I saw the latest Time’s edition in a local taco joint recently. The title caught my eye and I decided I must read it. The new edition was headed “The Me Me Me Generation” by Joel Stein, and the blurb with it stated “Millennials are lazy entitled narcissists who still live with their parents; Why they’ll save us all”. I didn’t have time to sit and read it, as my ride home was waiting for me, so I used my handy dandy smart phone to take pictures of each page and read it from home. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I don’t think I expected to read such demeaning, degrading words projected toward one of the largest generations of this world.
I understand that our new generations are one hundred percent different from the Generation X and older. Even though we have taken certain fashion styles and party ways from our leaders and enhanced them to meet up to our standards, we do definitely have different attitudes, ways of communicating, work ethics, learning, living and more. This Time’s article was able to portray how an elder might see us in their eyes, but I would like to point out, as usual with the elder generations, it is very narrow and close minded.
The word Narcissism was created based on Narcissus in the 1950’s who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. So the guy fell in love with himself? Loving yourself is called self-confidence not narcissism. I’m more than positive that loving ourselves is exactly what our parents have taught us to do. They taught us that sticks and stones may break our bones but words can never hurt us and to find the beauty in everything that we are. So what have we done wrong here? The millennial generation has done nothing but follow their elders and respect their wisdom. However, if you haven’t noticed everything in life has taken gigantic leaps in progression, advancement and exponential growth. With these changes many of us have realized that the elders ways were great, but with all of this new knowledge and technology, we should be enhancing everything we have learned and are learning to fit the new pace of the world. Has anyone ever thought about how quickly this knowledge and technology has come about? Maybe our generations are having a difficult time learning how to fit it all into life with a balance, maybe they need some direction rather than all of these degrading words, name calling and bastardized projections.
We have never been against the older generations, we just happen/happened to be children where it’s in our nature to rebel, ask questions and challenge the rules. Yes, the younger generations are younger and with being young usually comes a little bit of self-centeredness, a little bit of selfishness, a little bit of the ‘know it all’ syndrome. Tis the process of childhood, learning, growing and maturing and yes, you as adults did go through this stage of life at one point. This is where the parents and teachers come in. This is your duty to raise these children to reach their fullest potential while helping them to understand the ways of life. Why did you get so flustered? Why did you lose hope? Why are you blaming us for the way we turned out? Were you scared because you don’t really understand how to handle the situation of exponential growth? Are you confused and intimidated by the great advancements with technology? Maybe. Probably. Don’t you think we are just as confused and overwhelmed? At least we are embracing this knowledge and technological advancement and mind boggling exponential growth. At least we are trying.
I might not speak for everyone of my generation but I know I speak for many when I say that we are extremely intelligent beings who were brought up in an age when the exponential growth of our cultures, our studies, our technologies, our world was just beginning. Our parents being the ones that had to brace themselves and try to keep up. Chances are they struggled and still are struggling to keep up, to understand, to make sense of it all. But they did and are doing the best that they can.
I think back on my childhood and remember my mother being around a lot more when I was younger helping with my school work and getting me to all of my sports practices and games. But with an alcoholic father who was not bringing in much money for the family and the influx of prices of, well, everything, she was forced to work even more than the norm while still trying to maintain raising two children. With that came a lack of consistent and trustworthy love and encouragement, along with an increase of arguments, disappointments, and a huge lack of proper communication. With the amount of negativity that went on in my home only to deal with the lack of stimulation and encouragement in schools, how do you think I felt? Confused? Lonely? Frustrated? Stressed? And how do you think I would act out with those feelings? Rebellious? Disconnected? Angry? You bet your ass that’s exactly how I felt and acted, and I know for a fact I was far from the only one in my generation that went through those childhood experiences. And to think, the pace of life just keeps advancing, the neglect keeps rising, and yet we are still the ones being blamed?
