Friday, April 07, 2006

Millenials In The New Millenium

Echo Boomer: Guilty As Charged, But Not Ashamed
By Kate Nichols

If nothing else, I certainly have a respect for the opinions expressed in the 60 Minutes report on Echo Boomers. I find it almost humorous that my generation has been pinpointed so well.

I use Aveda shampoo and paint my nails with Chanel polish. Guilty as charged…but by no means ashamed. I too was shipped from volleyball practice to dance lessons and back home to work on 17 school projects – all by the age of eight –- but was also given the choice of whether I wanted to do any of it at all. Except for the projects -– those were clearly mandatory.

“Pressured” is a word I’ve head so often and only used on several occasions. Pressure from my parents, never -- from teachers, rarely. Any pressure I’ve ever felt has come directly from the nagging voice inside my own head. I don’t want to let myself down with any task I undertake, be it a projected successful trip to the vintage store where I regularly shop, or the 2,000-word essay due in my narrative fiction class. These things are important to me, both carrying heavy weight, yet each on their own distinct level.

I do tend to disagree that we are dissimilar from our parents in the ways of self-centeredness. This may be one voice separated from a large generation, but I feel that I resemble both of my parents in my unselfish, non-inflated composition. Where I love being part of a team, I also enjoy leading the ranks. It is for certain a grey area passed on by my confident father and reserved mother.

It is interesting, as a simple notion, to depict a generation that is not your own. I wasn’t there to analyze the money my father spent on love beads or the money my mother spent on her Jaguar. But reading about how my habits are characterized is an interesting experience. It forces me to look at my generation from a different point of view. If we are changing the economy, changing society, changing the way media elites feel they need to advertise, then so be it. I do not consider my spending habits every time I make a purchase, nor do I construct a journal entry time I store half of my weekly paycheck into a savings account. These things are habits for a reason.

Yet seeing them analyzed and characterized so well and so appropriately is somewhat of a comforting thought. We’re doing all of this? My generation? It’s fabulous. It’s also alarming. Perhaps groupthink has stifled my ambition and self-assuredness. Maybe I have come to rudely expect instant gratification. Yet, as thought-provoking as these things may be, I find it hard to state that I am unhappy with myself or the generation I am inevitably a part of. Born in 1986, voting, spending, and saving my way towards tomorrow. Eventually, I’ll analyze whoever comes next.

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