I’ve been on the east coast traveling. Currently, I am sitting on a beach in Sea Isle, N.J. My skin is red and my ears are burnt, but hell, who doesn’t love soft sand, amazing pizza, cheap beer, salty hair and eastern attitudes?
OK, I may be bragging a bit, especially if you’re in class, but don’t be too jealous — I am in the “armpit of the country” and close to MTV’s “Jersey Shore” scene (not my favorite crowd). I’ve seen many florescent tank tops with big, bold letters reading, “I like to party,” on dudes the size of boats walking around.
It makes me feel puny, honestly.
Nonetheless, I am moseying around with my older brother and a few of his friends who are 30-plus years old. We got into a conversation about what I do and I explained that I am a millennial columnist.
“I write about us,” I said.
They scattered the conversation around the room and weren’t sure what I meant by “us.” I told them it was everyone in this room, since we were all born after 1980. Really, I was labeling them as “millennials.”
Minds blown, they were a little uneasy about the label, which surprised me. I though this generation was united on that front; I thought we were all very proud of what we stood for as a part of this up-and-coming group. More, how could they be so inclined to identify out of our generation? Did they not want to take credit for the amazing things we are going to do and have done?
Little did I know, the generation is highly divided when it comes to identifying as “millennials,” as are all other generations.
The Pew Research Center released a study in March that compiled 3,147 adult’s opinions on which generation they identified with. The study found that only 40 percent of adults aged 18 to 34 consider themselves part of the millennial generation, while another 33 percent — mostly older millennials — identify outside of the generation, considering themselves Gen Xers.
For the record, those who identified most with their generation were the baby boomers at 79 percent. The least was the silent generation (ages 70 to 87) with 18 percent.
After more conversation, some quick banter and knocking of the millennials as a whole, we concluded that Gen Y has two, possibly three, very different mindsets within it. In regards to kid’s television, it was comparing those who watched the animated “Fraggle Rock,” to those who watched “Hey, Arnold,” and those who grew up watching MTV’s “Teen Wolf” series.
These are all pretty different scenes, we agreed.
However, the statistic Pew published was shocking. It’s startling learning there are strong differences on how a generation can identify itself. At least we all share some of the same plights: college debt, rising living costs coupled with low wages — and the hardest choice of all, Siri or Cortana.
Though a lot of us mid-to-older millennials may not want to be identified alongside teeny-wolves, we all want to have the same impact in the world. Most of us cringe at the idea of Donald Trump becoming president; we enjoy this craft-brew thing happening around the country; we are all finally fed up with the Kardashians and we all enjoy a good Boulder Creek float.
Millennial or not, if someone within a generation identifies outside of it, they still share in the responsibility of the generation’s impact on the world. This means none of us are off the hook, like it or not.