Social media came about, or I became aware of it, when I was in high school in the early 2000’s. I remember taking a liking to it immediately. A way to escape all of the drama at home and be in touch with friends from all over the place at any time? Yes please. I believe that social media was the movement that laid a foundation for the millennial generation’s self-confidence. As the rise of economics happened and took our parents away from being able to provide us with consistent unconditional love and boost our confidence like we needed them to in such a confusing time of our childhoods and growth, we were forced to fall astray and search for that love and connectedness we most desired elsewhere. Traveling wasn’t as convenient back then as it is now, so being able to communicate and see our friends and what they were up to on a daily basis right from our homes was the next best thing. I’m sure being a parent at that time, all of this was a little confusing and looked as if we were wasting our time sitting and staring at these computers all the time, but if you look at the big picture, we were just trying to survive and have a sense of worth in our independent lives.
This Times article “The Me Me Me Generation” focus’s a lot on how things were in the past and how they are today, yet the person who wrote it seems to have a very ‘stuck’ and negative approach to it all. He, along with many others, has the evaluation correct. Times have changed. It is overwhelming. There is a lack of understanding between the elder generations and the new. There is a sense of threat that the elders tend to feel with the younger generations being so large and so different. But if only the elders would smash down the walls of their deteriorating boxes they have placed around themselves their whole lives and open up their minds to the concept of evolution! They might see the light and recognize that the Me Me Me Generation is a creation from them, a reflection of their beliefs, teachings and inventions, and a generation that somehow, has developed an inclined intuition to help us see the changes that must be made if we want the human race to survive.
For some reason, I remember growing up feeling as though change was bad, and as I listen to the words of my elders, watch their actions and feel their negative projections toward my generation today, I recognize that I learned that fear of change from them. They still practice and embrace their fears of change daily. They still listen to the news, they listen to the government, they believe that the beings leading our country and our world are leading us with the utmost faith to our happiness and well-being and they are going on 20+ years with a job or career they hate. With all of this dedication to the ‘system’ without ever questioning it’s ways we are now in a time with more diseases, disfigurements, disorders (G.M.O’s, careless use of chemicals), consumerism, pollution, corruption (Corporations, government, banks), violence, war, fear, control (military, money, government). As a result of all of these practices we are living on a planet with a serious case of global warming, poverty, abuse, hunger, and a possible extinction of life itself.
Something the millennials and ones to follow have recognized and learned is to embrace change and help it to form into positive progression by being creative and finding innovative ways to improve just about anything that needs improving. Change is life. There is nothing on this planet, other than inanimate objects, that doesn’t change every second of everyday. It is evolution. Plants are changing by the minute, the Earth is shifting underneath us always, the sky is forming atmospheric changes by the second, the ocean is flowing and following it’s currents around the Earth, and our bodies have blood flowing, oxygen flowing, cells forming and growing, skin shedding always. And if you want to look at the overall big picture, the universe in which all of these things have been created, never ever sits still. This is all consistent evolutionary change. Change that cannot be stopped, nor can it be ignored. Not anymore.
Through all of the drastic changes during our lifetime, seeing all the bad outweigh the good and getting tired of watching our elders make the same mistakes over and over again forcing us all to live with such depression and anxiety, we are taking action. We are finding the flow of change, embracing it and finding happiness within it all.
The elder generations explain narcissism as a personality disorder. I see it as a means of survival. Narcissism is our self-confidence created not from our parents, but from our support line of our like-minded generation, and yes, that support line is our means of communication – the internet. Using the internet as an extension of our abilities, creativity, and a large extension of our self, we have been able to create amazing, unbelievable movements which create revolutions, help empower other individuals, and help our world rise above and beyond all the negativity. The internet is information at our fingertips, a never ending supply of books, stories, opinions, and facts, most of which are never brought into the classrooms we sit in day after day. The teachers continue to attempt to educate their students with their basic teachings from way back when in their basic boring read straight from the book ways and wonder why they cannot capture our attention, yet we sure as hell know how to embrace that knowledge we find on the internet to the fullest. Time for a shift in education’s ways? I think so.
