The coffee table was low, modern, and smelt of privilege. The debris scattered across the table confirmed this. A couple trendy watches, various controllers, and a few artisan wood coasters. Several receipts detailed part of the night’s binges. An odd amount of cash knew the rest, but said nothing. It was among these nocturnal remains that the boys and I discussed the gravity of existence.
Casually gathered around the black, worn-but-cheek coffee table, we spent the early hours of our hangover considering life’s more philosophical questions. Of course, those of us who inexplicably and consistently wake up before eight after a heavy night of drinking are of a different breed. Young Jim wasn’t due up for at least another four or five hours. Beauty sleep was key. Carl, no doubt, was out cold after some sort of promiscuous conquering. Kid pulled chicks, but guy wore skin-thin man-gerie. Real head case that bro.
Rising rays cast into the dim living room, humid with booze and left-out take-out. As we aired our thoughts, I felt the rivers of youth’s assurances slowly run dry. I wanted to do so much in my short life, yet was in position to pursue so little. I was twenty-two and I felt immobile, like I was just spinning my wheels. I took the LSAT, applied to law schools, was awaiting decisions, and would tell you straight faced that I did not want to be a lawyer. After four years of undergrad and over two-hundred grand, I still couldn’t tell you what I wanted to do. What was three more years going to do?
I was existentially anxious. I wasn’t happy with where I thought I was going and didn’t know how to get where I wanted to be. Where I wanted to be was anywhere but one place: in a nine-to-five, drive-in-traffic, sit-in-an-office, working-for-the-weekend, job. My parents live in one of the most beautiful places in all of the world, and spend the majority of their days at work. But there are waves to be surfed, beers to be drank, and good times to be had.
I want to travel the US in a Winnebago performing a radio show with my friends. No joke, I’m gonna sail the south pacific and surf her firing lineups, then open a coffeehouse-bar-lounge-blogosphere. The theme is freedom…you get the idea. Cliché? Yes. Fleeting feeling? Hopefully not. The question was how.
Nothing a few millenials couldn’t figure out.
We millennials grew up too young to understand, too old to forget. The world around us moved rapidly—quicker than it ever had before. Sure the advent of trains, planes, and dial-up must have been amazing to see, but those took years, days and hours. We’re talking seconds today. Twitter revolts, Facebook addictions, and YouTube celebrities. Dont’ believe me? Then google it. And go google yourself while you’re at it.
Society’s evolving faster than ever. Pushed ahead by the world before us, we millenials get stuck on a cusp, always on the verge of something better. Life’s been one upgrade after another, a beta-version purgatory that knows no satisfaction. This has made us disillusioned with who we thought we were. Never what we thought we’d become. And too impatient for anything less than instant gratification.
Unlike kids these days, we millinials recall a much simpler time in life. We remember when the Internet was named AOL, came on CDs and lasted fifty hours. None of this in your pocket, in your palm, unlimited crap. We remember when the Internet did as it pleased—dropping a critical error message here, a fatal script there—all without rhyme or reason. But it made us tougher, and it gave us character.
Take my iPhone away, and I’ll still be able to find my way back home. Find a number on the go? I know how to dial 411. Just don’t ask me where the nearest five-star eatery is located. I can’t take all the credit for my many non-digital prowess though. Mostly, I owe it to my parents. They had the great foresight to pop me out in the eighties. Well, the sort-of eighties. We’ll call it the latter third. And at twenty-three years of age, I’ve already lived through three decades. I’d say that officially makes me an old soul. No way around it. Not to mention my hairline is rapidly receding, but that’s besides the point.
The point is, that we grew up as technology evolved at the speed of broadband. Or the other way around. But we were there from the start, and it is we who are technology’s rightful masters.
So here’s the take home for all you greatest generationers, boomers, and Gen X-ers:
Parents, teachers, and upstanding members of society- thank you for the introduction, but I cannot, and will not, accept your reality. I’m going to blog, facebook, text, and stream my way to the life I want to live.
Yeah, I’m a millennial—but I am much more than the sum of my apps.