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Why Is Our Generation So Negative?

The term millennials gets thrown out a lot. Everyone seems to be investigating why do millenials do the things they do. So, I asked google “why are millennials…?” to see what the internet’s biggest doubts are. Unfortunately, the questions people are asking about millenials are bombardingly negative, to the point of sounding like a concerned relative. Among the top questions were “why are millenials ‘so anxious,” “wary of freedom,” and the ultimate question, “eating tide pods.”

My generation happens to be the last of the millennials, aka those born in 1999 (I know- we’re getting old, right?). We are subject to a lot of blame, with issues around the world growing increasingly worse as we get increasingly older, from global warming to famines, wartorn countries and the prevalence of hate speech it seems like the world’s becoming a dark dystopia. There’s a lot of intergenerational blame as well, especially between “Baby Boomers” and millennials, as debate on our amount of debt and whether this is to blame upon our laziness and lack of work ethic, or insane inflation over the past fifty years. The point I’m getting to is, there are many things to worry about, and this does make my generation specifically very pessimistic, in my opinion more.

This can be seen in many aspects. Our general outlook on life, children and families has become pretty hopeless, as millenials are choosing not to have kids, which according to Glamour shows that “Their attitudes toward the prospect of becoming parents are indicative of their desire to construct their own personal paths to happiness.” I think it’s pretty hopeless when people don’t want to bring new life onto the Earth because they want to save their kids from the problems we face today by not having them at all. Either ways, everyone has their own reasoning and that’s perfectly okay, but as an analysis on our culture and outlook on family, it says something about us.

On a smaller level, I’m constantly seeing posts on social media of my friends, co-workers and people I follow complaining. This is great on one hand because social media does give us this space to express our feelings and talk about them, but I can’t help thinking that spreading so much negativity would inevitably make us feel more pessimistic. Even the concept of finstas has changed so much since they originally started. I saw a meme the other day (lol) that said something along the lines of: “Remember when finstas were all nude photos and silly videos? Now they’re all just people ranting and sudden bouts of depression.” I can’t help but think that this is a micro change that also reads into our use of social media, and also our increasing negativity.

I don’t blame my generation at all for this pessimism we feel. We are entitled to be cynical! We have massive student debt, greater than any generation before us. The U.N. has given us twelve years to save the Earth and politicians aren’t moving a muscle towards environmental policy change. Fascist-narrative leaders keep getting elected globally, and war continues to rage on. On top of this our high exposure to news, massive distrust of the government and the NSA era of surveillance would make anyone feel negative. I can only hope that this new level of “low” for our planet, and our cynicism can somehow incite a movement for change, and that as a generation we can channel our complaining towards proactiveness.

Writer, student of Visual and Critical Studies, artist in various mediums. Representing (and missing) Ecuador from Chicago. Believes in feminism, social activism and taking care of our planet.
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