What does it really mean to be a GenY or Millennial twentysomething? Countless research studies, articles, and Millennial “experts” are out there telling us this is who GenY and Millennials are — but are they right? Well it’s time we went straight to the source – actual GenY and Millennial twentysomethings. Crazy, I know.

What you’ll find below is A STELLAR LIST from fellow twentysomethings, including myself, on what it really means to be a GenY or Millennial twentysomething.

 

31-Ways-You-Know-You're-a-Gen-Y-Twentysomething

                          Picture by Malingering – Creative Commons

 

YOU MIGHT BE A GENY TWENTYSOMETHING IF…

1.‘You have died of dysentery’ does not sound morbid at all, but only stirs fond memories of playing Oregon Trail. ~ Me

2. Sometimes when someone is talking to me I completely tune out and just start counting how many times they say “like”. ~ Micah

Mariokart picture

3. You’ve learned the best way to communicate is to ignore some one’s phone call, let them leave a message, listen to the message, then respond back to them with a text message, that way you keep personal contact to a minimum. ~Adam

4. “Do you have any kids” has somehow become a normal question people ask me. ~ Mike

5. I miss school. And so do you. But it’s impossible to communicate that to someone who is actually in school. ~ Mike

6. You remember how cool it felt to get a pager. ~ Me

7. You know that if Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible. Ruminations.com

carmen sandiego plus where's waldo

8. You grieve all the day when you spill coffee on something that is “dry clean only.” ~ Me

9. You know what pogs are. ~ Me

10. You thought Mary-Kate and Ashley were adorable. And now they kinda scare you. ~ Katie

11. Somewhere deep in your parents house resides a sweet collection of pogs. ~ Me

12. Somewhere in your parents house resides a sweet collection of mixed tapes. And/or you’ve given a mixed tape of love songs to a girlfriend or boyfriend. And to this day, that mixed tape was the most time you’ve ever spent on a gift. ~ Me

13. Soon it will be perfectly acceptable and customary to ask a girl to marry you via a Facebook wall post. ~ Adam

14.Dry clean only” actually means “I’ll never, ever, ever wash this.” ~ Me

15. While driving yesterday you saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it…thanks Mario Kart. Ruminations.com

16. You ironed your dress shirts for the first month of your new job, and then decided a much easier strategy was just to stop believing that wrinkles exists. ~ Me

17. You can’t believe you actually ran when girls tried to kiss you as a kid. ~ Me

18. In your memory, the best TV can be summed up with four letters (T-G-I-F)… until you actually watch one of those shows, that is. ~ Mike

full house plus family matters

19. ‘Who was hotter — Kelly Kapowski or Topanga Lawrence?’ is a very legitimate debate. ~ Paul

20. You still can’t believe your parents turned your old bedroom into an office. Did your time with them mean nothing? Shouldn’t your bedroom have been left intact as a permanent shrine? ~ Me

21. You’ve prayed for the invention of sarcasm fontRuminations.com

22. Mario Brothers 3 for Regular Nintendo is still your favorite video game. ~ Me

23. You know exactly what Up, Down, Up, Down, Left, Right, Left Right, B, A, B, A, Select, Start means. ~ Me

24. You feel like a kid most of the time, until you see a real kid and think, “good Lord, kids are really young these days.” ~ Mike

25. You prayed daily that you could have an Uncle Jesse and Uncle Joey. ~ Megan

26. You’ve wished that Disney continued having perverted, subliminal messages. It certainly didn’t affect my childhood and it makes it more fun for us to watch. ~ Micahfruity pebbles

27. Standing over the sink is a totally normal place to eat breakfast. ~ Mike

28. Eating Fruity Pebbles over the sink is a totally normal dinner. ~ Me

29. You’ve wondered how growing up, we were allowed to all play Smear the Queer at recess? And how were we allowed to call it Smear the Queer? And how did every kid across the USA know about Smear the Queer? We didn’t have the internet. Did the elaborate Smear the Queer ground rules get relayed by Timmy from Tulsa via carrier pigeon? ~ Paul

30. People are beginning to point out your gray hair. “Wow, thank you for letting me know I have gray hair. I’ve never noticed that before.” (Dang it. Where’s sarcasm font when I need it?!) ~ Me

31. You now understand what your parents meant when they said, ‘You’ll understand when you get older.’ ~ Me

What additions do you have for — You Might be a GenY 20something if? What did we leave out? Add to the list below.

