“In short, millennials have been dealt a bad hand in their career, social, and romantic lives—some even in their family. In the karma points of the world, millennials are of the lowest caste so far. As a result, they are treated with disdain, contempt, and disrespect. Most of the time, they don’t fight back, usually in danger of losing their financial stability.”
― Cate East, Generational Astrology: How Astrology Can Crack the Millennial Code
Millennials. That feels like a hot word nowadays. But Millennials are the generation that will
become the “powers to be” soon enough, I being within that age group myself. So, perhaps that
is why there is such an interest in the state of Millennials. What the next generation looks like
and how they perform will have great effects on the world, just like the generations before us.
The current state of Millennials is one of loneliness, being burnt out and depression. Covid-19
has hit everyone in it’s own unique way. Yet, it would appear that the Pandemic is having a
profound effect ton Millennials. A year before the Pandemic, Blue Shield reported that
Millennials were experiencing a decline in mental health 40% faster than that of gen Xers.
Over the last few years, depression has been rising in Millennials to begin with and Millennials
have been dying more due to deaths of despair. These are deaths that usually include, drugs,
alcohol and suicide. In 2017, 36,000 Millennials died from a death of despair. Suicide attempts
black youths have dramatically increased over the last two decades as well.
Where does all this start. A big starting point is money. As time marches on, so has inflation,
driving up the cost of living. Once upon a time $100 would go a long way. Nowadays what you
could get for that same $100 is going to cost you at least $300. Federal minimum wage is $7.25
with the average minimum wage $11.80 as of 2019. When you have that and most rent at least
being $600 and the average rent costs is $1,463 not including living expenses, it is easy to see
how people have their issues dealing with this stress.
You combine this stress of over finances over having career goals that seem harder and harder to reach
and that is a sure-fire recipe for depression. In previous generations the way to work yourself up appeared to
be simple. You go to a good college, get a wife or a husband, buy a home, have kids, work some more, perhaps
buy some stocks, and then, you die. It’s as simple as that.
Speaking of school, debt is a major cause of mental health issues for Millennials. The Clinical
Psychology review stated that people who committed suicide were eight times more likely to
have debt. College debt, car loan debt, credit card debt, you name it. Any kind of debt can be
taxing on one’s psyche and that creates another issue.
How do you afford help?
The average cost of health care will be $14,944 by the year 2023. That will be over $4,000
more than what it was in 2016, a less than ten-year span. Therapists charge anywhere from $75
to $150 a session with top ones charging $200. So, one could be paying as much as $800 a
month to get the help that they require. If only most millennials had that much to spare.
All this adds into what is creating the lonely nature that millennials are finding themselves in.
The lack of support systems is the critical key in what is going on and causing this profound
loneliness. A support system is meant to be there for someone to fall back on in a time of need.
This is why 12 step meetings have become so huge. For former alcoholics, drugs addicts,
gamblers and sex addicts a place where they are have healthy relationships.
When you have 30% of millennials that are saying how they always or often feel lonely were as
that was only 20% for Gen Xers and a mere 10% for boomers, there is a crack in the system.
First place to look at are friendships. More and more millennials are stating they do not have any
best friends, close friends, friends or even any acquaintances.
A poll taken by YouGov says that 22% of millennials who took the poll stated that they have no
friends. Only 16% of Gen Xers said that they have no friends where just 9% of Boomers said
that they have no friends. The question then is why? How did this happen? Have millennials
have been dealt a bad hand?
Going back to money stress, the thing that everyone does to alleviate this stress is to of course
get a job. We have all been conditioned that we must work 40 hours a week in order to sustain a
life. While that can aide our pockets, this more often than not leads to burnout. As the years go
on and workloads increases, staff decreases, there is more of a lack of resources, and rising
hours, burnout from work is becoming more and more common.