Just in my immediate circle of friends I have Jonathan Fritzler, 27, who owns the not-for-profit Aloha Movement Project (AMP) whose “mission is to “Inspire Creativity, to Ignite Passion, and Discover Purpose. The AMP Curriculum is designed to harness “Education Energy” as a renewable resource for social change. Our ultimate vision is to create a global network of student activists who collaborate education energy collectively to have a positive impact on humanity” (alohamovementproject.com). This group helps these students take this education energy and turn it into their dream jobs in the form of Social Entrepreneurship before they even graduate. (3) Jealous? If I was 60 years old, working a job for 20+ years that made me miserable, I would be too. Then there is Surf 2 Cure (Surf2cure.org), a not-for-profit movement created by Seth Elmer to help at-risk youth find their self-confidence, their purpose, their right path to success. Their mission being to “serve the community by providing free surf lessons and surfboard rentals sponsored by Hans Hedemann surf school. In addition, S2C also provides mentoring, ocean safety awareness, surf culture enrichment, life-coaching seminars and music to stimulate community healing, growth and empowerment.” (4) Next is The EveryDay Hero Project not-for-profit created by Catalina Centi to help other leaders and organizations around the world create change (EveryDayHeroProject.org). EveryDay Heroes mission is” to assess the needs of emerging communities, to provide resources and education for them, and to interact within communities and their leaders to assist in building successful living environments” (5). And lastly is Babes Against Biotech (BABS) (BabesAgainstBiotech.org) a not-for-profit whose mission is “To educate the entire world about the food crisis we are in regarding GMOs, Genetically Modified Organisms, which represent multiple global biohazards and genetic instability for humans and environment alike. We seek to mandate GMO labeling in the US, remove GMOs from our food supply altogether and to bring attention to biotechnology experimentation being conducted in open air on Hawaiian land and residents. We plan to STOP Monsanto and their comrades from controlling the food supply worldwide and annihilating organic foods, terrorizing non-GMO farmers and funding our politicians while tampering with the integrity of regulatory agencies that are supposed to be protecting people.” (6) None of these business owners do this to be rich, they do it to help others in our world who are in need. In fact, I am almost positive most of them work other odd jobs to pay their bills and still find time to maintain these phenomenal movements focused on helping make our world a better place. You can find these businesses on the regular web, but also on Facebook where they offer daily guidance, healing, knowledge, motivation and more.
These were just a few in my immediate circle of friends. Please believe me when I affirm, there are many more of these amazing, ambitious, self-motivated individuals all around us. Most of them being from the Millennial Generation. We understand our purpose here on Earth. We understand we are here to change our worlds ways to find equality amongst everyone. In order to do this, we must be leaders, we must be knowledgeable, we must be confident, and we must have the uncanny ability to shed all negative projections coming our way, especially from the one’s who led us to become who we are today, no matter how much the words really do hurt.
Lastly, I would like to say this. We, the Millennial Generation, are the children of the X Generation, the baby boomers, the flower power generation. We are filled with love and compassion, a longing for belonging, and we are searching far and wide for the connection with the rest of the world that we can feel emanating from our hearts. We are real people. We are your children. We care about our world and most people in it. We are trying hard to survive in a messed up world, while still working extra hard to create change in order to shift life into a more positive direction. That is called multi-tasking, something people older than us have labeled ADHD. Multi-tasking and caring for multiple things at once is a disorder? (I will leave the ADHD topic for another rant some other day.) The point is, we are doing the best we can with what we’ve got. We are taking charge, taking chances and being the best that we can be, something you told us to do all along. So please understand, we are not here to fight with you or fight against you, we are here to work with you and beside you. However, if you, our elders, continue projecting these feelings of disappointment or disgust toward us with no other plan or direction that makes sense, then we will continue to rise above and move around you to see that our commitment to make this world a better place is kept. Please stop acting as though we are a disgrace to this world, as we know we are but a reflection of you. If you don’t like what you see maybe it’s time to start looking within.
Thanks Joel Stein, you are very right on one point you made….We WILL save us all. That is what we are here for, and no matter how many elders try to beat us down with their opinions and words instead of trying to help us, we will rise above it all. We are strong, we are confident and we are resilient. We are problem solvers, multi-taskers and believers. So whether you decide to jump on board with the new ways of life or not, we are moving forward, we are embracing change and we are striving for unity, equality and epic survival.
- Pasted from <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/narcissism?s=t>
- Pasted from <http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=narcissism>
- Pasted from <https://www.facebook.com/alohamovementproject/info>