Thursday, October 17, 2013

"I AM NOT A MILLENNIAL": Why I Hate Generational Labels

Ok. So here's something that's been on my mind for AWHILE. In the world of generational labels, I am, according to most sources, considered a "Millennial." My husband, born just the year before me, is in No-Man's Land, or according to some, Generation X.  While I do not think either of us are old enough to belong in "Generation X", I don't identify with being a Millennial. I was almost an adult at the turn of the millennium. I am not one of these super tech-savvy, live with my parents until 35, selfish typical millennial types. And why should I be grouped with people who are just teenagers now? Some sources cite millennials as being born up until the early 2000s. In the early 2000s, I was in college. What???? Do I have anything in common with people born in 2002? Absolutely not. We grew up in different worlds. Heck, I could be a parent to someone born in 2002!!!!

To understand this, and to truly drive home the point that there are "generation label gaps", let's take a look at how someone like me, who was born in the very early 80s, grew up, versus how someone who was born in, say, 1997, grew up.

I grew up watching things like PeeWee's Playhouse, the Smurfs, Garfield and Friends, ALF, The Cosby Show, Full House, and Saved By The Bell. Our concept of Nickelodeon dates from shows like Pinwheel and Today's Special to Clarissa Explains it All and Hey Dude (I think the latest I ever watched Kid's Nick, outside of seeing it because of my sister, was 1994. Nick at Nite when it was still good...well, different story!) Someone born in 1997...well....I can't even tell you what kind of Saturday morning programming or Nickelodeon they watched. I'd have to look it up. I was too busy, you know, watching the Seinfeld and Friends finales (1998 and 2004, respectively), and becoming an adult and whatnot. Oh yes, and I watched almost all of Seinfeld, from 92 on, and all of Friends, in their original runs.

We never, ever owned a video game console or single video game growing up. While I know that this is unusual for someone born five years before me, let alone the same time as me, it is the truth. My parents didn't allow it. And not many people that I personally knew in the late 80s had them, either. Kids born in 1997...well, it is more than likely they had one or all of the consoles available, unless they had strict parents.

When we were bored, we played outside. We read books (Babysitter's Club, Judy Blume, and Beverly Cleary were my favorites. I doubt many kiddos born in 1997 read the BSC.) We used our imaginations. One of the biggest characteristics that I have heard in talking about millennial kids is that their imagination and We played with Quints, My Little Ponies (the original ones), Sensation Barbie, dolls that didn't do anything fancy, etc. We rode bikes. We roller skated. We did fashion shows set to the music of 1992-era Madonna. When I see some of these lists for "You Know You're a 90s kid if...", I don't recognize half the toys. This is because I was born too late for a lot of 90s toys. I am a late 80s, early 90s kid. I am a mid-to late 90s teenager. I am a millennial adult. I am not the same as someone born in the mid to late 90s, and definitely not the 2000s!

I had my first cell-phone in 2000, senior year, and it was a giant brick that was kept in the car only. I had my second cellphone in 2003 and it was a HUGE deal that it sent and received texts. Yes, I remember life before texts. Someone born in 1997 likely had a smartphone as their first phone. Someone born in 1997 likely does not remember a world before text messaging.

On that note, we had one phone line. If I wanted to talk to friends, I called them. If I stayed on the phone for too long, I got yelled at for tying up the line. If I wanted to tell my friends something while I was in class in high school, I had to write a note. On paper. There were no texts. Kids born in 1997 are still in high school. You tell me if they can imagine a world like that.

I remember when my family got the internet. It was 1995, and we had an AOL account. It was dial-up. You had to wait what felt like hours to log on. There were barely any websites. You could only stay on for a certain amount of time before getting yelled at for tying up the aforementioned one phone line. I remember life before all of that. Someone born in 1997 would not only not remember life before the internet, but might not even remember dial-up internet. Forget about someone born in 2002, supposedly part of my generation!

Yes, I use Facebook. Yes, I occasionally blog. Yes, I use email. Yes, I internet shop. But compared to the kids of 97-on, or even early 90s on, I don't use social media half as much. I have no desire to ever get a Twitter. I don't understand it. I don't Instagram. I hate most of the YouTube craze videos (I love YouTube for watching shows and commercials of my generation, though!) I remember when there WAS NO YOUTUBE. Someone born in 97 was 8 when YouTube came to be. I doubt they much remember it not being a thing. I don't even pretend to know what Reddit is. And I most definitely disapprove of how technology-based society is. I use it a lot, but if I could go back to a simpler time when people weren't on their phones in social situations, when people looked at each other, when people weren't so rude, I totally would. And I remember such a time!!!!!!! Someone born in the early 90s, let alone the late 90s, probably doesn't remember much about a world like that. GET OFF MY LAWN, GRUMBLE, GRUMBLE!!!!!!!

Oh, and those "old people in college"? Yeah, I totally am one, now. The kids who are 18-19 all group together and don't give me the time of day, nor do I to them. The ladies who are about 40 talk to me and I talk to them. I am closer in age to them than to someone who is 18. Yet, someone who is 18 is supposedly part of my generation??? How is this possible? I also notice a huge difference in work ethic between people in class who are 18 and the older set. I fear for the future. GET OFF MY LAWN AGAIN!!!

In summation, there is a lot more that I could say on this subject, but I think I've made my point. I am not a millennial. People who were born in the early 80s should not be labeled as such. I'd rather be in the no-man's land that my husband often falls into. I think that anyone born from about 1979-85 doesn't really fall into Gen X, or Gen Y (Millennial). We need a new label. By the same token, people born from 87-93 should probably have their own generation, too, and so on. These generation labels are too "one size fits all," and I am tired of falling in between the "You Know You're an 80s kid" and "You Know You're a 90s kid" posts on the internet. End rant.


  1. I knew that conversation the other night was going to end up causing a ruckus!

  2. Wait, wait...I already forgot the conversation! Hahaha! Or I vaguely remember, but at any rate, this post wasn't caused by that :-) I just keep seeing things on the internet that say I am a Millennial. And that essentially groups me in the same generation as some of your kiddos, whose parent I'm old enough to be. LOL!