A Misplaced Millennial

I feel sometimes as if I am displaced in my generation and that I was not supposed to be born with the rest of the people my age. It is not bragging when I say that I am an old soul, because I truly believe that. I’ve always been comfortable in the company of people who are years older than me, and never really took the time to consider that I am usually the youngest in the group. I find most people my age tedious and difficult to understand. I do not appreciate the same things they cling to. Although I am technically a member of the Millennial Generation, I do not identify with the character traits that are normally associated with people in the generation. I do not find value in social media outside of it being a tool that allows me to keep in touch with friends around the world. I despise myself when I spend countless hours just browsing through click bait and being caught in the trap. I prefer to write letters or pick up the phone when I truly want to communicate with someone, and my first instinct is not to text them. I had to teach myself how to be better at communicating with my smart phone and not leave it random places to be neglected. I did own a smart phone until after I graduated college and I could easily go back to a life that did not involve it. I appreciate the tools that my generation uses, but I hate the way they are used. Facebook could be a tool used to start a social revolution, and it did but not in the positive manner that it has the capacity for. Instagram can be used to share beautiful and inspiring views on life, but more often than not all I see if perfectly posed selfies. And Twitter could be used to spread up to date news and kind words, but more often than not it is used to verbally attack strangers for expressing their views. With all the technology that my generation was given to influence the world and increase our world view, it has only gotten smaller. Thanks to social media we have become obsessed with discovering ourselves, not the outside world and have allowed it to take over our world view. We seek instant gratification and the tools we utilize provide us with the ability to do so. If I am lost I can simply pull up Google Maps on my phone and know instantly where I am and how to find what I was looking for. If I want to share a message of celebration or call out for help upon my friends, I can do it in one simple post shared to the internet and receive feedback within minutes. If I am feeling down about my life experiences lacking in adventure, I can review the pictures of my past travels and remind myself that at one point in my life I was actually out living it. My carefully crafted Facebook profile portrays the person I want to be, but not necessarily the whole picture of who I actually am. I have access to everything and any kind of information I want thanks to the internet and I no longer have to problem solve without the aid of a Google search or YouTube video. I can save money by buying things on line and save time by not going to the store, and gratify myself with a package sent to me in the mail. I don’t need friends to send me handwritten letters when I could just mail myself another material item Amazon prompted me into needing. The hard work that life previously required is gone and I am left to find other things to care about than simply being able to live. I have time to care about how my hair looked in pictures and criticize the shirt I chose to wear. I have the luxury and curse of being able to keep in touch with people who had already left my life and served their purpose, but I have the ability to stay passively involved with by stalking their online life. I have so much influence crowing in on my from the physical and internet world that I no longer know what direction to look in. Instead of going out to find a job, I find it sufficient to sit behind a computer and send out faceless emails. Instead of taking a chance on the weather and carrying out my plans for the day, I rearrange them according to the weather so that I am not inconvenienced or uncomfortable. And instead of looking up directions of where to go and making plans with friends, I allow the day to take me where it may and call upon my friends to join me at my whim. I find my phone an invasion of my own privacy and it is constantly demanding my attention with various buzzes and dings to remind me that there is a virtual world I have not attended to. But if I made the choice to refrain from interacting on the internet all together, it would be viewed as a choice of ignorance in my eyes and the eyes of others. It is like the Amish denying modern surgery to save lives based on principle. Why use a hammer when they have invented nail guns? So I am left with the struggle to incorporate technology into my life without allowing it to take over the way I live and the values I hold. It is my own worst enemy and best supporter and it has enabled me to do countless things I thought I would never accomplish. It allows me to do yoga from the comfort of my home while still being led by a teacher via video. It allows me to look up a variety of recipes instantly and not have to eat the same dish every night for dinner. It allows me to share my thoughts and words with the world in an instant. But it also allows me to hide from the world. It gives me a shield to guard myself and a mask of my own imagination. I can be anyone I want to be on the internet, and it will help me ignore who I am in real life. I can lie to everyone and they will believe me because the truth is hidden where cyber space cannot reach — in the physical world. But we are living less and less in the physical world and depending more and more on the cyber world to serve all of our needs instantly. The physical world requires strength, persistence and the ability to learn from failure. The cyber world requires insomnia, obsession and the ability to delete or manipulate all evidence of failure. We have moved on from living to fulfill the requirements of being human and are obsessed with living like robots. There is no value in an accomplishment you cannot post online and there is no reward for hard work when the internet could have solved your problem in under ten minutes. And I am lost trying to figure life out somewhere in the middle of that, wanting to use the tools I was born with but reluctant to let go of the way life used to be lived.