The Quarter Life Crisis: Pt 2
There’s a reason Millennials are sometimes called “The Peter Pan Generation.” And no, it’s not because Dustin Hoffman keeps challenging us to a duel (though, he does do that—it’s getting old, Dustin). It’s because we have elongated the third act of our youth to an utterly Apatowian extent. And that’s not an unfounded assessment. It’s one of the aspects of my generation I’m most frustrated by. But why is it true? What does it mean? Does it need to be fixed? If so, how? Some try to claim the reason is that our generation is as lazy as that shitty hypophoral rhetorical device I just used. But that claim itself is lazy. It assumes we as a generation have no mindfulness or concern or aspiration. And that’s just stupid. We gave you Facebook. Aha! I Hadukened your Yoga Fire.
Which brings us to exhibit A: Video Games.
Why do all us Millennial manbabies still play video games? The answer is actually quite simple. Millennials were the first kids with real buying power. Our dads had to work the graveyard shift at the glass sharding plant to earn enough nickels to buy those packs of baseball cards with the asbestos gum in them. And not necessarily because their parents were poor, but because their parents grew up poor. We weren’t allowed to work as children (not that we would have wanted to). And the glass sharding plant was shut down and all those good American sharding jobs were shipped over to Indonesia. And we were spoiled. When we demanded Nintendos, we got them. Hell, some of us demanded two just to see how far we could take it. We got two. Plus a Genesis, because Sonic. What resulted was a shift in cultural commodification. Kids demanded cool expensive stuff, and their parents bought it for them, so companies kept making cooler and more expensive stuff.
Kiddy Tech boomed when we were kiddies. And as we matured, so did the tech. Now, we make the tech. And we make it for us. And the buying power of dumb little kids hasn’t eased up as Millennials have aged. If it had, nobody would give a shit about One Direction or Twilight. Alas. Then, there’s education. Millennial schooling happened in slow motion. We’re really effing smart because growing up with computers made us experts at figuring stuff out for ourselves. But we’re also sort of dumb, because of the 10-inch padded walls of the insane asylum that was our education. This all came to a head in college. College used to be a choice, but it has become an expectation. Most graduating high schoolers end up in college. That drives down the standard of secondary education and drive up the class sizes, and it makes our degrees a lot less meaningful.
Instead of mentioning my BA in my resume, I just talk about this cool bike I got when I was 8. It’s more impressive. And resulted in at least twice as many wheelies. So college is the new high school. And it ends when you’re 21 or 22. That’s old. If you want some true higher education, that’s another couple years in Grad school. Now all of a sudden you’re 25 and you’ve never had a real job. The other big factor is that friggin’ economy everybody’s been talking about. Millennials are sometimes pejoratively referred to as the “boomerang generation.” Ha ha, he he, get it? We return home to live with our parents after college. It’s all part of our master plan to be losers!
In fact, most of us move back in with our parents because our post-collegiate prospects tend to fall under one of three categories: A) Unpaid internships, B) Customer service, or C) a combination of plasma donation and battles of the bands. And what your economics professors don’t tell you is that even when you win, you still have to split the $50 and a case of Heineken amongst six people. Time to kick Dave out. You don’t need a sitar in a Post-Morose Mime-Pop band.mSo here we are, we late twenties/early thirties adolescents, we serial internet daters, we PBR binge-drinkers, playing Call of Duty in our underwear.
I see this as an inhibitor because I’ve been in a hurry to grow up since I was 8. The year I got that bike. I always thought I’d have a career and a wife and kids and a reclining sectional with a fridge built right in by this age. But I don’t. I have a futon. And it was given to me. And I’ve moved it. Twice. But that’s okay. Because I’ve realized that extended adolescents can be a gift. I had 5 more years to figure out how to be an adult. And I’m still pretty bad at it. I can’t pay bills on time, and I hate doing the dishes. But when I think back to when I was 22, all I can see is a kid woefully unprepared to engage with his desired life path. Now, 5 years later, I feel extremely motivated to make my shit happen. I’ve narrowed my focus. I’ve taken dream job-specific courses. I’ve buzzed the sides and back of my head because it elongates my big round skull. I’ve been on third dates. I’ve upped the thread count on my sheets by 20%. And I can also bro down on some PS3. Which makes me the coolest.