Snag the 21 Secrets for your 20s eBook. For Free.


 

What will you do when you grow up? Our whole lives we’ve been asked this one question. How do we find the answer?

As kids, the answer was easy. A football player. A fire fighter. A ballerina, doctor, politician, lawyer, or President of the USA.

We all had our answer concerning some far off world — where all our dreams and talents converged into the rest of our amazing adult lives.

When I was a kid and my Aunt asked me about Future Adult Paul, I confidently told her I was going to play professional baseball for the Colorado Rockies. But I was a bit of a realist even then, so I had a Plan B. If baseball didn’t work out, I told her I planned on winning the lottery. She laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

What was so funny?

All Groan Up PictureAs We Grow Up

College comes and goes and we begin to realize. We start figuring the odds. We see how many people want the same dream. How many people can dance more gracefully, swing the bat better, solve the problem quicker. Our childhood dreams become just that — dreams, no longer able to breathe in this stuffy adult world. To settle or not to settle becoming the crux question of our twenties.

Your Aunt asks what you’re going to do, this time at your college graduation party.

This time, you don’t know what to tell her.

“So what do you do?” It’s our conversation starter. Our flint. We hope it sparks a picture of this person. What job is you? A tough answer when your job, or lack of job, is anything but.

We are a culture of doers. Of accomplishers — of titles — of my car is faster than yours. My Facebook profile shines and sparkles with more gold medals and blue ribbons — and you should go ahead and commence feeling jealous.

However is what do you do even the right question? Is our calling on this earth just about what we do? Or is it more?

Maybe instead of asking what will you do, we should be asking what are we going to be when we grow up? Not what are we going to do, what profession are we going to follow or keep on following, what niche are we going to occupy in the order of things. But are we going to be – inside ourselves and among ourselves?” Fredrick Buechner

We are obsessed with doing. What about our being? Apart from any label, any name tag you might slap across your chest. As we grow up we will wear many suits, some will fit better than others.  But when we’re doing nothing worth bragging about, who will we be? Maybe that should be the question.

Anyone else have a disparity between what you thought you’d be doing and what you are? Thoughts?

Today’s post comes from Therese Schwenkler who writes for the young & confused at TheUnlost.com. Her mission: to bring more & better direction to today’s generation. Find out why it’s OK to be lost & confused or why she’s getting naked for 3,737 people. Therese tweets at @tschwenkler.

 

Nine full workweeks.

During a nerdy time tracking experiment that I did last year, I found that I spent an average of 350 hours, or nine full workweeks per year, browsing Facebook.

Barf.

Even worse, I spent only about 100 hours (less than a third of my Facebook time) engaging in meaningful face-to-face interactions with the important people in my life.

“OMG,” I thought to myself. “WTF is going on?”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Whoever that guy was, he was freaking right.

So, how to avoid the egregious mistake of wasting our lives away? How can we engage in The Book of Faces (and our other online faves) without allowing our lives to become consumed by the irrelevant?

I don’t have all the answers, but here are the five tips that have helped me draw the line.

Picture of Facebook Rolling Through Your Life

1. First things first

What is it that’s really, super important to you– as in, if you looked back on your life as an old person, what will have made your life worth living? Figure out what these things are, and then schedule out specified blocks of time for these activities each day. Honoring these commitments should always, always come first– no matter what.

