Having 4 Millennial daughters is terrifying. Most people that meet me have the same reaction when they hear that little tidbit-they gasp, then they laugh, then they tell me they feel so bad for me. Well, first of all…rude. Second of all, I totally get what they’re saying. I feel bad for me too sometimes.
I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the Millennial mindset, but having 4 of my own has made me want to analyze their brain like a mad scientist. While they are inspiring in so many ways, sometimes I just wish they would dial it down a little. I realize that boomers (and all the generations before us) may not have been perfect, but sweet Millennials need to realize that they too will be scorned when their time comes. If there is one thing I have learned, it doesn’t matter how tuned in you think you are, to your kids, you too will seem like an antique with a brain the size of a pea. But I digress.
There are a few things I just want them to know that I think will help as they navigate through their life.
This one is ironic, because they (my millennials), are always implying that I am the uptight one, and that my generation needs to learn how to chill out. Granted, it’s true that we are always in go mode, but it’s only because we understand that stuff needs to get done. And also, that no one is going to give a hoot if the thing we need to get done “doesn’t feel right”. We grew up being grinders that did their work, and we didn’t really think about how it felt. When I recommend to them to just relax, I lovingly mean get over yourself. Yes, you are brilliant, yes you are evolved and you will move our society forward, but not everything is something to take a stand on. Some things are just, well, things. There doesn’t always need to be a feeling around it, a deeper meaning, or an impact on your soul. So do the things you need to do, even the ones that don’t make the angels sing, and if at some point there is a bigger and better calling for you, keep yourself open and in faith and you will be led in the right direction. Just relax.
Again, as a self loathing baby boomer, it may seem ironic that I suggest this. But what I mean quite simply, is that life really is short. In your 20’s and 30’s, it does not seem like it at all, but trust me. I have learned that the most important thing you can do for yourself, your marriage, your kids, and your overall quality of life, is to love who you are. Understand that you are pretty awesome. No one is out there doing things “right”. There is just one right way for you, and it’s your way. Sometimes I look at the amount of external pressure out there today, and I see how that could make someone feel like they are just missing the mark. You’re not missing the mark. Being different is really a good thing in today’s world, so there is no mold you need to fit into, or a specific way to be. Love yourself and it will radiate to everyone that loves you.
Don’t spend all your money. Spend some, save some.
I think it’s fine to spend a little money on things that bring you joy. I also believe that when you go on a big vacation, you should be conscious of your spending but not to the point that it ruins the experience. All that said, it’s important that you are also always saving, and I have come to that from my own personal experience. Worrying about not having enough money at any given point in your life is an incredible stressor. You may not think so now, but it really is. Whatever age you are, just start your plan. It doesn’t take much to get it started, and time is the best variable that impacts growing wealth, so just start saving. Don’t live in fear, but prioritize what you spend your money on so you can enjoy the journey. This will set you up for financial peace so you’ll never break out into a cold sweat when your car breaks down or your washing machine blows up.
Have a friend in your life that is much older than you
This is a great leveler. I have always subscribed to this and I think it has helped me tremendously. It’s very easy to get swept up in your own manner of thinking when you surround yourself with people just like you. Having an elder, of sorts, can help reframe your problems and round out all of your options when making a decision. Even to this day, as my 54 self, I enjoy hearing the wisdom that pours out from those whose life experiences are greater than my own. It’s gold.
All in all, millennials are truly a fascinating bunch, and I obviously adore my own, in spite of our occasional disagreements. But in today’s busy and fast-paced world, taking the time to slow down and take stock of the lessons others have learned can be valuable information. Even if you are the most perfectly tuned in generation of humans ever.