Anyone close to me is pretty aware of the proud patch I wear. I’m a 90s kid. To my core. I’ve mentioned how it’s shaped me and those around me and I can see how it affected those in the same age group as I.
Society labels me as a “Millennial” which is basically anyone born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. When I mentioned this to a close friend, he quickly said “Nope. We’re 90s kids, not millennials.” (you can find his work here, check it out. It’s good stuff.) I wanted to disagree with him. The time period fits. We’re technically millennials. As much as I didn’t want to admit it.
Here’s why. A millennial to me is the whiny histper of modern time. The ironic wearer of multiple hats, who sits at Starbucks writing imaginary novels, making references that he himself can’t place. That is a millennial to me. Simultaneously, the image of the generation AFTER mine comes to immediate thought. I have a younger cousin 12 years younger than me. I consider him more a millennial than I consider myself to be one.
And I think I found the reason. 90s kids, we got the best of both worlds. We were able to truly benefit from technology. We were given immense resources to grow, learn and study. The Internet was a powerful tool of discovery. Not a means to shop or play games. But we still had the ability and skill to find materials and research the “old-fashion way” by reading and looking for texts. Not being afraid of an Oxford English Dictionary or an Encyclopedia Britannica. We still played outside, for the days at least that weren’t O-Zone days and were you allowed to play outside. We respected our parents. We looked into the face of the Infinite Universe and saw ourselves. We became humbled by the enormity of existence, we weren’t self-centered, but we knew ourselves. We valued education. We took care of our things, we valued and appreciated what we were given. And first and for mostly, we were shaped by national and global tragedies. Collectively, our rose-colored glasses were shattered and we saw the world for what it was. Amazing, awesome but fearful. We had to be savvy. This embodied in us marked determination, self-preservation, a value and high importance of the self and self-awareness not to mention a near insatiable hunger to always know more.
Why did this happen? Who was it? What can I do to make sure this never happens again?
We served our communities, we grew. And I believe, we’re better and smarter people for it. Not to mention we had some of the best television in the world.
My younger cousin? I’m sure he’ll continue to rely on the University of Google. When he asked me to translate something into Latin for him (He asked because I had taken Latin for 10 years in school) I immediately went to my textbook, which I had kept in perfect condition since my schooling days and declined my verbs and cross checked my vocabulary. I didn’t go to Google Translate first and only did to make sure my grammar was right. (My grammar in Latin had always been a bit off) . And I’m glad he had the wherewithal to ask me before going to Google. It was really flattering.
But my little cousin’s generation…all they’ll know is the Internet as a means for funny cat videos and the quick and easy answers to life’s questions. I wish he’d read. I wish he’d appreciate some of the electronics he has. I couldn’t well fathom at his age some of the technology he holds in his hands and uses to play games with. What I would have used that technology for. Who knows. Books. Many books. Learning. Opening up my imagination to the potential of the entire cosmos. All with a computer.
Myself personally? I’m not as left-leaning as many millennials, I’m actually rather conservative at times in my governmental policy, though still left-leaning. I’m religious, not highly, but I am religious. And I lack the certain arrogant egocentric mindset that the universe revolves around everyone born from 1980-2000. I look Eternity in the face and am humbled. I bask in vast nothingness and find peace.
I’ll label myself a millennial when it’s needed. I rather dislike the title personally. Call me a 90s kid, I’ll absolutely agree to that. In the end, we’re all a generation that’s totally different from the one before ours. And the one after us? Goodness. I can only imagine what the world has in store for them.