2. Create physical barriers

When you’re engaging in the activities that matter most to you, it’s imperative that you’re fully present. And– well, having internet access just a click away or having notifications constantly pop up on your phone is like putting a hot fudge sundae in front of a dieter: it just doesn’t work. Remove the temptation and your life will be much, much easier.

There are a lot of ways to do this: leave your phone at home or in your car while participating in important activities. Turn off your phone notifications (or delete your Facebook app altogether) if you find yourself getting too distracted throughout the day. Block your internet access (or specified sites) for periods of time– there’s software for this.

3. Cut down your news feed

Ideally, we can use Facebook purposefully– to nurture our relationships and to add value to our lives and to the lives of others. If you find yourself doing the opposite– e.g., looking through irrelevant (but interesting) photos of people you hardly know partying in Japan (yeah, so maybe this happened to me), then consider either defriending these people or removing their updates from your news feed. Alternatively, you can create a list of “important people” and filter your news feed to show only these people’s updates.

4. Up the relevancy

On the flip side, if there are people or pages who deliver value and meaning to your life, then adding them to your news feed might actually be time well spent. Like– you know, maybe pages like All Groan Up and The Unlost (just sayin’). The stuff in your news feed should be making you smarter, more centered, and more grounded– not the other way around.

5. Set a limit

Sometimes I get so sucked into my news feed that I don’t even realize how much time is passing by. To help, try setting a timer for a specified amount of “FB time.” When the timer goes off, get off the computer. Because, hey, sometimes it’s OK to treat yourself like a 5 year-old.

Got any more tips? Add them to the comments below.




 

Amusing Ourselves to Death

 

“…Americans are the best entertained and quite likely the least well-informed people in the Western world”

 
Do You Have Facebook? Why Not? What's Wrong With You?
Just a take a moment and let that statement marinate. Is it even shocking? Or have I already lost you to a Youtube video of a dancing cat?

And can you believe the quote above was not even written in 2011, but in 1985 – before Netflix, TIVO, iPhones, streaming Internet (or really any internet), no Facebook, no Twitter, no newscast about a Bedroom Intruder watched a shade over 33 million times (with it’s Auto-tuned rendition gaining a few additional views – like around 81 million).

1985 was Branson, Missouri compared to our 2011 Las Vegas on streaming steroids. So what did Neil Postman write in his prophetic book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, that might be truer now than ever for Millennials, Gen Y, and Emerging Adults – making it number 18 on my 20 for 20somethings book countdown.

AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH?!Amusing Ourselves to Death Picture - Neil Postman

First, let me admit that I read part of Amusing Ourselves to Death while flying from Boston to LA on Virgin Airlines with their new on-board computer screen embedded in the chair in front of me. As I turned to page fifty, I had to add a few songs to my tailored onboard playlist, which led me to message seat 15F through the Plane Chatroom, which then persuaded me to watch a TED talk for a little break.

I didn’t make it back to the book that day.

The irony wasn’t lost.

I write about millennials and Gen Y amusing ourselves to death because I feel myself slipping into an entertainment-coma.

TWO KEYS POINTS ABOUT AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH FOR YOU TO TWEET AND FACEBOOK

 

1. We are the Most Informed, Uninformed People in the History of the World.

 

We possess unfathomable amounts of information at our fingertips. Millions of links, messages, “this video is Hi-larious” dance across our eyes every day. We can know real time that the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic is having Macadamia Nut Ice Cream for dessert, while at the same time not know where the Czech Republic is on a map or that the Czech Republic is even a country (I had to Wikipedia it myself just to make sure).

Postman worried that television was providing us with rapid and ramped disinformation – “misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented, or superficial information — information that creates the illusion of knowing something but which in fact leads one away from knowing” (Postman, 107). Wow, and he wrote this before Facebook?!Follow Me on Twitter. Please. I Need Affirmation. Please

Do you know how many blogs there are currently on the Internet? Take a guess. One million? Five? Ten million? You’re colder than a naked man jumping in Lake Michigan in November.

