An Open Letter to Millennials from a Gen Xer: You’re Changing the Heart of the World

An Open Letter to Millennials from a Gen Xer: You’re Changing the Heart of the World

I asked my mother, a talented, loving and wise Gen Xer, to write a guest post to Millennials.  She ended up writing them a love letter of encouragement, and it couldn’t be better.  Not only do I agree with every single word she wrote, I also think she conveyed herself beautifully and hysterically.  These are vitally important thoughts.  They should be read by Millennials, yes, but they should also be read by all.  ~Tay

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There seems to be a human condition that I’ll wager dates back to the first and second generations of human life. It is that dreadful sense of knowing that the generation following yours is clearly insane and headed for catastrophic self-destruction. Did the first generation of cave dwellers wonder why the second insisted on wearing their animal skins so short, piercing their noses with bones, and filling their bellies with plants and seeds rather than the good, iron-rich wooly mammoth meat their fathers worked so hard to bring home?

The Silent Generation (born 1925-1945) thought the devil himself had entered their living rooms via their television sets when Elvis swiveled his pelvis while singing (gasp) rock-n-roll on live TV. Later, that rockin’ generation, The Boomers (born 1945-1964), couldn’t understand where they had gone wrong when their sons had long hair, their daughters had short skirts, and young folks were protesting all kinds of things that had just been accepted as “the way things are” up until that point.

The Boomers rolled their eyes and gnashed their teeth at the next generation – my generation – Gen-X (born 1965-1980). We were hard rockers in leather and ripped jeans, or punk rockers sporting our totally awesome purple mohawks. What’s a parent to do? My generation, in turn, gave birth to you Millennials, as well as the following sentences, “Can’t you put down that damn iPhone?” and “Get away from that video game and go outside to play!”

Each generation has its share of amazing, world-enhancing individuals, as well as a good number of people enrolled full-time at the University of Learn Things the Hard Way. Yours is no different. Even so, I see you Millennials – as a whole – as bright and shining stars. Truly. Yours may well be the first generation that will eventually be carved into history as The Generation Who Most Radically Changed The Heart Of The World For The Better. That’s a bold claim, but I like the way you’re living.

From front row seats in your living rooms, you were there to witness your parents battling valiantly to be and do all the things we felt the society of our own making expected of us. Too often, you saw us voluntarily sacrifice opportunities for exciting life experiences, and sometimes even our own families, in order to work senselessly long hours at jobs we hated just to purchase bigger houses and snazzier cars, and overstock our IRAs and mutual funds.   You watched that battle destroy too many of us with stress-induced illnesses, fractured relationships, prescription addiction, and lack of self-care but plenty of self-loathing. You experienced your own stress as we maxed-out your childhood schedules with anything we felt would help you become adults who were our idea of successful.

And you found a better way.

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Life will tell you often enough that you’re screwing up. From my perspective as one who is older and supposedly wiser (stop laughing!), I want to share with you a few of the ways I think you’re getting it right. And I think your greatness – yes, greatness – comes from a combination of being wise enough not to repeat your parents’ mistakes, and courageous, creative, and honest enough to lead your own life rather than the life others may expect of you.

1. I see you choosing careers consistent with your dreams, passions, talents and personal values – even if they may never become the jobs that let you overstock fragile bank accounts. And if that job does not exist, you create it!

2. I see you understanding the importance of self-care. You’re in yoga class and running 5Ks. You’re eating clean and taking time to relax. You’re researching ways to be physically and mentally healthy, and then you’re actually putting your research into practice!

3. I see you preparing for your future while living fully in the present. Not seeking grander things at the expense of sacrificing relationships and experiences. Living your day-to-day lives modestly so you have the time and money to pursue the adventures you cherish!

4. I see you making a priority of experiencing cultures other than your own, so you may love instead of hate, understand rather than judge.

5. I see you using your time, energy and gifts to battle for the underdog. To speak for those who have no voice. To be kind and beautiful. And I think the future is safe in your hands.

I see you, Millennials, and I believe you’re changing the heart of our world. You’re fresh perspectives on a meaningful life are intriguing. You inspire me to live wiser, fuller, kinder, bolder, more purposefully and certainly more honestly.

I see you, Millennials. And I have great faith in you.

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Guest Post: “If I could tell you one thing…” | Katie Visconti

Let me introduce you to Katie Visconti.  You know when you get lucky enough to meet somebody and think “She sees the world like I see the world” and instantly you have a sense of peace wash over you?  That’s how it was when I met Katie.  She loves writing, reading, beautiful things, and being ambitious.  She is passionate about women and the justice and joy they deserve.  She has a travel bug and a wanderlust.  And we seem to see God in a similar light  – a lover of human beings.  I adore Katie and her writing. When I begged her to let me share some of that writing here, she graciously agreed!  Her thoughts on self-love are so important, enjoy! -Tay

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On Thursday, I sat in my Creative Writing class, eager to get started, just waiting for my professor to say what our assignment would be.

School is hard, I’ve been going through a particularly dark season lately, and I find myself constantly holding on to tiny moments of light.

My creative writing class being ones of those bright, beaming moments.

My professor began to tell us about our free write for the day: What is the most important moment in a child’s life.

You could run with this in one hundred directions. So I found myself racking my brain, “Can I write about any child? Should I recount my childhood? Maybe I should write this for my future daughter or son? What do I remember as a huge moment of my childhood life?”

We’ve got ten minutes for the prompt. Nine minutes left after I begin to think about what direction to go in. I panic, naturally. How does one write something decent in eight minutes and 44, 43, 42 seconds?

Write your truth. The though came in a soft but strong whisper.

 

So I did.

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Free Write #4

 

For the child yet to grow big and tall, for the child being wished for & prayed for, yet to be in a mommy’s tummy, for the child that is already having a difficult time navigating the world, and for the child that still shines brightly in all of us, this is for you.

If I could tell you one thing, there are going to be many important moments in your life. There’s going to be a time when you discover how to walk, talk, run, and ride a bike. You’re going to have a time where you love so wildly, and your heart pitter patters when you have your first crush. There is going to be a time where you feel a little embarrassed, and when you are mad at someone who cares for you. I hope you don’t have too many moments of sadness of defeat. And if you do, I hope you have double the amount of moments that bring you happiness and laughter.

You are going to have moments that reveal your passion. You are going to have a favorite food, favorite friend, favorite book, favorite time of day.

You are going to have lots of moments, but I know the most important one, for me at least, is the moment you realize that loving yourself is essential to really loving and appreciating all of life’s other moments.

Loving yourself, and realizing you are a gifted individual that adorns that world, is the most important moment.

The moment you stop allowing yourself to nitpick over flaws, or wish you had a different nose, mouth, hip size, hair color. The moment you notice the way your eyes sparkle, or that no one else will ever be like you. The moment you realize the entire world and everyone you have ever interacted with would not be the same without you.

That moment may seem fleeting at times, and there may be hours and days that you don’t feel so in love with yourself, but I can promise you: this body, this mind, this heart of yours needs to run on self-love. You deserve to love yourself.

As children, we are too often judged on standards that are set for everyone. We are too often told that talent, smarts, and ability is based on a one size fits all scale.

The moment you love yourself, you love the fact that you could never really play basketball but could write poetry, or could barely handle public speaking but could handle calculus. For me, loving myself meant I finally accepted that I would never be the girl that could stay still, or not question, or make it through a day without reading and writing something.

If I would have known that the only thing that would bring me to a place of forgiveness, adventure, new opportunities, and acceptance was self-love, I would have granted myself that moment a long time ago.

That moment is now.

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