"Words without poetry lack passion; words without passion lack persuasion; words without persuasion lack power."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Millennials: My voice in the midst of the sea

I recently requested that people submit subjects they would like me to blog about, and the following subject is one of the requests:

"Id love to hear your take on the growing movement among 20-somethings to ignore the traditional 'American dream' for one more minimalist, as well as, much more spiritual in life's approach."


I am a "Millennial." 

Millennials are defined as people who were born in the 1980's and 1990's who's behavior seems to contrast that of previous generations, according to several surveys.

We are: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change. We are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults. We're less religious, less likely to have served in the military, and are on track to become the most educated generation in American history according to the Pew Research Center.

 Just as this definition seems to glorify my generation for our characterization, in many ways these perceived positive characteristics may also account for the severe amount of negative backlash we lavish on the world as well. The description is a double edged sword.

The way I would define my generation would be: uninspired, demotivated, unwilling to settle for the status quo, as well as being full of potential, humanistic and brilliant. 

I think the lowered interest in the "American dream" could stem from several concepts. From a simplistic point of view, perhaps this generation is redefining what "successful" actually is. The "American dream" is/was considered to be the definition of success by the preceding generations, but maybe that is changing, maybe the framework for success is being replaced by a new structure created by Millennials. This new structure could be identified as one focused on moral concepts rather then money and business etc. On the other side of the spectrum, maybe this generation is demotivated to achieve the "American dream" because the use of technology has conditioned us to immediate gratification and in turn stunted work ethics.

Spirituality among my generation is extremely interesting. From my perspective, I see a lot of people who are very passionate about what they believe, and also many with no belief at all. I am currently writing a series on Student Belief for my college newspaper, which can be accessed on my blog page under "silly little reporter girl." During my research, I have come across some striking information which all points to the idea that my generation is less interested in religion than any past generations. This could be due to the religiously saturated environments millennials may have grown up in, or the lack thereof; the environment may cause them to stray the opposite direction simply because of our built in desire to boycott the status quo.

I know and believe that many in my generation are just not willing to settle for what is normal. Sometimes this causes a spirit of change, accomplishment, and determination, and sometimes this causes neutrality to progression.

Either which way that truth is on this subject, I have high hopes. My dream is to see this generation live up to the capabilities we have, and to not settle for anything less. There is such raw, wonderful potential within the characteristics we have been deemed with possessing.
Let's do it.

Millennial Statistics:
  • We embrace self expression 

Nearly one-in-four have a piercing in some place other than an earlobe. 75% have created a profile on a social networking site. Nearly four-in-ten have a tattoo.

  • We have decreased work ethic/ availability of jobs

37% of 18- to 29-year-olds are unemployed or out of the workforce, the highest share among this age group in more than three decades.

  • We are disinterested in religion

One-in-four are unaffiliated with any religion, far more than the share of older adults when they were ages 18 to 29.

Source: The Pew Research Center


  1. I do believe that the statistic about unemployment is not entirely based on their decreased work ethic. There's less jobs available for those graduating college, which is right in the middle of that age span.

  2. Agreed! Check out this study: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1437/millennials-profile. The article expounds on the statistics, and provides alternative reasoning that I could not get to in my blog post.


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