Danger: This Blog Post Contains Millennial Ideas

21 October 2015

Millennials.

 

Everyone hates us, but nobody is allowed to admit it. Rather, they treat us like overly-sensitive majesties, waiting on us hand and foot while tiptoeing lightly around the myriad of subjects that may incite a tantrum.

 

We get it. We’re entitled brats who have had little to no hardship and immense privilege, growing up in a society where all of our basic needs were met and work was rarely required. Yes, this is how we all were raised. Every last one of us; despite race, ethnicity, sex, gender, creed, or socioeconomic status. We can all agree on that. We’ve had an easier life than you.

 

Now that we have a shared opinion, let’s move forward. It’s October 2015. The world isn’t getting any younger. We’re getting ever closer to the heat death of the universe and Lord knows we’ll be dying one of these days. Despite continued research to eliminate the effects of aging, we can all agree that were are going to die. And that’s okay. It’s unavoidable and out of our control, so it’s best to accept it. Life without death would be meaningless, for the ticking time-bomb of our finite existence gives us perspective. With this perspective, we have the ability to craft our own lives—given political and social circumstances can afford it. In the lives we craft, we pursue happiness. It can be found in countless forms, but it’s generally a feeling we hope to achieve and maintain. We all want to live happy lives, correct?

 

Now we agree on three things: Millennials have had easier lives than past generations, we all are going to die, and we all want to lead happy lives for the duration of our existence. Given this foundation, let’s explore some ideas about happiness. As an industry, happiness is growing, for better or for worse. Whether or not that industry provides value to the world is a topic for another discussion. What we are interested in is how happiness relates to the essential question: what is the meaning of life?

 

Douglas Adams says “42.” Let’s go Nietzsche on that and say Douglas Adams is dead. While it may be the answer to “how many roads must a man walk down?”,  42 isn’t a sufficient answer to “what is the meaning of life?”

 

That’s because no answer is sufficient. There are countless forms to finding happiness and meaning in life, and finding the form that works for you is a personal endeavor. In the United States, the pursuit of that happiness is a right to be enjoyed by all. Yet it, for many generations, this seems to have been forgotten.

 

Many hardships occurred over the last century: wars, economic depressions, genocides, social oppression, and countless other tragic events. These hardships have honed our work ethic as a society, pushing us to make greater leaps in innovation and societal improvement. Generations have given up comfort and personal happiness for the creation of a better world—a world whose citizens would not be in need of anything. Millennials are the citizens of this world. The future of the past is now the present.

 

Inequality still exists, and always will exist, but a large class of citizens now lives in a world where their basic needs are met. We, the Millennials, are cashing out on the investment made by previous generations. While those who came before us sacrificed their livelihoods so that their children’s children could be happy, they were hoping that future generations could lead meaningful lives.

 

That’s what we want.

 

Millennials want life to have meaning. Previous generations had meaning—they existed to build a better future, to win wars and overcome economic depression—and that meaning was fulfilled. Many obstacles were overcome. This does not mean new obstacles will cease to surface. On the contrary, we have even more obstacles standing in the way of global peace and prosperity today. We, Millennials, want to combat them. But our means of doing so are not understood. Prior generations push their outdated weapons in our hands and wonder why we are ungrateful. The world has changed and the problems have morphed. New means are needed to combat them, and Millennials are trying to find them.

 

We move to the Internet. We create art. We wish to travel and gain new experiences. We are enjoying our inherited renaissance and using the privileges it affords to invent news ways of solving new problems. We, like all those that came before us, want happiness and meaning in life. Now that we have the ability to obtain it, it would be sinful to squander it.

 

It’s not wrong to crave meaning. It’s what we were meant to seek.