Today is my 30th birthday. Until today, I was sure that I was a millennial. Now things are less clear.
For one thing, I used to be really into texting—it’s just so efficient and non-committal. Now I find myself thinking I should call people more, that there are people in my life with whom I should really have a conversation. Moreover, if someone calls me, maybe I should answer? Instead of seeing the call, resenting the call, ignoring the call, and then texting the caller back.
Next up, responsibility. I have to admit that before today I was a rather unconscientious fellow. I would show up late to things. Then I would blame society for having unreasonably strict norms of timeliness, which, I would add, are not consistent with evolutionary biology, because in prehistory we measured everything by the sun and/or the moon, which are not precise. The sun and/or moon, millennial me might have said, do not have a second hand. Now it seems that I should consider the merits of punctuality.
This is further evidence that I am no longer a millennial. Or at least that I need an excuse that suits my age. Maybe “My body is tired,” or “My child threw up on me.”
In the 12 hours that I’ve been 30, I’ve also noticed a difference in how advertisers treat me. I used to be the darling of marketing teams. Everyone was trying to figure me out, to understand what I wanted. They tried to sell me cool stuff like coffee subscriptions or fairly traded soap or a man-bun kit. Now all the ads I see are for a vacuum cleaner, an item that, to be honest, I desperately need.
Before turning 30, I also believed that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent, and that His return would deliver 1,000 years of Heaven on Earth. This was, quite literally, a “millennial” belief. I have to say, though, that this election season is giving me second thoughts. Heaven on Earth? This Earth?
One very millennial pastime is threatening to delete your social media accounts. Before today, I was constantly making such threats. “Facebook is bullshit,” I would say. “Twitter is also bullshit,” I would add. “Instagram: bullshit.” And so on. Mature me is realizing that I will probably never delete my social media accounts. My life would be measurably worse without easy access to adorable photos of my nephews on Facebook and Instagram. (Twitter, though, is still bullshit.)
Finally, I have felt a dramatic shift in my sense of entitlement since turning 30. I once felt strongly that I should be entitled to a fulfilling job, even if it doesn’t pay well. Now I want money—the more the merrier—while also having a job that is fulfilling. I would also like baby-boomer levels of job stability. A pension, too, seems reasonable.
I still have some millennial ideas. For example, I think multiculturalism is good and cable TV is dumb. I still play Pokémon Go. I still have FOMO and use acronyms. But since turning 30 on August 16, 00:00:00 (look at my newfound precision), I feel different. My new, overriding sentiment is, “I really need a vacuum cleaner.”