In the first few moments of the show, The Newsroom, Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, is at a town hall meeting. He is with a panel debating politics when the moderator asks a simple question, “What makes America the greatest country in the world, or not?” Will deflects the answer, but the moderator is insistent. Annoyed, Will goes on to give a passionate rant about his thoughts on the state of America, providing one of the most compelling moments in the entire series. This leaves me to ask a similar question, “Millennials, what makes you the greatest generation in America, or not?”
In the past few years there has been much talk about the Millennial generation. Most of it has been criticizing Millennials of being egotistical, narcissistic and lazy. But in the last year new studies have come out to show a clearer picture as to the state of their generation. I am one of those Millennials and like the rest of my generation, I too at times have felt confused about my life, my career, my purpose and how to make a living for myself. I have felt more helpless than hopeful. I have felt drowned by the debt that my college loans left me with. I have seen more of my income go towards debt payment than towards savings. I have found myself saying no to friends and family rather than yes in order to save money. In other words, like most of my generation, I have felt stuck.
But in all the struggle, we are still trying to find happiness in the little things. Unlike any other generation, Millennials find that they are willing to forgo a high salary for a job that gives more freedom, more community, frequent feedback verses yearly reviews and flexibility of working at home. More than ever this generation wants to have an impact on family, their children and their community and they are willing to sacrifice for it now, verses waiting for later, even if that means living it debt for many more years to come.
The ideal I want to propose is that the time is now to be more giving than ever. That may sound counter to what I have expressed above, but I am not talking about giving money to buisnesses and non-profits, but towards your co-workers, friends, family and community; putting your money and time where it matters the most. Millennials are the most educated generation ever, use your education for influence and change. Now is the time to start living for giving more and spending less on yourself. It is time to invest more intelligently in things that will enhance your life now but also create for a better future. Now is the time to start finding a way to create a lifestyle to help get yourself and those around you out of debt. I am confident that through community living, selfless giving, and smart habits we will rise up out of personal debt and become happier and more benevolent than any other generation to have lived on American soil.
We are not the greatest generation, but we can be.
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