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Are Millennials Really “Too Lazy to Get the Butter From the Fridge”?

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Aleteia - published on 02/17/16 - updated on 06/07/17

"Crying is difficult for us ..." If that's true, what does it mean? Share your thoughts ...

Is it true?

Recently, a French millennial bylined as Sabias Palabras wrote an unhappy letter to co-generationists, scolding, “We are the generation that is too lazy to get the butter out of the refrigerator.”

Many of us who have raised this generation see things a bit differently; we see industry for ideas but perhaps a different understanding of what it means to have “drive,” or how “success” is to be measured; we see a skepticism born of media saturation and an unwillingness to take much at face value, but this seems less like “laziness” to us than a simple (or perhaps very complex) unwillingness to give credence to past conventions, whether social or economic or religious.

Are millennials “lazy” or perpetually distracted or merely other-directed, having been raised during a time of distant war and near-terrorism, of sluggish economies and the disappearance of the idea of “one life, one job,” or are they unambitious or profoundly disillusioned?

And what of this claim that “crying is hard” for them? Is it born of disregard or a fear of vulnerability? Or does crying simply seem pointless?

Below we offer a “translation” of this letter and invite your response.

It took me seven years — from the day I left home — to learn to read the cooking time on a package of rice. I ate a lot of rice that was too hard (while telling anyone who would listen that it was al dente), and a lot of rice that was too soft, while saying “it was done on purpose.” My simmering pot was the proof that we are a generation that shares without reading, defends without knowing, idolizes without reason. I belong to the generation that knows what it wants to do but doesn’t do it well because we are too lazy to read the directions. We know how to make the world fairer, the planet greener, how to ensure that women are better represented and that our body is healthier. We do less and less politics in real life (but increasingly on Facebook), we flood the Internet with selfies and forget to mention that during the last bash, all our friends had to consume something (preferably something high in alcohol) in order to have fun. We know that riding a bike can reduce pollution and daily stress. But we go to work in our car because we might sweat, or because it’s raining, or because we just do. We have seen all the videos that demonstrate how fast food is bad for our health, and yet we love prepared meals because we do not have the pluck to go out and buy bread and vegetables at the corner store. We are the generation that is too lazy to get the butter out of the refrigerator. We prefer to write on the computer because it’s easy to erase. We are a generation that isn’t afraid to make mistakes because we have a “delete” button. Posting a message on the Internet to express our opinion about everything is easy (and erasing it is too) because we have nothing to lose: neither paper nor credibility. We believe that enterprise is easy, that everyone can live by doing what he likes. We believe that success is the result of ideas, not of effort. We are whizzes at planning, but only average at working all night. We firmly believe in co-creation, collective financing, and Couch Surfing. We know that there are well-meaning people who want to help us succeed in the world, but we do not listen to our parents’ advice, we close the car window when a beggar walks by and we do not want our sofa — bought on the Internet — to be used as a trampoline for our friends’ children. We write public declarations of love to our friends for the birthday that we would have forgotten if the social network had not reminded us. We never talk on the telephone, we never see each other and we never give each other a hug. We have never been to each other’s homes nor in their arms. Crying is difficult for us. On Instagram we are a seemingly happy generation, but we spend our time on websites voicing our frustrations and difficulties related to lack of time and conviction. We hide our Internet apps on meditation because our boss is only interested in productivity. I belong to a generation that is overflowing with ideas and that will leave the world perfect instructions on how it should work. But I will not have done much else because I was hungry and did not want to read the instructions on how to cook rice.

Readers, what do you think? Is this a true depiction of millennials?

Translated from the French by Liliane Stevenson.

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