Millennial Observations


What we need to be told about the decade that defines us.

The 20’s are period of intense ups and downs, where we drift conveniently-or as we are about to discover, not so - somewhere between adolescence and adulthood.

Currently, our society tells us that 20-somethings are best years of our lives. This is partly true- we should take these years as an opportunity to explore and misbehave while our baggage is still light. After-all we don’t have kids, husbands, mortgages, geriatric parents who need care, artheristis, chronic back pain etc. Indeed, we do what we think make-up “the best years of our lives”. We bounce from place to place, shared apartment to mum and dad’s, house party to festival, part-time job to unemployment, relationship to one night stands, Instagram to Twitter-as a means of catharsis.

We look neither forwards nor backwards, but directly down, at our perfectly-shaped youthful belly-buttons, around which the world revolves. No one is telling us what to do, only blindly supporting us on our journey of self-discovery. But 8 years down the line all of a sudden we’re 30 and turn around to see the blazing a trail of ignorance and carelessness we created in our 20s. Then what?

The worst lie we can be told (or tell ourselves) is that these years are inconsequential. It is frighteningly easy to forget that these years are happening in real-time. If we look at what our grandparents were doing at our age, pretty much all of them were married and most of them already had kids.

Granted, it was a totally different time. A time when young families could survive off a single income (usually grandpa’s) and property price was inconceivably low. Relationships seemed easy without Tinder and Hinge, and the pill was only just coming around so casual sex was risky(er). Marriages lasted because divorce was discountenanced and the breadwinner was likely to stay in the same job for most of their life because those were the times. They were forced into real adulthood at 20-something (sometimes younger) and managed to pull it off impeccably.

Next came our parents generation. The 60’s kids who grew up with the pill, saw divorce, took drugs, rebelled, got fired, and essencially brought about a huge change for us. They left home later, had casual sex, believed in free love and free speech and saw the devil in conformity.

Article by Tessa Kaye
Illustrations by Tessa Kaye

Arguably, the rebellion of our parents’ generation is, by and large, responsible for the way in which we go about our 20’s. The most autobiographically consequential years of young-adult life now becomes a sort of “inbetween time”. Because of them, we’re led to believe that what we do in our 20s isn’t really important because “30 is the new 20”.

Consequentially, they put less pressure on us to decide what we want to do and where we want to go because they are much more empathetic to what we are going through. They want us to live the way they lived out their 20’s, only without the outrage and disappointment they faced from their parents.

This is all well and good, only when they were going through it, jobs were easier to get, unpaid internships were a joke, student debt was non-existent and property prices were manageable. Whats more, their self-esteem wasn't being continuously pulverised by social media and they were considerably less sensitive and fragile. They’ve got thick skin and big egos as a result of being raised by politically incorrect outspoken war-survivors. They are a ruthless generation who believe thoroughly in their own  potential and value.

It is with this confidence that they allow us to peruse whatever we want and tell us anything is possible. The world is our oyster and we should just have fun while we can before we’re locked into a boring career until retirement. Everything will fall into place by the time we’re 30 because... that’s the way it goes.

In reality, our 20s are critical developmental periods. Without sounding frantic or condescending (how can I be, I’m going through it) all the decisions we make now, whether we realise it or not, will have an effect of our later life. We are literally creating ourselves amongst the chaos and anxiety of finding ourselves. Ontop of that, jobs are nearly impossible to get, unpaid internships are the norm, student debt... let’s not even get into it, and propery!? Forget about it.

These are the times we live in, and now, more than ever, we need to focus our 20-something-year-old selves to start making serious adult moves.
So. To conclude, don’t waste your time galavanting around meaninglessly. It’s not our fault we’ve been sold a lie but now we know it’s all bullshit it’s high time we switch gears.

TINT / Creative Collective / Barcelona