Two years ago, Anne Helen Peterson wrote a piece about how millennials have become “the
burnout generation”. Here, the burnout that millennials face is blamed on the system. A system
that I previously mentioned in jest, but simply does not work anymore. A system that in its time
was effective, but now feels insulting.
This is where the disconnect between the older generation, particularly Boomers and
millennials begin. The Boomers do not understand millennials. They see us as lazy and
ungrateful. They believe that they have created the easy way to success. In a way, you cannot
blame them. From their point of view it worked for them, so why the hell is it not working for
you? That appears to be their thought process.
Well, everything has changed. A college degree does not go as far as it once did. Now it is
more about who you know aka networking being your net worth. While degrees in medicine,
engineering, law and at this point computer science are needed, just about everything else has
Then you have the competition level. That has certainly risen up over the years. It is not even about skills,
though more and more people are gaining a wide variety of skills. It is more that most people are willing to work
for peanuts. So as long as they have a place of employment, that is their chief concern.
What happens here is one is put in a situation where they get a job offer doing something that
they do not like and have to accept whatever hourly pay is offered to them as there is a line of
people who would be more than willing to take the position of your hands. You are basically
stuck with that position unless you want to continue your job search. But your landlord does not
care if you are looking for a job that is “the right fit” and only cares that you pay your rent on
time every month.
Most millennials are therefore left having to make a Faustian choice in a way. Take the highest
paying job that is available. Take that higher pay and be able to pay your rent, your car note,
your cell phone bill, your groceries and go out to bars and clubs every weekend to get drunk
enough to forget about the week work. Then back at that forty-hour work week again.
A lot of people who are not millennials have their opinions as to what is going on here.
Peterson attributed the generational phenomenon to millennials' upbringings, the economic
environment they grew up in, social media, and the anxiety of easy, straightforward tasks, like
Sounds like enough right?
I believe that is not as simple as not being able to buy groceries without anxiety. Peterson’s
opinion is a great example of what the real problem is. The older generations have no real
understanding of millennials. They look at us and essentially see spoiled brats. They do not
understand why we are having such a hard time at when we have so many resources at our finger
What the older generation does not realize is that millennials have been given empty promises.
Empty promises of if you work really hard that you will succeed no matter what. How if you do
the right things, everything will line up perfectly for you. Just follow the system, and everything
will go just fine.
Once millennials one by one began to find out how this was not the case, depression came in. It
became so obvious how the system is stacked against us. How outdated it is and how helplessly
we are in doing anything about it. This takes away any sense of agency that millennials have,
further increasing their depression. Then there is no one to talk about this to as your fellow
millennials are all in the same boat, you can’t afford therapy, even if you can your therapist is
usually, a boomer or Gen Xer at best so you lack a support group.
All a perfect storm for loneliness. The lack of empathy is felt abundantly with millennials.
Going back to work, the jobs that millennials work do not make it any better. We all know that
your employer does not care about you. But then you add in how your employer gives you so
little mental health benefits and then you feel stuck in prism where you are depending on being
paid by someone who could not care less about you and you cannot do anything to alleviate the
It is a viscous cycle. The job that you work is negatively affecting your mental health. Yet your
job is not giving the resources to be able to deal with these problems, deepening their mental
health issues. In China there are nets outside of some of their office buildings for when
employees jump to commit suicide. While that may save their lives for now, it only perpetuates
the hopelessness that is consuming them.
In both China and Asia you have a lot of “company men” working sixty to eighty hour work
weeks. There are already studies that are reporting how working forty hours a week may be a
bit too much, it is not uncommon for a lawyer to work at least 60 hours a not only Tokyo, but anywhere
in the United States for that matter.
