I’ve lived in two centuries, four decades, and two millennia, and I’m only 22 years old. Having been born in the year 1999 has made my life full of interesting assumptions. Those of us born in or around that year find ourselves recently graduated from college, finishing up our education, or navigating the first few years of postgrad life. There are those of us who call ourselves millennials and those who call ourselves Generation Z. But, for me, it seems I’m somewhere in between.
The generations above and below me have some sort of problem with each other, and I don’t seem to resonate with either. Being born in 1999 means we can’t call ourselves ’90s babies because we were only a year old, but being a 2000s baby means something completely different, according to the stereotypes. We were born in a year that allowed us to live through 9/11 but not remember it, to grow up while the Internet became a household commodity, but also remember having a limit of only 30 texts a month and a flip phone. We grew up in a time in which older generations say, “We had it easier,” but no one accounts for the toll that technology has taken on our mental health.
Being a 20-something in 2021 means a lot of things. But if there’s something we do well, it’s being passionate and connected: a passion for change and a desire to be connected.
In a negative way, though, this can be viewed as our generation being lazy and overly sensitive, especially the portion of our age group that is closely related to Gen Z. We are told time and time again that “back in my day, we didn’t have all this fancy technology to do things for us.” And while I have to agree, the idea of an encyclopedia doesn’t sound thrilling, and the easy spread of false information isn’t all that grand either.
We are told we are devoid of faith, but we desire change and growth in our world, having deep faith in what we expect of our peers. We find ourselves at a crossroads, one side of us relating to the millennials’ McDonald’s PlayPlaces, cartoons, and video store runs before sleepovers. But on the other hand, like most Zoomers, we are extremely individualistic and have our minds set on making a difference to change the world.
It seems my generation is the gap between two—one might say the best of both worlds. Being born in a world before smartphones and living to see how a pandemic impacts school and job interviews, you could say we’ve been preparing for “the real world” this whole time, and we didn’t even know it.