First, a chart from Pew Research. If you were 22 to 37 years old last year, you’re a Millennial:
The author of this article says Millennials are burned out:
How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation, Anne Helen Petersen, BuzzFeedNews, 5 January 2019
“I tried to register for the 2016 election, but it was beyond the deadline by the time I tried to do it,” a man named Tim, age 27, explained to New York magazine last fall. “I hate mailing stuff; it gives me anxiety.” Tim was outlining the reasons why he, like 11 other millennials interviewed by the magazine, probably wouldn’t vote in the 2018 midterm election. “The amount of work logically isn’t that much,” he continued. “Fill out a form, mail it, go to the specific place on a specific day. But those kind of tasks can be hard for me to do if I’m not enthusiastic about it.”
Tim is burned out. The author, also a millennial, also feels burned out. She can’t get her tasks done:
None of these tasks were that hard: getting knives sharpened, taking boots to the cobbler, registering my dog for a new license, sending someone a signed copy of my book, scheduling an appointment with the dermatologist, donating books to the library, vacuuming my car. A handful of emails — one from a dear friend, one from a former student asking how my life was going — festered in my personal inbox.”
The author’s partner is also burned out:
My partner was so stymied by the multistep, incredibly (and purposefully) confusing process of submitting insurance reimbursement forms for every single week of therapy that for months he just didn’t send them — and ate over $1,000.
People the woman knows are burned out:
Another woman told me she had a package sitting unmailed in the corner of her room for over a year. A friend admitted he’s absorbed hundreds of dollars in clothes that don’t fit because he couldn’t manage to return them.
The reason tasks don’t get done?
The vast majority of these tasks shares a common denominator: Their primary beneficiary is me, but not in a way that would actually drastically improve my life. They are seemingly high-effort, low-reward tasks, and they paralyze me — not unlike the way registering to vote paralyzed millennial Tim.
The end result is that everything, from wedding celebrations to registering to vote, becomes tinged with resentment and anxiety and avoidance. Maybe my inability to get the knives sharpened is less about being lazy and more about being too good, for too long, at being a millennial.
Millennials are burned out because they are too good at being Millennials?
So, Millennials are too burned out to vote. Well, I hope Millennials vote. We need all the votes we can muster next year. Voting is not a “low-reward” task whose primary beneficiary is the person voting. Voting has profound impact on the entire population. It is because of how we vote, including how Millennials voted, that we have the President we have, the Congress we have, the courts and laws we have, the economy, regulations, healthcare, environment, on and on.
The simple acts of registering to vote and going to the polling station can be tinged, not with resentment and anxiety and avoidance, but with joy and hope.