There are many broad generalizations that are now widely accepted about Millennials: They're lazy. They're entitled. They're flaky. They ALL fit these descriptions. But the truth is — beyond the fact that stereotypes are almost always inaccurate, of course — that there are several microgenerations within the Millennial bracket, and as a result, there are certain pieces of advice older Millennials have for younger Millennials. Because while we may not all fit the same descriptors, we are all in this together — we should have each other's backs. And since we older Millennials have been around a bit longer, it's only natural we think of our fresh-faced Millennial cohorts as little siblings who might benefit from a few pearls of wisdom from their big bros and sisters.
Given that Millennials are one of the largest generations in history, spanning one of the largest generational chunks of time (born between 1980 and 2000), it should come as no surprise that we aren't all carbon copies of one another. Millennials are, in fact, the most diverse generation so far. We come from all walks of life and represent many different experiences. Older Millennials had Backstreet Boys posters on our walls; younger Millennials plastered theirs with Justin Bieber. We spent our spare time connecting to dial-up and a/s/l'ing in Yahoo chatrooms; they're constantly 'gramming and snapbacking and, to be honest, we're still trying to figure out what else. This doesn't make either of us better or worse than the other; it just makes us different. Besides, generational categorizations exist largely because marketers like to have profiles to market their overly priced products to.
So in the spirit of the Older Millennial big sister, here are a few nuggets of advice our microgeneration has picked up along the way and would like to pass on to our younger Millennial peers.
1. Don't Phase Out Verbal Language In Favor Of Emoji
I can't understand half the convos I'm having these days, and I have to wonder if anyone really knows what they're saying when they send a string of emoji that includes praise hands, a kissy face, a dancing lady, and an eggplant — the latter of which I've been using wrong since, well, forever. (Sorry, mom!) There's something to be said for actual words, too, and being able to articulate your thoughts clearly will always serve you well.
2. Feed Your Gosh Darn Tamagotchi
Learn from our mistakes, kid. I see Tamagotchi in the stores again, and I get the familiar tingle of nostalgia for my '90s kid days. Then I remember all the Tamagotchis I accidentally starved back in the day, may they RIP. Do better by them, my friends. Do better. Even if you're doing better with Neopets or whatever instead of actual Tamagotchis.
3. Stay Hopeful About The Future
People seem to harp on younger Millennials' optimism like its a bad thing, and it's probably because those naysayers are totally jaded. I should know; we can smell our own. Vote for Bernie Sanders, if you want. Believe in a better future. This older Millennial loves that your glass is still half full. I drained my half empty glass in the early '00s.
4. Take A Selfie In Your Sweatpants Once In Awhile
I say this with the utmost affection, you guys: I like your pretty Insta pics; I do. But how about throw something in there every now and then that reminds me you're just as much of a hot mess as the rest of us, eh?
5. Never Expect Things To Be Handed To You
Here's a stereotype all Millennials are undoubtedly tired of hearing — that we suffer from trophy-kid syndrome and are totally entitled. Older Millennials are especially irked by this, because most of us have been working since we were 15. So let's prove everyone wrong by working harder and smarter.
6. Buy Yourself Some Milky Pens
Just trust us on this. If you don't already have a stash of Milky Pens in your desk drawer, get thee to an office supply store and stock up on whatever today's equivalent is. There's just something about the smooth flow of iridescent ink that makes everything seem right with the world.
7. Don't Make Fun Of The Technologically Challenged — One Day You Might Be One
As tempting as it may be to make fun of those of us who are not as digitally native as you are, just remember that what goes around comes around. In 20 years, the next generation will have some new-fangled technology that'll make you feel like a dinosaur, too.
8. Do Things On Your Own Timeline
Listen, I admire the way you challenge convention. People may scoff when you sell off your possessions to purchase a tiny home, but you'll be laughing your way to, well, anywhere you want to go while the rest of us are married to a mortgage. Don't let other people dictate when you're ready to meet milestones; heck, you don't have to meet any milestones if you don't want to.
9. Having Said That, Have A Plan
One day, you might get tired of cooking Top Ramen on your tiny stove three feet from your bathroom (or maybe not). But if that day does come, you probably want to have some sort of plan for the future. Sadly, we can't all bank on becoming YouTube famous or striking it rich with a dot-com.
10. Look Up
Spend more time looking at people's faces than at a blue screen. Don't feel bad; we're all guilty of being a bit indulgent with our technology these days. But don't forget the importance of honest to god, IRL communication. People want to see that gorgeous smile of yours outside of a selfie sometimes!