Open Letter to Baby Boomers

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Dear Baby Boomers,

Not everything is just about you.

This is not to say you are not important. You are. You sculpted a culture all your own; one that brought us Tupperware, credit cards, cable television, airbags, bubble wrap and weather satellites.

You lived through countless historic events such as the cold war, the first hydrogen bomb, the Vietnam war, the first polio vaccination, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

It is fair to say you cultivated a part of history that will live on forever. Millennials are forever grateful for the path that you have carved for us. We would never purposely destroy any of the good things you fought for.

But millennials outnumber you now and you need to be mindful of that.

image via Vice

We cannot be expected to live in your world any longer. We are designing our own culture.

Please accept how hard we must work to survive in an economy you created.  We recognize your accomplishments, but ask that you not hide behind or sit on them.

Millennials are not lazy, or insensitive. We have cut out much of the small talk because of the position we find ourselves in—an uphill climb, a battle, seemingly hopeless in many ways, to even hold water.

Some Baby Boomers pride themselves on having paid their own way through college, but clearly it was not at the fee levels we face.

For example:

  • Annual tuition for Yale, 1970: $2,550
  • Annual tuition for Yale, 2014: $45,800
  • Minimum Wage, 1970: $1.45
  • Minimum Wage, 2014: $7.25
  • Daily hours at minimum wage needed to pay for tuition in 1970: 4.8
  • Daily hours at minimum wage needed to pay for tuition in 2014: 17.3

Millennials would need to work over 17 hours a day just to pay for college. That cost doesn’t include rent, food, gas, or entertainment.

When would we have time to attend school with a 121-hour work week?

Image via © @theindiealto / Twitter

Millennials are not killing culture; We are creating culture. Before a finger points our way as industries die, remember the most important thing you taught us:

We have learned from your mistakes.

Divorce rates are lower in our culture. We are not rushing into marriages as soon as you might have. We are not having children as much or as young. As a result, we are living very different lifestyles than Baby Boomers did.

With the economy we face, we are working twice as hard to meet living standards. Those standards do not even include our American dreams, which might not be white picket fences or family-sized sedans.

If Millennials are living in parents’ basements, this is not to annoy or disappoint your generation. We have no other options.  We are not buying diamonds to secure our future because we do not define or symbolize security the same way most Boomers do.

We are investing in ourselves, and we define security differently.

If Millennials are not eating at chain restaurants, it is because we have placed a greater value on eating locally and supporting our communities.

Millennials have experienced the greatest amount of technological change within our lifetime, and we are always striving for the next best thing.  In the ever-evolving climate that has become a new millennial culture, we are paving the way for future generations, just like Boomers did for us.

Thank you for all that you have done for us.

We ask only for some credit, not closed minds, when it comes to forging our futures. We ask you to embrace our new culture, not insult it. And, the next time you find yourself thinking, “things just aren’t the way they used to be,” take a step back and ask yourself, “why is that such a bad thing?”


Those “lazy” Millenials

*Editor’s note:  all op-ed pieces are strictly that: opinions.  They do not express or represent the views of Arapahoe Community College or the Arapahoe Pinnacle.  The ACC Pinnacle welcomes any and all submitted opinions.  For more information, click About Us.