The university of Exeter did a study reporting that millennials who work irregular hours and the
night shift are 33% more likely to develop mental health issues compared to people who work
the standard 9-5 job. It should be a mystery to no one why our first responders and health care
workers are struggling right now. With Covid-19 and the spikes that have occurred you have
people who are over worked, most likely underpaid, and not be able to deal with what is going
on with them. Do not be surprised when once the Pandemic fades away that there will be a
strong need for first responders and health care workers as the current crop of people will be
looking to do something else, really anything else than what they have been doing because of the
What are these people who quit their jobs in the health industry going to tell people during
interviews? Why is that a problem? Well, there just so happens to be a stigma against mental
health. A stigma that if one has any kind of mental health issues then one cannot handle the
pressure of the job and that one is unfit to work. The fear of this stigma is plenty enough to keep
anyone from letting their employer know that they may not be as okay as they seem to be.
More recent studies have reported that one in five millennials have no friends at all. 71% of
millennials have reported feeling lonely. 79% of gen zers, the generation after millennials, have
reported feeling lonely. Four out of ten millennials are single. Tying it in with a job that is
unfulfilling and unhealthful, and hopelessness is at an all-time high.
I suppose then the question why are millennials not making friends? Why don’t millennials just
create long lasting friendships to aide them in their loneliness? Why don’t millennials just get
into relationships and end their loneliness? These are more or less the questions that the older
generations are asking ourselves.
In today’s society, things could not be more superficial. With Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
everything is about looking good. Much less room for a genuine connection with another human
being. How could you have the time for that in today’s world? In short, social media is the new
way that people “keep up with the Jones”.
And you cannot deny that is effective. A young man can get 10,000 followers on Instagram,
allowing for her to become an influencer, gaining endorsement deals. An Instagram influencer
on average can earn $88 a post. When you climb up to 100,000 followers, that is $200 a post. If
you make just three posts a day, seven days a week you will make $4,200 a week. That is a lot
of money for doing nothing. Why focus on friendships that will never give you that return?
A lot of people look at social media with disdain, me included. They see it as a way that
millennials and gen zers for that matter are further separating themselves. There is a lot of truth
in this. Almost everyone has a smart phone nowadays. Smart phones are for all intents and
purposes pocketable laptops. With everyone shoving their face into their pocketable laptops this
leaves little room for a real, face to face human connection to take place.
With little room for face to face human connections we have little room to connect. With little
room to connect, well, there is little rooms for social skills. I believe that people take social
skills for granted. No one is born with innate social skills. They are in fact developed and one
must always be practicing them.
When you take the fact that people are less willing to have a face-to-face communication now
more than ever, add a global pandemic that is forcing us all to practice “social distance”,
furthering the separation that we have to one another. Turning that more into isolation. As we
further become isolated, obviously the less that we feel connected. And the less that we feel
connected, the lonelier we are.
Social media gives off the illusion of connection. On Facebook you could have thousands of
friends! You can get hundreds of birthday wishes when it is your cake day! You can chat online
with your buddies too! It feels so real! And therein lies the issue. It feels so real. It feels like
the real thing. It simulates the right thing. But it is not the real thing.
A similar issue is playing games online. I am talking about playing Playstation four or Xbox
one, or if you are lucky, both. There are also PC games that can be played within huge online
communicates such as world of warcraft and of course you can play games on your phone. In
2020 the gaming industry was worth $159.3 billion compared to the film industry losing $32
billion in 2020. By 2023 the gaming industry is expected to be worth $200 billion.
As someone who played games online as a teenager and early on in college, I understand the
appeal. You hop online to play one your favorite video games and you can meet people where at
the moment you have one big thing in common, the video game. You probably have a headset
so, you can communicate with other people. You can start a league on almost any game. Hell,
most games have settings where you can create it on there.
And wham, you have friends. Sometimes these friends can translate to in real life friends. A
few of them have for me. But most of the time they stay online. You more than likely will
transfer over to facebook and create a chat. In a way this is nice as before most people played
offline and were not communicating with anyone.
