The View From Here – Though young adults are an enigma to many of us, they may have their priorities right

Tom Henihan

It has always been the case that older people make pronouncements and issue judgement on the young often without understanding the social, cultural or financial realities faced by that generation.
Consequently, adult children are often admonished for not following the same path as their parents, when that path is as outworn and obsolete as an old train schedule.
The present generation of young adults age 18 to 30, the so-called “millennials” are a particular enigma to those older than they are.
Recent research conducted by a British marketing agency, suggests that the term millennials and the negative connotations associated with that term is something that many in the 18 to 30 demographic dislike and many also claim they have no idea what the term is supposed to mean.
That study also says that those between 18 and 30 are misunderstood, which is not much of a revelation considering that young adults of any era have been misunderstood.
Some of the negative stereotypes attributed to millennials are that they are shy of work or that they would prefer to spend their money dining out and hanging out rather than save to get a mortgage on a house.
From the perspective of older people, not being all consumed with the idea of material success is a young adults’ greatest transgression.
Millennials have been criticised on this front, though I believe it is not that they are indifferent to financial success but the opportunities are not available and they have a more patient, realistic approach to attaining that stability.
Also, in stark contrast to the “me generation” that immediately preceded them, millennials are concerned about matters outside their own immediate self-interest, things such as the environment, social justice, and if they are misunderstood by society they don’t stand on ceremony about it and make being misunderstood their raison d’être.
Typically, with the generational pigeonholing come a set of assigned traits supposedly common to everyone within that demographic and millennials are no exception.
It is a mistake to accept as truly representative the picture of young people portrayed in commercials, TV shows and by the media in general. Usually this portrait is a selective composite that commercial interests manufacture to set a standard to which the more impressionable will conform.
Every generation shares mutual concerns, dictated by the political, social and economic climate they have inherited.
However, popular culture such as the fashion industry and the news media go overboard with their penchant for clear, graphic representations, a delineated grid in which to frame matters in a recognizable, simplistic context.
Contrary to the notion that millennials are slackers, many work two jobs in order to subsist, especially in large cities where it is expensive to live.
Many millennials came through their formative years or entered the job market in the midst of the economic crisis, faced with the painful realization that banks and financial institutions were robbing everyone blind with impunity.
In light of that baptism by fire, I would be disappointed in the millennial generation if they were guileless and servile enough to indenture themselves to the same institutions that literally brought the house down around them when they were starting out.
From their perspective, I’m sure that dinning out and hanging out appears to be a more enlightened choice.

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