Growing Up Millennial

Millennials are a flawed generation. Our motto seems to be, “I’m kind of a big deal;” words spoken by Ron Burgandy, a role model we met at an impressionable age. We speak in pop culture references. We’re a “vintage” generation, so fascinated with the old that we often lack originality. Check out our recent fashion trends. They’re all very green, as in reduced, reused, and recycled.

Older generations don’t seem to understand us. They fear the day that one of us will trip our way into the White House. But here’s the thing about being a millennial: it isn’t all that bad.

Millennials may not seem very balanced. We tend to be the least responsible generation ever. However, a study from the Pew Research Center shows that millennials might be getting better with age. For instance, it’s no surprise that the Peter Pan Generation likes all things green. 69% of millennials support marijuana legalization.

Older generations have been timid about the marijuana debate because of perceptions and stigmas they grew up with. Millennials, however, were raised by Boomer hippies and Gen. Xers and taught the benefits of the plant. The former “dangers” are now balanced with the studied benefits. Also, according to the survey, millennials tend to believe that pot is safer than alcohol.

Economically, we see the financial benefit of placing taxes on items like marijuana that have been and will remain in use. (We are also a generation full of entrepreneurs. We can’t get decent jobs, so we start our own businesses.)

In terms of progressiveness, we’re a loving and accepting generation. 68% of millennials favor same-sex marriage. 50% also said more interracial marriage would be good for society.

However, marriage is not an area of interest for millennials. Only 26% are married. Are we late bloomers? Or is the institution of marriage outdated? Either way, this is an interesting trend to keep an eye on.

And though progressive, millennials identify themselves as Independents rather than Liberals. In fact, 3 in 10 millennials see little difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties. However, 50% of millennials who identify as Independent tend to lean toward Democratic, while 34% tend to lean toward Republican.

Only 30% of millennials view Congress favorably. And while we are skeptical of the government, our generation is filled with idealists. 55% believe that better days are ahead, while 80% believe they themselves will eventually afford to support their hoped-for lifestyles.

So, yes, millennials are a flawed generation. But we’re also late bloomers. We’re still learning and growing. We may reek of irresponsibility and lack commitment, but we’re a generation who was handed glass half-empty circumstances. We now look at that glass as half-full. We are a generation of dreamers, optimists, and idealists. We are a generation that truly believes we can be the change we want to see in the world.

And we may just be the generation to change it and make it a better place.

Following a five-year stint in New York City, Ashley is now a Los Angeles transplant. Having grown up in rural Kentucky, Ashley is passionate to share self-care techniques used around the world and hopes to make them accessible to folks in rural communities. Ashley believes in gratitude, personal legends, and doing good. Aside from being a business leader in her professional life, Ashley is a novelist and freelance writer.

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