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Millennials and Stress

Millennials and Stress

Ridiculing polls is a cheap tactic that I learned early in my career as a newspaper columnist. It’s something every column writer does from time to time to fill space. You simply go for chuckles at the expense of earnest social scientists and their subjects.

It’s cheesy.

Yet I am not above such things. 

Proof? Today we’re going to discuss research conducted recently by an outfit called OnePoll that claims that 58 percent of American millennials - poor Bambis - “feel life is more stressful now than ever before.”

It’s all about feelings with this bunch, isn’t it?

Take a peek at their list of top stressors:

1. Losing wallet/credit card

2. Arguing with partner

3. Commute/traffic delays

4. Losing phone

5. Arriving late to work

6. Slow WiFi

7. Phone battery dying

8. Forgetting passwords

9. Credit card fraud

10. Forgetting phone charger

11. Losing/misplacing keys

12. Paying bills

13. Job interviews

14. Phone screen breaking

15. Credit card bills

16. Check engine light coming on

17. School loan payments

18. Job security

19. Choosing what to wear

20. Washing dishes

Let’s go for a little perspective, remembering that these 22 to 37 year-olds are fragile, what with all that traumatic losing of credit cards and bickering with their “partners.”

Check engine lights drive millennials mad. The rest of us love them.  Photo by Kerry

Check engine lights drive millennials mad. The rest of us love them. Photo by Kerry

Dare I suggest that these adults, who were born between 1981 and 1996, ask their fathers and grandfathers about their anxiety levels during the 1960s and early ‘70s when turning 18 meant the draft board wanted to send your sorry ass to Vietnam?

I know, I know, slogging through the jungles of Southeast Asia is nowhere near as upsetting as slow WiFi, but it was mighty high on the stress scale for the guys in my town.

Millennials might also want to bone up on The Great Depression and ponder what it was like to be a young adult in 1933 when the unemployment rate was about 25 percent and most people their age were married with families, not sofa surfing with friends or back in their bunkbeds at Mom and Dad’s.

Don’t forget, it wasn’t until December of that year the jobless could legally wash away their sorrows. Prohibition, you know.

Not being able to buy liquor is nothing compared with losing one’s keys, I guess. But by 1933 the entire country was in a real hobo funk. No work. No booze. What a combo.

Millennials are worse off than those poor, dry people?

Every generation thinks they have it tough, of course. And there IS a lot of pressure on today’s millennials who came of age during a miserable recession.

Then again, they didn’t have duck-and-cover drills in elementary school. (Even I knew that the piece of notebook paper I balanced on my pigtails wasn’t going to protect me from radioactive fallout.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure fear of nuclear annihilation is nothing like the catastrophe of a check engine light blinking to life on a Friday night. Still, schoolchildren were a tad stressed out during the Bay of Pigs.

Millennials never waited in odd-and-even gas lines during the dreary Carter years, either. Or tried to buy a house when mortgage interest rates were climbing to 18.5 percent. They grew up without the fear of polio - until some of their wacky cohorts became anti-vaxxers, that is. They never had to stick their soft fingers in a rotary phone. Or sleep on fat plastic hair rollers.

Shoot, do millennials ever stop to consider how lucky they are to have been born after the appearance of luggage with wheels?  Of course they don’t. Dragging suitcases was a way of life for those of us born before 1980. It made us strong. And slow.

Millennials take that surprisingly recent invention (seriously, inventors, what took so long?) for granted the same way they assume modern dental care was always the norm.

Yes, we all know that choosing what to wear can be soul crushing, but how does it stack up against the raw fear that must have come with seeing the dentist grab a pair of pliers to yank your throbbing molar, without the benefit of anesthesia?

Sorry, dear millennials, but when “washing dishes” makes your top 20 list of anxiety triggers, you’ve got nothing to stress about. Historically, speaking.

In fact, I’ll see your “phone battery dying” and raise you a “waiting by the lone pay phone on the dorm floor while some weepy girl argues with her hometown honey for hours.”

Pour yourselves a drink, millennials. Not that you need it.

Note from the staff of kerrydougherty.com: We object! Imagine the stress the Princess of Snark would suffer if the millennials who design her website, post her content, choose her art, manage the technology she can’t seem to master no matter how many times we explain it, and who reluctantly rouse themselves at 2 a.m. to change her headlines when she suddenly “thinks of something better,” decided to go on strike. Stress? That Baby Boomer would fall apart like a trailer in a tornado.

Signed, Bryn and Carlisle.

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