But here is the issue. Take the typical gamer. They work a job that they do not like. Their
dating life is nonexistent. They usually have no hopes and dreams. If they do, they are giving up
on them. The see the gaming community as a nice form of escapism. As a way to relax and get
away from the stress of everyday life. In essence, they are apathetic towards life.
Apathy is defined as a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. Apathy is usually a mask for
anger as it would often times be inappropriate to be angry in. A lot of these people who spends
hours upon hours in the digital world playing with their online buddies are only doing this as a
means to an end.
Gaming as effectively become a coping mechanism. Instead of taking a real hard look at their
life, seeing what is working and what is not working, people in these situations tend to stick their
head in their holes and runaway. If you confront people on this, they say that it is their way to
Funny enough, video games are not in fact relaxing. You are stimulating your mind when you
play video games, you usually cannot be ultra-relaxed when you play video games as most
games require undivided attention. When one plays a video game, they are taking their attention
off their problems in their life and putting that attention on something that is frivolous.
Something that does not matter. Which is why these games are considered fun and very
addicting in nature.
It is easy to tell these people to take responsibility for their lives. I find myself in that camp
from time to time. Yet, you can almost sympathize will people who spend most of their free
time playing video games. They feel the stress that comes from the grind of everyday life like
everyone else. They want to relieve that stress like everyone else. Hoping on an Xbox and
playing Halo with some friends all over the world does the trick for them.
This is only way example of the ways that we as millennials are separating ourselves from each
other, not focusing on the right things that will make our lives better. But more or less going into
whatever rabbit hole feels right and running away from society. Running far away from a
society that we have no control over.
We are not the first generation to have this issue. This is how the 60s counterculture
movement. First starting psychedelic drug parties, then moving into music that was meant to
rock society from bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Pink Floyd to solo
artists like Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and David Bowie, music was leading the charge. Once film
came in with movies such as Bonnie and Clyde, 2001 A Space Odyssey and filmmakers like
Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and George Lucas were getting started
on making their mark on the filmmaking landscape.
Carlos Santana had this interesting quote on the 60s and what the youth of today can do: "The '60s were a
leap in human consciousness. Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr.,
Che Guevara, Mother Teresa, they led a revolution of conscience. The Beatles, the Doors, Jimi
Hendrix created revolution and evolution themes. The music was like Dalí, with many colors and
revolutionary ways. The youth of today must go there to find themselves."
I did not even bring up the social justice leaders (not warriors, but leaders) of that time.
Looking back, while it was not perfect, there was an idealism back then. The idealism may not
have been perfect for hardcore change. But at least they were trying to make something
happened. And in the end, we did have lasting social change from it and we had great art come
You can say that millennials are lacking this motivation. Everything seems to be such a hard
climb these days. Now more than ever there are gatekeepers making it so hard for us to be able
to get what we want done. Hard for us to make our dreams come true. It is like trying to get into
an exclusive club. Does not even seem to be worth the shot.
However, with the internet and all of the resources that are either free or expensive now is
perhaps a better time than ever to express yourself. In a way we have this, but social media has
completely distorted everything and if anything has caused more of a division. Radicals never
are able to get everyone on board.
What is needed now are creatives. People who are innovative. People who are willing to be
producers and not solely consumers. People who are willing to lay it all on the line in the hopes
of changing society. People who look at the world and see that they can add to it and not just
take from it.
A big issue with millennials is how a lot of us feel hopeless and like there is nothing for us, yet
do not want to do anything about it. They just want to take from society without coming up with
ways as they can add to it or better yet, help grow it. There is a valid reason as to why
millennials are call the me generation.
Now more than ever, millennials must cease this victim mentality. Millennials must stand up to
the system, not seep into their depression and loneliness and fight against what is holding us
back. As long as it does not hurt anyone, it does not matter what it is. All that matters is that
something is done.
Will it happen? Will millennials step up and make something happen? Or are we too soft for
that? Are we going to wait until it is our turn? Who knows. What I do know is that the next
decade will be one for the record books.
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