The In-Denial Millennial
You like to think you’re Gen Z (born after 1997), but at 26, you’re not. You’re a millennial. A young one. But you’re part of the club (those of us born between 1981 and 1996) nonetheless.
Facebook? Your uncle uses it to post problematic memes – which you always challenge - but you can’t remember your account details because no one your age bothers. TikTok is home and where you spend 75% of your screen time – which, by the way, is down to 80 hours a week after your partial digital cleanse, thank you very much. You had to do something after your claw-like hand started to ache.
You might identify more with Gen Z – your go-to drink is a protein powder shake and, to be fair, you have inherited a lot of Gen Z’s noble traits, like being far more woke than the geriatrics, cuspers and thoroughbreds (more on them later).
You’ve had to teach your older colleagues that full stops are over. Irrelevant. Who needs to indicate when one sentence ends and the other begins anyway?
You think millennials are basic for loving things like brunch and craft beer – but see, there you go again in denial. You don’t have to like craft beer, but don’t pretend you’re not a mid-nineties child.
You’re fun on social media and have a pic-or-it-didn’t-happen approach, and you’re open about everything from periods to mental health. You’re over millennials moaning about being constantly criticised. Get over it.
You were born slap bang in millennial territory, there’s no doubt about it. Cut you open and you bleed avo toast - you resent the cliché, but it’s true. Just DON’T even think about suggesting your avocado habit is the reason you’ll never get on the housing ladder Ok, Boomer? Hellooo, spiraling living costs and the gig economy!
When you were younger you managed to avoid any human contact with your first boyfriend because 98% of the relationship took place on MSN. Username: ‘Rainbowmoshergal89’. Vowels were a pointless inconvenience and cutting them out helped save texting credit: ‘Thnkn of u. TB’
You graduated to Facebook shortly afterwards, where you’d upload photo albums with 90 pictures in after every single night out. Perfectly curated, edited, filtered pictures? What?? You uploaded pictures of the side of your head, the taxi floor, Sarah being sick, and there’s one of Dan’s earlobe hanging off after he walked into a glass door.
Come to think of it, you’ve been meaning to go back through and delete that album of you at a party… with the illegal powder clearly in shot… and that stripper who your guy mates hired for a birthday and you and your friends definitely wouldn’t laugh at today. In fact, you’re ashamed to think about what you accepted as ‘banter’ back then. Employers don’t actually check Facebook anymore, right? Might be best to just delete your account altogether. No one even uses Facebook any more, anyway.
You’re having a bit of an identity crisis, to be honest. You thought you were still young-ish, but you don’t really understand what a Reel is and you’ve started saying things like ‘Aldi do a great hanging egg chair.’ Apparently it’s not cool to use the laughing emoji anymore. You’ve tried out the coffin emoji to show you’re lolling (yes you know, 'lol' is for grans unless there’s 50 ‘O's’ in it and the entire alphabet at the end, loooooooooooooooooooolgx287egq2geogo), but you’ve got to admit, it’s not coming naturally.
Your stomach dropped when you heard skinny jeans are out. Not because you love skinny jeans (well, you do actually. You live in your black Topshop Joni’s) but because you realised you have absolutely no idea what’s ‘in’ anymore. Keeping up used to feel innate and now you have to really put the time in or accept you don’t have your finger on the pulse these days. There’s even a word for how uncool you supposedly are: cheugy. At least you know better than to whip out a sad face emoji.
Self-promotion online doesn’t come naturally, either. You know you’ve got to do it to build your brand but criiiinge at the thought of posting selfies constantly. Do Gen Z have no shame? 40 is still a few years off, thank God, but you did camp out overnight to be first in line at Waterstones when Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets came out.. which probably does show your age.
You haven’t eaten a bread that isn’t sourdough since 2016. You’re determined to stay in touch with the younger ones in your cohort – that’s millennial, thank you very much. Even if you're close to 37 now. What cusp? You belong here!
How dare they! Geriatric? You’re not even 40 yet! Although plans are in motion for the big 4.0 – country house, kids shipped off to stay with the grandparents (lockdowns-permitting) so you and the school gang can blare out Ocean Colour Scene, Oasis and Alanis Morrisette and recreate the Indie night you used to love. G&Ts have replaced the WKD Blue these days.
You’ve never truly identified with either the ‘millennial’ cohort or ‘Gen X’, the generation above, so this new ‘geriatric millennial’ term – which went viral last week after American Writer Erica Dhawan wrote a Medium post about it - could be worse. At least someone bothered to label you finally.
You noticed Urban Outfitters were selling mini cassette players the other day, like the Walkman you’ve still got somewhere at mum and dad’s. Does this mean you could actually flog your old stuff on eBay as 'retro' now? Or start using it again and be considered… cool?
You were one of the first in the country to get a Facebook account, while at university. You still use it a bit to create event invites and keep an eye on people from school, but obviously you know Instagram is where it’s at. TikTok is just videos of people’s pets and 18-year-olds dancing, right? You haven’t got time to learn about it anyway. It was fiddly enough working out how to upload an Instagram story.
Anyway, you’ve hired a 21-year-old who can sort all that out for your business. You definitely plan to get your head around it at some point. Just please God, don’t bring out anything new for a while. Give some of us a chance to catch up.