We are growing up in a time of expansion, technology, excitement and confusion.
We are bombarded with images, information and ideas at an unprecedented speed.
We are Millennials.
Just like the children of the printing press were unlike any generation before them.
Or the generations after Edison, Jefferson, the Industrial revolution.
The thing is, people weren't called selfish because they wanted electricity, or to drive a car.
Generations before us weren't accused of narcissism when they sat for months to have their portraits painted.
(OK Maybe they were, but it feels a little more targeted these days.)
We take advantage of the unfathomable technology at our fingertips and are chastised for being obsessed.
We are crippled by boundless options, and look at lives with no clear path, questioning everything.
We reel from the economic deficit that's been dealt to us, while competing in an antagonistic job market.
And then we are called lazy.
According to some, we are "not interested in developing a meaningful philosophy of life."
We are very interested in developing a meaningful philosophy of life. We are just redefining what that means.
We are discovering uncharted terrain.
And sometimes you have to get a little lost.
We are EXPLORERS.
We are pioneers.
We are pirates.
We are movie makers for the masses.
We are professional phoneographers.
We are authors with fewer words.
We are brave.
We are engaged.
We are terrified.
We are impatient.
We are greedy.
We are ravenous.
We are uninsured.
We are unmarried.
We are unemployed.
We live at home because no one will pay us for jobs that ten years ago would never have been considered to be done for free.
We rent because we've seen what happens with ownership.
We date because we've experienced what happens to marriage.
We're afraid of commitment, but we thrust our every thought on to the internet for people to see.
We are a paradox.
We are the most educated generation to date.
We are addicted to Candy Crush.
We defend women's rights and same-sex marriage.
We drink Pabst Blue Ribbon and grow ironic facial hair.
We are dealing with the effects of a massive economic recession and are recovering from multiple wars.
We smoke pot - sometimes even legally.
We are "trophy kids" spawned from "helicopter parents."
We express ourselves with emojis.
We are being left with a global climate crisis.
We spend hours of our lives online.
We live in a stagnant job market.
We take selfies. We take Gap Years. We take things for granted.
We are NEW.
We are FIGURING. SHIT. OUT.
However. Despite any arguments we may have against our adversaries, there are some definite things that need to be examined.
Our state of affairs invites a few reflections.
1. We will Put the Screens Away
Less Facebook, Less Facetime, More Face to Face.
No more vines of twerking, no more real housewives.
We have the right to explore the cyber world we've been given, but we will also try to focus on the here and now in front of us. Even if it means taking a picture of it on our phones.
2. We will Stop Questioning Every Move
From what frozen pizza to buy, to what grad school to attend, to how to function in our relationship, we will trust ourselves and lessen our avalanche of anxiety.
We will learn that there really is no right right except the one that makes us happy.
3. We will Respect Each Other
No more name calling.
No more "fat." No more "ugly."
No more slut-shaming, no more twitter-wars, no more anonymous hateful trolling.
NO more bullying.
No more unnecessary judgement. We will defend the underdog.
And we will permit equal rights to all men and women.
4. We will Take Responsibility
We will acknowledge the power of words.
We will share thoughts and information in a positive way.
We will give constructive criticism and receive it with grace.
We will own up to mistakes and THINK before posting, before acting, before making a move.
We will not misappropriate cultural property.
We will use less airbrush.
We will take ownership of our ideas, bodies, lives, safety, consumerism, relationships and futures.
We will not deflect blame.
5. We Will Use Our Powers For Good
Despite frustration with our critics, we DO need to step up for the good of the planet. We need to help the people, the climate, the country.
We could spend a little less time focusing on uptown problems, and more energy on what really matters.
We will be optimistic, we will contribute, we will engage, we will be team players on a global level.
6. We Will Look to the Future
We will provide generation Z with proper role models, a sense of confidence and security, and a decent and kind world to live in.
And maybe someone could invent a calorie-free pizza...
Teleportation would be pretty cool too.