we are?!” They can't even imagine a world without the internet or cell phones.
It has gotten so bad that if I want to talk to my son, I call him on his cellphone. Otherwise, he wouldn’t know it is me. Never mind the fact that he is in the next room.
On the bright side, millennials are role models for carving out a different way of life these days. They are living their values into their choices of lifestyle and employment practices - and it shows. I think we can learn a thing or two from them.
Millennials value freedom of expression over the drudgery of working in jobs that are unsatisfactory. They are willing to trade a higher salary for a lower one because of the benefits of a flexible schedule or to fit in with their priorities of a more balanced work/play/family lifestyle. “People over profits” is their battle cry into the future. Their work must be interesting, meaningful and challenging – but not too challenging or they will quit.
They are ambitious, achievement oriented, and dare I say, entitled. They are not afraid to question authority, have less tolerance for working through frustrating situations and more likely to quit. They have less hesitancy to move from one job to another in shorter spans of time than in the boomer generation. This could be why they appear to be flaky and non-committed.
Looking at their choices from another perspective, one can also say that they are fearless and have a more prosperous consciousness. There are no limits in the mindset of a millennial like there were in previous generations.
Today, there are more successful entrepreneurs among the millennials than in earlier generations. Twenty-somethings are running their own companies and making huge profits at a rapid rate. Instead of rotting away at a job, suffering in a victim consciousness while waiting for retirement, they simply quit and create a new app or get funding for a new start-up. I love it!
They are here to lead the charge into a better world. And they are doing it at such a fast pace that I have to hold on to my earbuds just to keep up!
They are leading the way as we embrace new technology, new cultural values, new ways of doing business, and new ways of expanding our possibilities of living in a world that is more focused on ‘we’ instead of ‘I’.
The other day, while my son and I were on our smartphones (he was in his room while I was in the kitchen - naturally), I made a reference to “Woodstock”* in our conversation. “What’s Woodstock?” he asked. My immediate internal response was, “What?! How could you not know about Woodstock?!” I could hardly believe my digital ears.
Maybe we had a weak connection. So, I checked my phone. It had 5 bars.
I deduced that he simply did not know about the most famous ‘coming of age’ event of my generation. I was shocked at first. Then I remembered that he is a millennial. Of course, he doesn’t know about anything in history that occurred before wireless devices were commonly in use.
But, times change so fast, faster, in fact, than at any other time in recorded history. If I asked him, I bet that he wouldn’t know what to do with a rotary dial phone, or a landline, or record player or a cassette player, or even a floppy disk for that matter. So, why should I be shocked?
In fact, I now realize how he feels. Every once in a while, I meet someone who actually does not use email. Email! Can you believe it?! And I find myself thinking, “How can anyone survive these days without a computer or phone without apps?? How does someone communicate without texting?! It is impossible! Outrageous!”
Recently a very kind person who lives a very simple life (like we did in the 1970s) gave me a gift. It was original music composed on a flat round shiny disc.
I looked at her with curiosity. “What’s this?” I asked.
“It’s a CD.”
Then a funny thing happened that triggered my own millennial moment.
“Oh. What’s a CD?”
We all have an inner millennial mindset that can inspire us to blaze new trails, open new possibilities, or ‘think outside the ‘box’ for the purpose of climbing greater heights on our spiritual path of transformation. However, if we don’t use our ‘inner millennial’ for a spiritual purpose, it can lead us down a slippery slope of entitlement, laziness and selfishness.
The kabbalists say, “In the way that a person wants to go, he will be led.” We create our personal and collective reality according to our desires. If we don’t proactively inject conscious intention into every aspect of our lives, we are subject to the same robotic, negative, limited prison of living.
The universe is set up with only 2 ‘spiritual radio stations’ that influence us.
‘Radio Chaos’ broadcasts a constant fear, negative program that is broadcasting nonstop to our default thought setting, aka “Me, me, me.”
‘Radio Light’ broadcasts the voice and guidance of our soul’s desire: constant love and sharing, aka “We, we, we.”
Our job is to pay attention to which station we are tuned into so that we can all be thinking, speaking and acting from the desires of our souls.
It is time for all of us to realize what the kabbalists have been teaching for millennia – our desires and intentions feed our thoughts, which trigger our emotions and manifest in our actions. Each person’s thoughts, words and actions not only affect the individual, but the whole world!
So, let’s take a lesson from the millennials and shift our consciousness from ‘me’ to ‘we.’
*Woodstock was a music festival held on a dairy farm in 1969, which attracted an audience of more than 400,000 young people. It is widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history where half-a-million kids "saw that they were part of a greater organism.”