Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Millenial Musings

I am a millennial. I think.

I've been in denial for a few years, possibly because our generation gets such a bad reputation. We're the "trophy kids." We were pampered during our formative years, repeatedly told that "everyone is a winner," and our parents were known to call the teacher to determine the source of that big F on yesterday's geometry quiz. And don't even get me started on how our generation is perceived in the workplace. Apparently, we're self-destructive rebels who can't conduct ourselves civilly, much less professionally. My mind immediately wanders to Animal  (doesn't he eat glass?) from The Muppet Show. Are we really that bad?

But I'd also been in denial because my birth year (1982) teeters between Gen X and Gen Y (Millenial) in multiple sources. In some sources I'm at the tail end of Generation X; in others I'm an early Millenial and therefore not a true member of Generation Y. According to those dates, my brothers and I are all Millenials. They are 16, 18, and 25. There's an eleven year gap between me and my youngest brother, and I'm pretty sure we don't fall neatly into the Millenial package together. At 15, he had a Blackberry Storm®. At 15, I had a plastic pager. And even at 16, my "cell" phone was attached to the center console in my Ford Bronco. I think it was called a "car phone."

Mainly, though, my denial stems from a lack of feeling like a Millenial. The top characteristics of a Millenial revolve around technology since our generation was/is shaped by technological advances. But I don't consider myself to be a techy. My VCR --yes, that's right-- and DVD player were disconnected for most of my senior year of college because I couldn't figure out how to hook them up to my obsolete TV.

I do, however, try to embrace technology if it means I can accomplish a task more efficiently. For example, I hate fax machines. Hate them. Emailing an attachment is much more seamless, and I don't have to leave my cubicle. With email, I also don't have to wait for the incessant, mocking beep indicating that my memo was successfully sent. And what if it doesn't beep? Then what? Kicking it a few times is great for Office Space, but probably frowned upon in reality - and wouldn't help the Millenial reputuation.

According to definition, we (Millenials) grew up having information readily available at our fingertips via the internet and we are externally connected 24/7, thanks to social networks, texting, and e-mail.

All right, I'll bite.

I started using a computer for socializing in eighth grade. Remember America Online (AOL)? I'd come home from school, grab my snack from the "snack drawer" that Mom kept stocked with an assortment of Fruit Roll-Ups, Gushers, Yodels, or the like, and log onto AOL. This could take anywhere from three to fifteen minutes. That haunting, albeit familiar, dial-up noise is probably some younger Millenial's downloaded ring-tone ($4.99! Seriously?), and they don't even know its origin. I would spend an hour or two chatting on Instant Messenger with one or two of my friends, but as soon as Mom got home I'd have to log off because I was tying up the phone line.

I also grew up playing Nintendo games, though usually at a friend's house because we didn't own the console. No video game will ever be as great as Super Mario Brothers or Duck Hunt.

As for social networks, I joined Facebook my senior year of college, but didn't really start using it until three years ago. I created a MySpace page shortly after graduating college, but the amount of users who abused HTML code (glitter was meant for arts and crafts, not the internet) was overwhelming, so I deleted my account shortly thereafter.

My husband (a true-blood Millenial by definition) gets annoyed with me because I don't take advantage of the technology that's, quite literally, right at my fingertips. I'll often sit on the couch with my laptop while he's at his desktop computer across the living room, and I'll ask him to look something up for me.

"Why can't you do it?" he asks, both amused and irritated. "You have a computer right in front of you."

He's right. But I know he'll find the information much faster than I would.

So, am I a Millenial? I still don't know. What do you think? Do you suffer from similar conflictions?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Words of Weakness

I used to have a love affair with words... but lately, they won't return my phone calls. I thought our commitment to regular postings was mutual, but it appears I've been mislead yet again. I should have seen the signs.

"I'm Too Tired"
I get that one a lot; I'm warmed up and ready to go but the words might as well be half asleep. I fear logging into dictionary.com or (worse) thesauras.com for verbiage inspiration. It might constitute cheating (it's still under debate).

"There's Too Much Good TV Tonight"
This can be a real distraction. An innocent few minutes spent channel-surfing turns into a lost afternoon. Syntax takes a seat on the couch and diction sprawls languidly on the futon made for two. And here I sit, laptop burning my thighs, staring at a blinking cursor, waiting for release.

"I'm Just Not In The Mood"
This is the worst. Not because this excuse has a female patent, but because we always used to be simultaneously in the mood. This is what you're made for! Without you, we'd live on a frozen planet, void of imagery, dialogue, and themes. I can't afford a new laptop right now, so all you get from me is a freshened blog template and a washed up creative writer at your knees.

And just in case you're wondering - I'm not giving up. Our history is too intense and I have far too much invested to walk away. Remember the golden years in college? We were hand in hand, pen to paper, fingers to keys. Each publication strengthened our growing relationship (and the expensive college tutition for that English degree didn't hurt our goal).

I guess I'm just asking for a second chance. I know I've been distracted with the tech writing, and perhaps that's the true blame for our rocky creative relationship. My neglect has made it easier for the words to make excuses. Nevertheless, I'm still willing to work at this. We can get back on the hampster wheel. Baby, lets run.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I started a blog titled "A Carnival For Those Who Dream" at the beginning of 2008. I wanted to piggyback off an online journal I'd maintained for four years prior and it was time for a change (the developers of the site weren't working to meet the demands of technologically-curious millenials). Thus, I found blogger.

My blog's original intent was a space to showcase my writing and generate a network of followers and other writing professionals. Who doesn't like free marketing? However, the blog quickly morphed into a progression of soul-searching and self-discovery. I used the blog as an outlet for my inner thoughts, as opposed to a platform for posting my poems and short fiction. Much of that diary-esque content has since been deleted, though not without first exporting it onto the hard drive of my computer for future reflection.

What you're looking at now appears to be the same blog, but I've made a few tweaks, including a new blogger address. And I'm still not sure the direction this altered blog will take, but perhaps with a dedication to posting regularly it'll become more apparent.