Noun: Denoting people reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century. –Oxford English Dictionary
Noun: A general feeling of discomfort, illness, or unease whose exact cause is difficult to identify. –Oxford English Dictionary
I’m Rhi—short for Rhiannon, and yes, I was named after the Fleetwood Mac song. I’m the founder and editor of Millennial Malaise.
I’m currently 32 and I graduated high school in 2003, college in 2008, and graduate school in 2011. That means I lived through the digital music revolution, the rise of social media, and I felt all the hard knocks of the Great Recession.
My generation doesn’t have a stellar reputation; we’re known for being entitled, narcissistic, serially underemployed, perpetual “boomerang” children. To this day, my mother loves introducing me as her “boomerang child,” quipping, “I keep throwing her into the world, but she keeps coming back.”
Not that I had too much choice in the matter. Launching a career amid the Great Recession—a writing career no less—was not, perhaps, the most practical endeavor. But like many of my generation, practicality was something I had to learn, not something instilled in me at a young age.
In any case, as much as I despise the stigma my generation bears, I can’t say some of it isn’t well earned, and a little fitting.
I grew up in the shiny, happy world of the late 80s and 90s. I received awards just for participating (that stereotype is painfully true), I was regularly assured there was something very special about me, and I was promised by my teachers, mentors, and loved ones I could be anything or anyone I wanted when I grew up.
Flash forward a decade or so and I discovered the very real, very present truth there really isn’t something spectacularly special about me, you don’t get rewarded or praised for just showing up, you aren’t entitled to anything, and your chances of being “someone” in this world are much lower if you don’t have some stroke of natural brilliance, or a very well connected loved one (nepotism is real, people.)
Like most of my generation, when this undeniable truth reared its head, I struggled to figure out my place, my purpose, and my path. Eventually, after many, many temper tantrums, lots tears, and some straight up epic mistakes—stick around and you’ll learn all about them—I’ve settled into an uneasy adulthood and managed to carve out a (semi) successful writing career.
Despite what Gen X or the (ever-present) Baby Boomers may believe, I don’t blame anyone or anything for the challenges I’ve faced (or am currently facing) in my life. If anything, I can laugh hard and long with them about the foolish idealized world I created in my head at 23.
But, like the title of this blog denotes, I still feel a perpetual, vague restlessness I don’t really understand. A feeling whose source I can never quite put my finger on and can’t seem to shake. Over the years, I’ve come to call this feeling “millennial malaise” and it represents an odd, ever-present sense I’m not doing this adulthood thing right.
After talking with many of my fellow millennials, I realized I’m not alone in it. In fact, despite the vastly different paths our lives have taken, we all share the same underlining feeling we aren’t doing it right—or we could be doing it all better.
That’s why, with a dash of humor and a heaping spoonful of self-deprecation, I’m launching MM.
What will you find here?
Well, I’ll have to be honest, the women of MM aren’t perfect and we’re still figuring it all out, too. But we’re authentic, genuine people with real-life experiences and we’re not afraid to tell you the true tales behind them. From motherhood and infertility to job loss and divorce, we’ll cover it all because we’ve lived it.
These are the true tales of millennial women and our individual struggles with what we call millennial malaise.