It's no secret that there's a division within the Millennial generation: The older end of the spectrum tends to identify more strongly with Gen X, and the younger end of the spectrum — well, who knows what we're doing most of the time. And while, yes, younger Millennials have built a reputation on Being Dismissive, there are still a ton of things that younger Millennials admire about older Millennials. Seriously. I'm not being sarcastic. It's true. This is genuine. I'm smiling because I'm being genuine, not because I'm goofing on you. Yes, really.
The Millennial generation, defined as those between the ages of 18 and 34 in 2015, has been a bit, um, controversial, particularly in the United States. Countless think pieces (seriously, though, I'd love to get a ballpark number on how many) have been penned about us — how we're ruining the world, how we're saving the world, how we're the worst generation to ever exist, how if we do suck, it's because of the Baby Boomers — to the point where honestly I'm tired of even writing the word "Millennial."
But despite my own personal exhaustion, Millennials are still a hot button topic. So we continue to write about... us. For a little while, though, I want to write about you, the older Millennials. You've seen the world completely change over a few short decades, much more so than those of us born solidly in the '90s. Here are the things I, as a younger Millennial, admire about you.
1. You Consciously Braved Y2K
People don't really talk about it anymore, but on the eve of the new millennium, everybody was kind of freaked out. There were rumors that computers wouldn't understand the '00 abbreviation for 2000, thus causing everything to shut down, throwing us all into a powerless abyss. I was only 7 at the time, so I missed the big panic about the whole thing; however, I do remember the adults at the annual NYE party gathering all the kids together to watch the ball drop in case something awful happened. To have gone through that as an actual human must have been... terrifying.
2. You Witnessed The Rise Of The Internet
I was 2 years old when the internet officially entered public consciousness. I don't really remember a time without it. You were there for that moment when ~the world turned upside down~ (that's a little Hamilton humor, but it's also true — the course of the world shifted and you saw it).
3. You Weren't Really Born As Digital Natives — But You Might As Well Have Been
Most of you are better at making technology comply with your requests than I am — and you guys had beepers in high school. That's really saying something.
4. You're Sartorial Chameleons
You made it through grunge, and whatever the awfulness of the early 2000s was, and the grunge revival, and whatever you would call right now. Well played.
5. You Helped Elect The United States' First Black President
Those of us at the younger end of the spectrum couldn't vote yet during the 2008 election. You helped make history in an incredibly important way.
6. You Weathered The Worst Of The Economic Downturn
You graduated when it was at its lowest point, and you're doing OK. More than OK. You're killin' the game, despite the fact that between the years of 2008 and 2013 the unemployment rate for new grads rose to over nine percent. You're making Being An Adult seem possible and not too scary.
7. You Don't Hold Getting Lumped In With Criticism About Younger Millennials Against Us
So far, you don't seem to resent us... or at least, not that much.
Images: CBS; Giphy (6)