There are 162,021,094 blogs as of today, May 17 2011. With 69,214 blogs started in the last 24 hours! (http://www.blogpulse.com/). That’s similar to an entire stadium full of people at a college football game creating a WordPress account all at the same time. (Note to Self: Buy stock in WordPress)

There are 110,000,000 tweets per day. (http://blogs.forbes.com/). That’s 110 million shouts for your attention from 109 million “Social Media Experts” trained at yelling the loudest and the most persuasively.

People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook! (https://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics)

That roughly comes out to every person on Earth spending 100 minutes a month on Facebook. And since we know billions of people don’t even have Internet access, the rest of us are making up for it with millions of LOL’s and You Got to See This! And just writing the word “Facebook” prompted me (how well conditioned does Mark Zuckerberg have me?) to go and check my Facebook …

….and 14 minutes later…

2. Most Our Information Does Not Lead to Action

Let’s say you heard Paul Revere yell “the British are coming!” You would have jumped and grabbed your gun.

What was our reaction when we first heard of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers? Did most of us jump to action? No, we glued ourselves to the TV. Then what did most of us do after the news took us through all the cliff-hangers? We ate dinner in our college cafeteria. Or maybe we met a small group of people to pray. Or maybe we just turned on a re-run of Friends to forget about it all for a while.

John Stewart and Stephen Colbert Oil PaintingFor most Americans, the worst event of this generations’ history required most of us to do… absolutely nothing. Maybe a class or two was cancelled and we had longer lines at the airport. But we collectively did not act upon the events of 9/11. No, we consumed 9/11. Just like we eat up Jersey Shore, the Royal Wedding, Osama’s death, or American Idol. We watch not to act upon — but ultimately to be entertained under the guise of staying “informed”. As Postman wrote way back in 1985, we have a glut of information about “a sea of facts from unknown places about strangers with unknown faces.”

Yes, we have a huge obesity problem in this country and it’s not just from ice cream and fried Twinkies. No we are morbidly obese on information – useless facts that are high in fat and sugar, that require us to do absolutely nothing. We lay on the couch and consume – Anderson Cooper and John Stewart our potato chips and M & M’s.

AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH IN 2011

If 1985 felt like we were on the “verge” of amusing ourselves to death, where are we in 2011? Do we have our hind parts planted squarely in graves — accompanied of course with our iPhone, True Blood series and 1,239 Twitter followers clamoring for a seat next to us? And do we even care? I can almost hear us now.

Go ahead. Bring the shovel and cover me with dirt. I don’t care. I have Snooki!

(And the fact that most of us know who Snooki actually is, and we actually care, well that is why we are in such deep freaking Snooki!)

So what? This is just more information, on just another blog, sandwiched in between the 162 million others. What does it matter?

Am I telling you to delete your Facebook account? Maybe – but honestly I probably won’t. But it does beg the question – do we have Facebook or does Facebook have us?

Or maybe you should not watch TV for a week or a month to see what happens to your entertainment appetite away from your electronic teet? All of us who swear we don’t have enough time in the day might magically discover hours just waiting to be used with purpose.

Maybe we should pick up a book this week – and no, nothing in the Harry Potter/Twilight Young Adult category – the most popular books amongst 25-33 year olds, and of course, 13-15 year olds too. Amusing Ourselves to Death might be a good place to start.

Maybe just schedule into your day ten minutes of silence with no other message warring for your thoughts. When’s the last time you gave yourself permission to think?

Our Founding Fathers spent their lives to give us the freedom and right to read, to think, to form an opinion and voice it. So it is a profound turn of events that we have voluntarily chosen to lock ourselves back up without little protest. “America was founded by intellectuals, from which it has taken us two centuries and a communications revolution to recover” (Postman, p. 41).

But if you don’t choose to change anything, I understand.

And to thank you for reading this far, I give you a fat dancing cat exercising in front of a TV. Be entertained!

Amusing Ourselves to Death? Agree or Disagree? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Copyrights © 2010 Paul Angone. All Rights Reserved