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“The sorrow of young millennials”
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“The sorrow of young millennials”

 The millennial generation has been criticised as self-indulgent and lacking in the discipline to meet traditional goals in life. Hsin-Yi Lo, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Melbourne, Australia, presents a different view of the hurdles facing her generation. 

Young Australian property developer Tim Gurner kicked up a social media storm when he claimed millennials can afford their first homes if they stopped buying $4 coffees and fancy avocado toast for breakfast. Such sweeping statements perpetuate the stereotype that millennials are idle slackers. Even though we’re in our golden years, not many understand the grinding pressures we feel living in a deadline-driven society.

Millennials are hailed as the luckiest generation. Compared to previous generations we’re more educated, we’re globetrotters, and our technological savvy is the ticket to boundless career opportunities and development. With these ideas instilled in us from a very young age, we believe we’re destined not to fail and buckle down to a life that we didn’t dream of. The quintessential journey of life is to graduate, get a high-paying dream job, buy a home and settle down with a family.

Despite the flying start in our young lives, millennials are actually doing it tough because of the sheer competition in the small job market. Job prospects in Australia have declined, with many graduates struggling to get full-time work. We spend excruciating hours typing up applications, feeling the brunt of rejections, and wondering if our hard work would be fruitless. We also face the uphill battle of employers who expect a wealth of experience from neophytes who have just graduated.

Living in a fast-paced and deadline-driven society, we want to reach our milestones before a certain age otherwise we’re left behind. And thus the quarter-life crisis stalks us like a looming shadow constantly reminding us of our setbacks.

Social media is our enemy as it’s become our source of low self-esteem. We start comparing our lives with friends when we see them posting about their lucrative careers and fun-filled adventures. The job we have, and the company we work for, dictates the level of our social prestige so there’s the extra pressure to seek validation. With these ideas constantly hammering in our malleable minds, our pride becomes wounded easily if we don’t reach our goals by a targeted date.

Then housing affordability is the next beast to tackle. In the past 20 years, the average Sydney house rose from $233,250 in 1997 to $1,190,390 in 2017. In Melbourne, property prices rose from $142,000 to $943,100. Many of my friends are still living with their parents, hoping to save enough money for their first deposit. This trend is obviously growing, though research has shown adult children are less happy with their lives compared to ones who have moved out. Still, the competitive job market makes it harder for millennials to find a full-time job with a salary that could support independent living.

Western societies, in particular, expect fledgling young adults to leave their nest and spread their wings towards independence. Moving out and finding your own place is the rite to passage to adulthood and maturity. My friends and I have lamented our misfortune at these tough times, and we have felt left behind because some of our peers have secured a property rather than surviving on rent.

Mr. Gurner wasn’t the only criticising millennials, but leading Australian social commentator Bernard Salt also shares the same sentiment. Perhaps there’s some degree of truth in their words as studies have shown that the Me Generation has a more bloated sense of self. This self-entitled attitude has softened our endurance to hardships, setbacks and sudden changes.

Achieving your dreams is the optimal fulfillment in life, and we should try our best. But just like anything in life, things change and it’s beyond our control. We need to acknowledge our current surroundings, adapt and make the best out of it for ourselves. Comparing ourselves with others will only lead to sadness because we’ll never be satisfied.

Sure enough, not all things we have planned would work out, but remember there’s always another road you can take. Don’t let a moment of obstinance deter you from seeing the bigger picture of things.

The inventor and scientist Alexander Graham Bell once said: “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us”.

Reach me on Twitter @hsinyilo

photo credit: MarkMoz12 Home For Sale Sign via photopin (license)
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About me: I am a Multimedia Journalism Masters student at the University of Kent, UK. I am originally from Melbourne, Australia. I aspire to be a journalist because I enjoy story-telling and sharing knowledge and ideas. My interests are reading non-fiction, listening to music, sports, and travel.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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