Easy – some of my best friends are Millennials.
I’ve had some right here on this blog. Like this one, and this one too. I read some, like her, her and her. And you know about the whole J-Law and Hopey Solo thing. So sometimes words might feel harsh up in here, on this post.
I mean, I’m old enough to be … their older brother, or something.
My Millennial friends, friends who know Millennials, NPR listeners weary of every fourth story having some urgent link to Millennials and their thoughts and impact on the economy/ecology/and the Brexit, here are 23 words of advice to the generation who might have invented the selfie, but doesn’t have exclusive rights to it – from a guy whose generation got you started with our IBMs and floppy discs.
(Note: You’ll be addressed as a singular tribe here. I know you like to stand tall together while also seeking to make yourselves stand out as individuals in a swipe-right world. Hey, it can’t be easy being you. Take it from your big bro.)
You’re great at canvasing and handing out stickers and rallying behind change and revolution. Your bumper stickers mean nothing unless you get out the vote.
Think, especially for yourselves. The world is less black and white than you imagine. See the gray. Appreciate the gray. Understand that you stand more in the gray than you might even understand.
Don’t confuse a loud voice with a valuable one. It’s in the peace you find meaning. Lots happens around you, conversations you can learn from and contribute to.
Keep up you. There’s a tendency in youth to want your world to change to conform to your comfort. Some change comes slow. The path is more important than the outcome.
Conversations are where it’s at: with each other, with kids, heck, even with we Gen Xers. Or beyond. Your words mean more when they meet with others’ and go places.
Play guitar. Audit a course. Attend a comedy class or storytellers group. Learn code. It’s not even as much about the skill as it is the journey to acquire the skill – and the experiences along the way.
Ask yourself: Am I processing what I’m hearing, envisioning it? Or, am I simply creating my response and not really hearing what’s being said. Resist the urge to fill silence.
Feel it. Don’t be in a rush to mend a heart. Find your way out, in your time, on your terms. Friends and memes can’t always depict your real heart. Only you can do that.
Like you could stop it. When it strikes run with it. Be unafraid to follow what your gut tells you, about a new home, job, person who makes you smile. Take a chance.
Your spot. Your comfort zone. What makes you squeamish. Ways you can help. Places you can get help. A tribe. Your voice. Long after your clothes are fashionable, these things will remain.
Take a job in a place you’ve never been. Interview for jobs, even if you don’t go in seriously. Take it seriously when you’re there. The experience will change you.
Diligently. Intelligently. Follow the status quo, and look for true spots to stand out. On days you don’t feel like it – dig in. On others like that – take the rest of the day off. You’ll know which when it happens.
Even if it’s slowly, even on a treadmill. Try it. Even those of us who will never make the Olympics will find clarity in that cocktail of endorphins and other chemical highs. Go.
Not only at those you love. Especially to those you don’t know. Smiles are like emotional donuts you can dole out free. It doesn’t have to lead to digits. Share it.
Superhero aspirations might go on a shelf. Don’t lose sight of what drove you the way those dreams did. Keep ideas and pictures of those dreams in a box. Never let them go.
We’re in this together. Recognize the low well. Help replenish it. Encourage. Listen. Teach. What we do is often way more important than what we say, even over and over.
Words are fleeting. To revisit your words in two weeks or two months or two years? There’s no greater avenue to self-exploration. Write your words for others in a blog if you feel it.
“What if?” isn’t for kids only. What if you said yes? What if you said no? What if you took a chance? What if you passed on one? Enough what ifs will become I dids.
Not just the good moments, but those too. Live it up. I know you love wine. Cheers. Also savor the uncertain and the moments you overcome. Each will make you stronger.
Today. I read that life isn’t downtime and spare time, but just TIME. Open your studio. Call your mom. Ask that girl out. Donate. Volunteer. Not next time, this time.
The heartbreaks are easy. Remember the times someone you might even didn’t know interacted in an impactful way with you. Seek to do that for someone else, someday.
God, be patient. Life not going your way? You needn’t sit in or protest. Truly appreciate the universe’s diversity, not just how it applies to you. Believe you’re destined for a wonderful life unseen.
Recognize the states of you that feel best. Strongest. Most right.
Do what it takes to visit that often. Find that space above resignation and below inflation. Know that rather than seeking out the specifics of what you want to add to life, you can attract them by living at your finest.
What does that mean? Only you will know. You might not know now.
I can’t I say I fully know, and look at my gray hair.
It means practicing honesty with ideals we stick to that we should abandon. It means feeling no shame for the setting of our happiness – behind an easel, on a mountaintop, in front of a keyboard, behind the wheel, closing the deal or dealing with closure.
Our generations become our brotherhoods and our sisterhoods. They provide framework as we navigate life. They don’t absolutely define us, though. So, remember that, too. You’re you first. You’re a Millennial, too, but that’s not what they’ll remember you for.
I should know. Some of my best friends are Millennials.