Why We're Ignoring All Of Today's Bad News For Millennials
The Debrief: The news might be all doom and gloom but there is stuff to feel good about
I’d understand if you didn’t read the news. I’d understand if you couldn’t bring yourself to do it, especially if you’re under the age of 30. Rarely does checking the news offer our generation anything to feel good about. It feels like not a month goes by where a report doesn’t get released telling us all how totally screwed we are.
Today is no exception. This morning when I rolled over in bed to check Facebook (which I do, despite my best efforts to stop, every day before I’ve even fully opened both eyes, let alone my curtains) I saw yet more shock and awe headlines regarding the socio-economic fate of millennials at the hands of ‘old people’.
‘Born in early 1980s? Then you’re half as wealthy as 1970s’ children, says IFS’ the headline read. My heart sank, the butterflies in my stomach that don’t normally start fluttering until I’m halfway through my first coffee of the day went wild.
There it is, more confirmation of what we already know to be true. Things are, objectively, a bit shit when it comes to young people’s collective financial state and it’s not actually our fault. It’s because of a whole host of things which, contrary to what your elders might tell you, have absolutely nothing to do with you. In fact, many of them happened before you were even born.
The article went on to explain that, according to new research conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS, aka a place where they of a lot of economic analysis), ‘stagnant wages, falling home ownership, weaker pensions and low interest rates’ are widening the divide between older and younger generations in this country. All of this has left those of us born in the 1980s with half of the amount of wealth that those born in the 1970s had when they were our age.
Pretty depressing right? We could spend the rest of this article talking about how unfair it all is, there’s more than enough to say. However, that just leaves us all feeling somewhere between angry and completely despondent. So, instead we thought we’d bring you four things that the youth of today can feel bloody good about:
1. Bad news makes headlines for a reason
It’s not just you, the news is mostly filled with disaster, corruption and incompetence. The BBC wrote a report on this in which they said, according to psychologists there’s a legit reason for the number of bad news stories: it’s called ‘negativity bias’. Apparently this means we’ve evolved to respond to potential threats – which means we are naturally more drawn to negative material and more likely to remember it over a positive story.
2. We have a good standard of living
The traditional narrative of progression goes something like this: each generation will be better off than the last; grandparents see their children and their children’s children living the sort of lives that are beyond even their wildest dreams. If our future prospects are anything to go by it seems that politicians took this for granted and got a bit complacent.
HOWEVER, our lives are kind of wild. It in no way makes up for our economic lot but it’s never been easier to communicate with people in all corners of the globe at any time day or night and medical innovations are continuing to treat diseases that would once have meant curtains before you even got to contemplate grand kids.
3. We’re the most tolerant generation ever
This generation is, in many ways, a frontier generation. We grew up online and, while digital life certainly has its downsides, this has also meant that our horizons were wide from the outset. We were exposed to a wide variety of different opinions and ways of life from a very young age. As pollster Ipsos Mori’s Generations project shows, Generation Y are the least sexist generation in this country – we don’t uphold rigid or traditional views when it comes to gender roles in society. We are also the least likely to be homophobic.
4. We have the power to make a change
It might not feel like it sometimes but the future is what you make it. I know, that sounds like something you’d find on a shitty tote bag BUT hear me out. We live in age of phenomenal connectivity. If you want to change something you can say it, if you want to start a petition on the government’s website and get something debated in Westminster you can do it and if you want to take a stand, you can take it. Know your worth, know your rights and know your power.
I know it feels like your millennial glass is half empty, with a giant hole in the bottom, but it doesn't have to be that way. I realise this is about as helpful as your Nan telling you to 'have faith that things will work out', however maybe, just maybe, it's possible that there's more to happiness than a mortgage and a gold plated pension and that we're judging our lives and measuring our successes and failures by outdated standards.
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