The ME Generation: Advances in Entitlement

July 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm (Culture, Media, Philosophy, Social Change) (, , , , , , , , , )

They come in countless forms:

  • The fifteen year-old neighbor whose parents bought her a car for raising her GPA to 3.0
  • The principal’s son, who thinks he knows everything
  • The group of 20 somethings out on the town that walk in front of your moving car in a gaggle and then gesture rudely at you when you slam on your breaks
       A couple months ago, I received heartbreaking news: I am part of the ME generation. I am an old-timer ME, but technically I made the cut (which is 1980 and I was born in ’81) and I must call myself a member of this most fascinating and unsettling generation. The “ME” has a double-meaning, a dual-edged sword if you will. First and foremost, we are “millennial,” that is, we came to age around the time of the turn of the century.  The second definition is easily seen: we are all about “me.” In fact, I’m pretty sure The Beatles were prophesying about us when they penned the song, “I, Me, Mine.”
       The Millennial Generation is known for being creative, with a desire to impact lasting change, we’re technologically advanced, soaked with self-esteem to the point of reeking and have a desire to work – but only on our terms. Computers, video games and leisure time are aspects that Millennials think ought to be entwined in the workplace. In fact, before the drastic economic downturn, corporations were hiring consultants on how to deal with this new workforce that broke the traditional patterns of work of their parents and grandparents. We are predicated to become the most educated generation yet. (Personally, I blame this on the economy, forcing students who can’t find jobs to return to school in order to defer their loans, but that’s the ME generation in me talking. We are GREAT at assigning blame – whether it belongs there or not).
       Though I am a part of this generation, I am constantly appalled at the level of entitlement people my age (sometimes even me) feel. It’s sort of an ongoing attitude of: “I exist, therefore I am special and different and I ought to be treated as such.” I think the Millennials are at a crucial point that is either going to make us or break us as a generation. Can we let go of handouts, look beyond ourselves and treat others as well as we think we deserve to be treated? Can we sacrifice our time, money, energy and throw ourselves into creative efforts to help others and reach out to the world in a new way?
If we don’t stop gazing at ourselves in the mirror, the world is going to pass us by and any contribution we could have made will become just another regret for us to carry, wondering what would have happened “if.”
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” – Mark Twain
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” – Erma Bombeck

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