Sometimes I think about what a younger me would think if she could see me now. The insecure 15 year-old girl who never felt like she fitted in because she saw the world differently from other people and couldn’t find her tribe. The 19 year-old who dreamed of adventures and poetry and wild romances and how she’d travel the world but was pretty sure those kind of lives only happened in books, or in her own imagination. Even the me of a year and a half ago, trapped in a toxic relationship with her confidence shot to hell and no idea who she was any more or how to get out.
I’m pretty sure if any of those girls looked at me now they wouldn’t believe it. They wouldn’t even have known how to dream of the life I have now, let alone build it!
Isn’t it crazy how things like that change? That you can look back and realise you wouldn’t have even been able to imagine things the way they are now.
It’s strange but I also love it at the same time, because it gives me such a feeling that absolutely anything could happen in the future. And that’s definitely true right now, not just in my own life, but in the whole world! It’s kind of amazing and terrifying all at the same time…
We’re at a time in the world right now where it feels like a lot of things are changing a lot. Society is waking up to things it never noticed before, young people are living and thinking in completely different ways from the generations before us, and technology is quite literally making things possible that we used to only think were the stuff of Sci-fi movies. When you stop and think about it, it is kind of insane!
Millennials tend to get a pretty bad rep – we’re too often portrayed as self-important dossers who walk around acting entitled and spending so much money on avocados that we can’t afford to buy houses.
But maybe people are ignoring the fact that the reason we’re different is because we are actually changing things.
The things our generation cares about, the way we think, the possibilities that are open to us in a way that they never have been for past generations….maybe we are actually taking the first step of changing the world?
The way we work has totally changed – if you think about how many of us are rejecting the idea of the 9-5 and forging our own way into remote working, freelancing or setting up our own businesses, it’s clear that our mindset and ambitions are becoming more different than our parents’ generations. We believe that we can do things differently, and learn things ourselves rather than having to “be a certain type of person” in order to set up on our own.
We also live our lives online – our work has moved to be more and more digital, our businesses are often online, even our friendships and relationships online! We’re the first “digital native” generation who are used to living, working, and communicating digitally and I definitively think that has changed our mindsets about the way that things can be done in the world, and the way that one person can have an affect on people’s opinions or the world on a much bigger scale – all it takes is one well-timed tweet or a youtube video that gets shared and you could suddenly have a voice in a much bigger way.
We’re also becoming much more aware – of the environment, of ourselves, of issues in society.
It seems to me that things are being spoken about, and advocated for in a bigger way than ever before. Maybe that’s thanks to Social Media again meaning that we all have access to waaay more stuff, or maybe it’s because we’ve woken up a bit and realised that these things are more important.
When you think of how the conversation has changed in the last few years around feminism and #metoo, around LGBQT+, around mental health and the environment, it makes you realise what a wave of change is still to come from the Millennials generation.
We’re only just growing up now, and already it’s millennials at the forefront of some of these bigger conversations that are forcing change in society. What will happen when by the time it’s only Millennials and the generations below us in the driving seats of society? I for one, can’t wait to find out.
Of course it’s not all just positive “we’re changing the world, man” vibes. There are things like the recession and the fact that the housing market has crashed that have also affected the way our generation thinks, our lack of confidence and the depressing fact that we may be renting (and working) for most of our lives.
But, like a typical Millennial, I’m still ignoring that for the time being and choosing to believe in the idea that I can do anything I want and build a better future!
Age UK have put together some ideas on what future over 60s could look like when us Millennials get older and it’s so interesting to think about all this and more – like, what will we be wearing, what will entertainment look like? Spoiler alert: it looks like the virtual mirror from Clueless where you can work out what to wear might actually be a thing. I’m definitely still using that when I’m 60! And what about virtual reality, AI and driverless cars?! I could talk for hours about all of those too, but don’t worry I won’t – at least not in this blog post!
At the end of the day, one of the biggest things that’s changed for Millennials is that now our lives are so much longer, we don’t have the same need to do things on the timeline that our parents did. We don’t have to settle down and buy a house before we’re thirty, our 20s-30s are still the time where we’re figuring everything out.
And that’s what’s so exciting – if us Millennials are only just ‘coming of age’ at the moment, what might happen next when we’re all grown up?!
This was a collaborative post with Age UK Mobility, but as always all opinions, words and images are my own!