Millenials are often described as an entitled generation who was fed organic baby food off a silver spoon and garnered praise for pooping. And while they may in reality have been a tad spoiled, in most cases it was never to that extreme. No matter how spoiled they were raised to be, the recession, climate catastrophes, and years of war have been an antidote to the potential hubris of an entitled life -- leaving them more humble and grateful than ever. In fact, this Thanksgiving as Millennials sat down in front of their turkey dinners -- ironic Indian headdresses, pilgrim hats, and all -- they found that even in these tough times they have a whole lot to be thankful for.
They are saying a little prayer of thanks that they are one of the "lucky ones."
A major lesson that Millennials learned during the recession is that luck is totally relative. Even if they don't have a job, even if they owe half their paycheck to student loans, even if they live in a cramped apartment with three roommates, Millennials are increasingly aware of the ways that they are indeed "one of the lucky ones." When I asked Millennial friends what they were thankful for, the first thing that 90 percent of them replied was that they "lucky" to have a job that could at the very least support their basic needs. They were all acutely aware that despite their idiotic bosses who don't know the difference between Tumblr and Instagram, and the seasonal depression they get from being trapped in a cubicle during all sunlight hours in the winter, that many folks in the United States and around the globe were not so lucky as to be employed. Even those who didn't have a job and were struggling to pay rent said that they were thankful for being lucky enough to not be in Palestine or to have a home that was safe from flooding. Instead of focusing on what they don't have, Millennials are thankful to have the basics like a safe home to dine on Turducken in.
They are toasting a "Thanks" to their BFFs
Raised in the age of AIM and Facebook, social connection is in some ways a Millenial's most precious resource. Millenials turn to their "networks" for support in anything from finding a job to a restaurant recommendation or travel tips. As such, many Millennials this Thanksgiving were not only gathering around the table, but also tweeting and status updating their genuine sentiments of thanks to their best friends. It's important to remember that for Millennials, this "friend group" isn't limited to their peers; it also includes their parents, siblings and even colleagues, because for Millennials, anyone can be a "friend." But, it would be wrong to think that they are just valuing their "Social Networks." Many of the Millennials I talked to expressed their gratitude at having real, thoughtful and meaningful relationships. In a time where work emails continue late into the night and people pile up entertainment debt, this generation recognizes the hard work it takes to have actively, meaningful reciprocal relationships and is thankful for every emailed, texted or chatted interaction that goes beyond the per functionary.
They are thankful that Obama was elected
Ok, so not all Millennials in America voted for Obama. But as has been widely reported post-election, Millennial voters did disproportionately cast their ballots in Obama's favor. Most members of the generation I talked to said for them it was hard to separate the election from this Thanksgiving, because they were still basking in the glow of what they thought was a big win for their futures. Sure, the road ahead remains uncertain, but this naturally optimistic generation is hoping that "Four More Years!" will bring major advancements getting them out of college debt, opening new paths to citizenship for young foreigners, and major gains in health care. It isn't just electing Obama that Millennials are thankful for, but any of the ballot initiatives across the country. Another friend told me that he was, "grateful" he lived "in the State of Washington, where Gay Marriage and marijuana have both been legalized. And this state has trees, whales, great coffee and the Space Needle. Oh, and Gay Marriage again." He wasn't the only one. Again and again members of the generation said that one of the major things that they were most thankful for this year was that in their eyes the country was progressing. Oh, yeah and also that good coffee is a thing. Millennials are really grateful about that.