The Millennial Quest: Staying Real Vs Staying Relevant
The word millennial has become buzz-worthy in the recent years. One reason is because we think so differently from our parents, probably because we’re born with a silver phone in our mouths and our contemporary lifestyles are being termed as “millennial culture”. Everything from our psychology to the platforms we view news and entertainment on are different. Companies have to use advertising in a completely new way to reach us. Phones have to be “smart” to impress us. non-touchscreen laptops are old now. And Instagram is the new Facebook. We are highly-attuned to technology, gen Z will be even more so.
This is a brave new world of connectedness with people. However, there are pitfalls to this. Let’s get a handle on #millennialculture before this new way of life overtakes us. Being a millennial, I take you through the highs-lows of this new world via the three main characters of my book, Aisha, Ruhi and Tejas.
Social Media: boon or bane?
Is the issue with social media or the way we young people use it? Tech companies have done a very smart job with constant push notifications and giving us apps for everything. But do we use social media or does it use us? For example, the character Aisha in my novel Adulting is a social media influencer. It got her onto page 3, overnight celeb status and a job as a social media manager. But when she can’t separate her online life from her offline one, it leads to her downfall, with poor health, a break-up, and work problems. Aisha has to learn to separate her life from social media, but it is a process that takes time and a few plot twists.
It is time to start talking about social media madness and what our own tendencies as an individual it brings out when we are surrounded by a culture that’s becoming more online than offline.
The Hustle: is there a payoff
Workplace depression, existential and identity crises are real, leading to a lack of motivation among young Indians.
Before suiting up and just giving it all up to the hustle, it is worth taking a beat and asking a few tough questions like: Is this really what I want to do, do I want to do something different, better, or maybe now that I’ve found my path, I need to stick to it. Or can I get advice about this before I really invest my time and energy in it?
Ruhi, the managing editor of a publishing house in my book Adulting, works to bring her vision of an indie publishing imprint to life. At some point however, she has to take a step back and understand the direction the publishing house is heading in and whether her ambitions lie elsewhere, personal and professional. Her talent and network may allow her to achieve her vision and she does have enough experience to change her situation in the evolving world of publishing. With the security of a home, is a calculated risk on the charts?
Like Ruhi, the world is changing for all of us. There are opportunities to grab hold of. It is important to keep assessing where one is, get the point of view of others and keep checking in with the stage of life we’re in. It is so easy to get caught up with what people around us are doing, but no one can decide the direction of your life but you.
The Creativity Black Hole
We think in tweets, capture memories for the ‘gram and experience on Netflix. While life is really really easy in terms of accessing entertainment and information, this is affecting our attention span and creative output. No matter our profession, we all know the feeling of being creative and also the feeling of being creatively blocked.
It is important to keep assessing where one is, get the point of view of others and keep checking in with the stage of life we’re in.
Tejas, an author in my book, has a tough time tapping into his creativity as well. While his first book was a mega success, he is at a loss about how to begin his second one. He does not know how to ask himself what he wants to write about or how to play around and experiment with his writing in a way that helps it evolve. For a while he spends his time floating on a plane of chaos trying all the writing styles out there, without giving his work depth. He discovers the answer by the end of the book.
But while having the freedom of being able to write and work from home, Tejas cannot focus and do justice to his art. We need to revisit our understanding of energy and focus in the social media age. By finding a time to work on our craft or projects, when we are fresh and can focus for long blocks of time can be the biggest fix we need.
Millennial or not, these millennial issues affect everybody. However, these problems are different from that of Gen X’s and the solutions will be different too. The trick is to always ask yourself the right questions. This means a definite movement towards the space to think, be, express and introspect. This means: push notifications off now and then. Don’t worry, you will be still be relevant after a few hours off of social media. Maybe more so.
Image Credit: Neharika Gupta/ HarperCollins India
Neharika Gupta is a writer, poet and a martial arts practitioner. She lives in Delhi with her parents and three dogs. She holds a B.A.(H) in English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College for Women and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, UK. Adulting is her debut novel. The views expressed are the author’s own.