A new kind of millenials

Who are we?

Millennials. Born between 1981 and 1996, and even in the early 2000s according to researchers and popular media. Well, we better admit it, especially with all the issues that are rising at the moment: WE ARE A MESSED UP GENERATION.

After “researching” a few friends’ backgrounds, I confirmed that many of us feel more or less incomplete, empty, purposeless, lost, etc. In my case, I had the feeling of wasting time that started lingering a few years ago — ironically, right after I got my job. For others, they always seem to have something to be depressed about, work, a broken relationship, not enough money (that one is legit), too much money, or even weather, amongst others. But in most cases, the truth is that our generation has everything to be happy but WE JUST ARE NOT — which is quite odd given that most of us had great, stable parents — who ironically had access to less stuff, and information than we do now.

Could I be blaming having too much stuff available and too much information for a messed up mind? Regarding the latter, American author Alvin Toffler wrote in his book Future Shock (which I should probably read) that information overload — that is what the internet brought — could make us make poor choices. As for the former, having too much stuff, after trying minimalism for a year or so, and still sticking to it, I can personally attest that “less is more”.

However, not having enough information and stuff, in my opinion, is a great source of frustration and worry and regardless of the amount of books you may read on motivation, positive talk, it will prove extremely hard if you haven’t had any meal for three days. Being African and living in Africa, I can personally attest of that. Still, some of us have been lucky to have good education, access to water, electricity, food, computers, and even smartphones, and unlike many Westerners believe we don’t live in jungles and we certainly don’t talk to lions or monkeys.

Tech is not the enemy, you are

Getting back to the tech issue, the rapid democratization of technologies has indeed fastened the degenerescence of our generation. This statement is in no manner alarmist since there is some comfort in knowing that following generations will do far worse than us. The question here is to know if tech poses an actual threat and if we should reject it and all live as hermits or monks, depriving ourselves of stuff to feel “complete”? Well, good luck with that. The answer, I believe, lies in seeking wisdom, individually. In the bible, which is one of my favorite books, the author of Proverbs declared: “Do not forsake wisdom and she will protect you…Get wisdom. Though it costs all you have, get understanding”.

Keeping this in mind, I also often reflect on the story of Arkad and his son Nomasir told in Georges Clason bestseller’s The Richest Man in Babylon. So, in the book, Arkad sends Nomasir away for 10 years on a journey to become successful. However, before they part from each other, the old man gives his lad a bag full of gold and a tablet of wise laws. Eventually, Nomasir, despite not being a millenial (wasn’t he really?)loses the tablet and squanders all the money only to find out after years of suffering and misery that the tablet contained all the laws of success he would painfully learn during his adventure. This example shows how youth often tends to discard wisdom for material possessions and this may very well be the starting point of our road down to emptiness and purposelessness.

WISDOM. Understanding oneself, psyche, and internal mechanisms, I have also painfully come to realize is the key to no more being just another messed up millennial. As Leonardo Da Vinci so beautifully put it, “One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself”.

Trust the process

I am not going to lie here. I wrote this piece, just because I also struggle with that feeling of emptiness and being incomplete. But the thing is, it started getting better when I decided to seek wisdom and understanding. My focus is no more on the void, the depression, the frustration, but on the process. To quote the famous former general manager of NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers (2013–2016), “TRUST THE PROCESS”, and don’t concentrate on the outcome. Also, this might be silly to many but I strongly believe that having faith in God, will play a significant role in the process. However, if you’re not the spiritual type, you can still study the lives of some great men and women, like most self-help books and blogs recommend.

We might be messed up as a generation but one of the main underlying reasons for that is our habit of thinking that we’re unique, in both our accomplishments and challenges. Other messed up people have preceded us and we do well to learn from them. As the author of Ecclesiastes (Chapter 1 verse 9) said “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun”. So fellow millennials, let’s be wise and learn from others’ mistakes, let’s be more than mere millennials, let’s be wise millennials.

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Schad A.

Schad A.

I just love reading and telling stories.

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