Just like the 2016 election, America is again blaming millennials. We can’t catch a break with Larry Fitzgerald’s hands! While placing blame, I hope we are open to seeing the truth about the impact of this pandemic on a generation that has seen its share of crises in the latter half of our lifetime alone. Know the following things are true for many millennials who are participating in #QuarantineAndChill.
We are growing tired of crises! In the second half of our lives alone, we’ve experienced the death, lack of accountability and absolutely no justice during the trials of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin and Botham Jean. Nathaniel Woods was executed this month, exposing the possibility of being murdered, by lethal injection at the hands of the government even as you are innocent of murder, while the murderer lives and admits guilt. We had to experience Al Gore win but lose and Hilary Clinton win but lose because of the electoral college. Ain’t that nothing? We lived through a recession, housing crisis, a number of natural disasters and many of us were in college during 9/11. We have seen Rush Limbaugh given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Obama given a hard time and children given cages as shelter. We’ve been Trumped by the resident of the White House over and over again. We’ve lived through the travesty of a woman carrying the weight of misogyny on her back as Janet Jackson endured the consequences of the nipple slip while Justin Timberlake was not held accountable. We lost Whitney Houston to drugs, we saw the demise of a beautiful discography because of R. Kelly’s personal demons and some lost the only dad they’ve known to prison because Bill Cosby wasn’t like Dr. Huxtable. I mean, DANG!
Adulting has taken us by storm! We’ve been saying for a while that “Adulting Sucks! Little did we know, we had not known adulting at this level of horror. My mother always recited Charles Dickens saying, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” She would follow it by saying, “The problem is, you don’t which one you are in.” Geesh, she was so right! It’s like life came quickly and fiercely while laughing, like an evil villain in a comic book because it knew there was more to come. This is a world no one has known. We are a generation of overeducated and underemployed adults. We are feeling the impact of the prison pipeline. We are the most indebted and not because of Bentleys and Beamers but student loans and Sallie Mae. When we’re employed, we’re often undervalued, overworked and barely compensated. Mental health in millennials has been a joke to onlookers and now we are stuck inside, many of us single, trying to figure out how stay sane while quarantined. Yo, adulting is wild!
The Practical Advice We’ve Heard is Outdated! Before you get pissed, the principles were good, but the practical advice does not work for the world we are living in at this moment. We were told to learn to cook to keep a man, but it was actually necessary to survive a pandemic. A pandemic! “Save money so that you care for yourself if you’re unemployed, 3-6 months while you look for a job,” they said. Looks like we need money because the world is shutting down and when it reopens too many of us will have to begin the 3-6-month process of finding a job after spending weeks unemployed. So, we actually needed 6-12 months’ salary although we’re the most underemployed generation the country has ever seen. How would we ever save that? Financially stable people we admired encouraged us to get a job so that we would have a steady income because entrepreneurship and following our dreams would not be stable. By the grace of God, my life discounts this narrative. They said go to school and get a good job and we’ve known for a while that was not promised. And now, the very people who are asking us for help for #QuarantineAndWorship were the ones who said social media was a waste of time. *Insert Shrug Emoji*
Now honestly, no one is to blame. Well, there is someone who is mishandling power that will cause us not to end this swiftly but, I digress. Truthfully, we do not want to blame any generation, but we do want to be seen as adults navigating these murky, unchartered waters and not children partying on Spring Break while carelessly increasing the curve only to go home and live off of student loans for a semester online.