Defining Gen Y

Who is Gen Y? Combing through my closet of pre-teen and adolescent things in my closet inspired me to think about who we are as a generation. The “Me” generation. The kids who grew up on Gameboys, but didn’t really experience Barney (he came out when I was too old for him). We didn’t have cell phones in middle school, but we experienced the beginnings of caller ID and second home phone lines. We used AOL and remember dial-up connections. We lived in a world before Starbucks existed (so deprived by today’s standards).

I asked my two close friends what our generation means to them. We compiled the above list, but, most importantly, we talked about what our children’s lives would be like. Would they get cell phones in elementary school? Will they never learn how to write in cursive? Since they will be born into a world completely dependent on electronics and computers, can they unplug from it all and truly enjoy the silence? Could they just sit and do nothing?

I originally wanted to write a post on how Gen-Y’s are noncommital and how we are too plugged in (multi-tasking?) for our own good. How we tend to use the “I’ll call you later” statement and don’t follow through. How we can spend hours on the computer but struggle to spend hours talking to our grandparents in person.

But I had so much trouble writing this post. I seriously spent about 1-2 weeks figuring out what angle I would take, how to write this. When I asked my close friends, I got a few answers, but it seems like even Gen Y’s have trouble defining ourselves.

Maybe we are “gonna do it later,” like everything else.

See Josh Riebock’s book “My Generation” for the Christian viewpoint of how Gen Y deals copes with faith and the world. I listen to his podcast “Naked Faith” and I highly recommend it.


4 thoughts on “Defining Gen Y

  1. A phrase I often hear when sifting through the annals of Gen-Y related study is this idea that we in the Y Generation are susceptible to an idea of “entitlement”, hence the whole “Me” generation neologism.

    “The young rising generation is both the most enterprising I’ve seen in years as well as the laziest,” a Boomer writes.

    Is it possible, however, that we give to our title a double-entendre? Gen Y embodies Gen “Why?”, in that our generation is the most overall socially liberal demographic ever insofar as generational concerns are addressed. We, the Gen of Me, now grown up with our multitasking and compact, universal technologies; social media and the communications boom places us at a more subjective state of awareness in which moral absolutes become harder to distinguish – “Why work when there is so much to DO?” this Gen Yer asks.

    Gen Y recognizes the inherent joke that is labor and exploits it.

    Where it goes to far, I think, is in that as a generation it has developed a jaded, cynical outlook of the world (perhaps as a result of the events of the past ten years distorting our adult worldviews) where EVERYTHING is a joke, and nothing seems worth committing to anymore.

    “Whatever man,” a Gen Y guy, this college student, says to me one day at a bus stop.

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