how to heal the millennial soul, part one.

There’s a certain irony when we read stories about ourselves.

When a teacher reads a news story about gaps in the nation’s education system, for example. Or when a chef reviews a piece on culinary trends. It’s ironic because we insert narratives and ditties and personal tales as we read.

Sometimes we nod in furious agreement, and other times we shake our heads in disgust. In connecting what we read to our own lives, we insert ourselves as mini-experts. And rightfully so; personal stories are what enhance news stories.

So reading about Generation Y, or the Millennial Generation, brings a subtle smirk to my lips. It’s me, my husband, my peers and friends I’m reading about, after all.

Generalizations about millennials abound. We’re self-centered. We’re the boomerang generation. We’re entitled, called the Trophy Generation. We’re quick to relocate and slow to settle down. We’re having babies later and later. Oh yeah, and the flattering “go-nowhere generation.” In summary? Unsettled.

Clearly, it’s not a conversation for the faint of heart. But I think there’s something missing from the conversations we’re having about the millennial generation.

What is this unsettled feeling doing to our souls?

Some of us are getting burnt out because we’ve been doing so much for so long. Some of us are living the boomerang life, back with family after years away at college as we try to make ends meet. Just two examples. No matter what, we’re trying to figure ourselves out. And that very unsettled feeling makes for unsettled souls, unsettled hearts and unsettled lives.

We’re trying to figure ourselves out. Part of that figuring ourselves out means trying new, different things.

Like so many of my peers, I’ve created a career that looks like a patchwork quilt. Experiences add up. Not to play the Pollyanna card, but each job is a blessing and a total joy. I can honestly say that each job, big or small, has made me the kind of professional I am today. Grateful doesn’t begin to describe it.

And yet, despite all that gratitude, it’s tough for me to log into Facebook sometimes.

Friends are landing challenging, kinda-lucrative jobs. They’re exploring beautiful cities and building relationships far outside their own backyards. They’re traveling, more than a simple weekend getaway (although, honestly, I’m a little envious of even the weekend trips). Many are striving and accomplishing and growing. Others are impacting the world in a big way, with missions trips and fundraising events and undeniably awesome acts of service. Still others are building beautiful families and homes and growing the kind of roots I covet.

They say one key trait of the millennial generation is entitlement. We want everything, think we’re capable of everything.

Entitlement + An unsettled feeling = A very jealous soul.

It’s a part of the conversation that I think is clearly missing. We can discuss ad nauseam about how the traits and trends are impacting the world economically, psychologically, sociologically, philosophically. But souls matter, and it’s time we started talking about them.

Tomorrow: Part Two, on how we might begin to heal souls. Today, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this.

It’s a privilege to link up again with the Soli Deo Gloria sisterhood over at Jen Ferguson’s place.

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10 thoughts on “how to heal the millennial soul, part one.

  1. Great idea for a post, Sarah. I’m looking forward to part 2. I think you’ve got some great observations here.

    “Entitlement + An unsettled feeling = A very jealous soul.”

    That is a great sentence for pastors to think about as they minister to Gen Y’s.

    Generational theory has always been fascinating to me. I am one of the “tweeners.” Born in 1979, I am right at the tail end of Gen X. They say that those born within a few years of either side of generational divides don’t fit either pattern. Guess I get to be unique ;)

    • Stephanie, you do get to be unique! :) Generational theory is an interesting topic for me too. Thanks so much for visiting today, friend.

      I’m nowhere near having kiddos, but if/when Mr. S. and I do someday, it will be so interesting to compare their generational trends with ours.

  2. I have had to consistently guard my heart against jealousy with social media in particular — I am reminded, though, that people only post the best news possible and we often don’t get an accurate picture of what their lives are really like. We all have unmet expectations and dissapointments, we just don’t often choose to share them with the rest of the world. As millenials, we have been given a choice and a prize every step of the way (even last place finishers in tournment got a trophy) — it’s been a tough realization that sometimes I just neet to sit back, learn, listen and grow instead of always thinking my opinions are most valid.

    • Nicole, absolutely. The Facebook reminder you shared is so important. What we put on Facebook is really our lives viewed through the rosiest of glasses.

      Tomorrow I’m going to write a bit more about this, and especially about the trophy generation. I especially echo what you say about sitting back, listening and learning and growing — that’s a lesson I have been learning too.

      Thank you so much, friend, for visiting today.

  3. The predicament of Millenials is, of course, close to my heart. I have my own personal theories about the breed of Millenials and how our disappointment in ourselves in achieving the dreams that we believe we’re entitled to leads to our inability to settle down…but I have to admit that your theory is sadly more optimistic than mine. Can’t wait to read more of your thoughts on our delicate Gen-Y psyches!

  4. Pingback: how to heal the millenial soul, part two. « inspiration-driven life

  5. these are great thoughts and a very true formula! There is definitely a sense of entitlement in this generation, and in the pursuit of the all American life, souls remain unsettled and greed festers. Families compare and can’t seem to have enough. Unfortunately, success does not equal happiness.

  6. Unsettled is right. It feels like the world we have doesn’t quite fit us; Doesn’t fit our style, skills, attention spans, or desires. This may not be unique among rising generations, but something feels different our time. Perhaps its the pace, perhaps its everything the Internet brings. Then again, my perspective is limited to my own shoes.

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