“Thanks,” the older bespectacled gentleman nodded at me as he quickly buttoned up his coat, and turned towards his companion with a too-loud murmur, “She was helpful. But I hate kids.”
Although this snippet simply formed an entertaining, albeit rather offensive conversation, when I offered a man directions towards Buckingham Palace on the Victoria Line, I couldn’t help but begin to wonder about the opinion of others towards our younger generation, the so-called millennials who are too spoilt to pop their own bubble.
I also thought a lot about how much of a ‘kid’ I look at the ripe old age of 20, but that’s a story for another day.
By now, you’ve probably seen the video that went viral earlier on in 2017, where a bespectacled Simon Sinek, motivational speaker, and Generation X-er, sits in an open blue shirt and those ‘trendy’ jeans that middle-aged men wear in attempts to capture their youth, and tells us why millennials are self-entitled crybabies who supposedly confound their employers with their lack of satisfaction in any situation.
And that’s what the definition of millennial appears to be. Those born between the 80s and late 90s. Those who are spoilt for choice, ungrateful, lazy, narcissistic, sensitive, technology-soaked liberal snowflake brats.
That’s probably what some of the mainstream tabloids, and indeed Simon Sinek, would have you believe.
Indeed, it’s the technology that’s the worst, and fuels our insatiable desire to possess what we want immediately – where next-day delivery and on-demand television makes us entitled. But I’m sure some of us would favour an undamaged economy, the ability to actually climb on the property ladder, let alone progress on it, and probably the condition of being able to socialise without the constant anxiety of work or academic commitments.
It’s a never-ending cycle of worry. Yes, being able to stream episodes of Black Mirror wherever and whenever I want can take away from some of the stresses of hours in the library worrying about mid-semester deadlines, but the cornucopia combination of fear and anger towards a future which is completely uncertain probably outweighs Netflix, no matter how much of a genius Charlie Brooker is.
The older man on the tube told his friend he hated ‘kids’ like me, despite in a previous breath thanking me for my efforts to help him, and if I could go back in time, I’d love to ask why. Is it simply the hand-me-down tradition of years-gone-by to lord it over on the next generation? Or do older people simply think that ‘kids’ like us are fundamentally horrible?
In the ‘young’ generation, one which I sometimes contemplate I might just be proud to be a part of, I have seen the most compassion. Myself and another young student, with places to be ourselves, helped an older man with two suitcases and a woman with a baby in a pushchair up the stairs at Victoria Station – they later informed me they had travelled from North London to get to the coach. Many young people work long hours in order to provide for an exorbitant amount of student debt – arguably one we have been saddled with due to poor economic decisions from a former generation. Viral videos of people stepping in to defend those who are racially abused on public transport, often feature the heroic actions of young people who step in to offer their assistance.
No-one is even beginning to argue that Generation Y are untouchable angels holding a Pumpkin Spice Latte in one hand and a Macbook in the other, but we’re going through a hard and uncertain time.
Beginning to cut us a break might just make us a bit more likely to want to help you.