As the regulars know in these parts, on my 9-5 I’ve been working with millennials for the better part of the past decade. It’s been a very fun and interesting experience. The one thing I can say unequivocally is that this is one of the lonelier generations around.
Well, hear me out for a second. Yes, there’s social media. Yes, in the right positions you can argue that there’s a lot more freedom of movement and a shrinking of the global community makes it easier to see other things. But, millennials are still a bit more lonely than you think. Look more closely. You see people delaying children – or forgoing in some cases – for careers and higher education opportunities. People have to work a lot harder than ever in order to maintain their current standards of living. Which means contact with others are limited to very narrow channels – much of it is through social media.
It’s amazing to see that for me growing up, I was so used to playing in the streets in the summer with friends…being one with my environment. Now, in those days some may say I wasn’t in the bushes exploring as much as others…but hey, I put in my time. I was amazed at how wide-eyed some of the youth I worked with would act when we took them away on a weekend camping trip.
Now, this isn’t an indictment of millennials. They’re playing by slightly different rules because their environment is vastly different than what I saw in my day. Still, the increased access to technology and singular focus on survival really constraints interactions. I like social media but it has some very toxic elements fueled by its incessant usage as a major millennial outlet.
So where do we go from here? Well, I’m not sure. I often get in a back and forth about appropriate social media usage to teens, which is about as helpful sometimes as watching a Trump speech. Still, it ultimately it to millennials to shape their own future as others have done before them. Still, the only real cure for loneliness is the company of another…face to face, not faces in screens while sitting next to each other…