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- Millennials are generally defined as people born from 1981 to 1996.
- In some ways, their lives are easier than things were for their parents at the same age.
- Online dating can lead to stronger relationships; you don’t need a traditional classroom to learn; and work/life balance is increasingly possible.
It’s easy for millennials to complain that their lives are worse than their parents’ and grandparents’ were at the same age.
And in some ways, they’re right.
But we’re not letting millennials – the generation born from 1981 to 1996 – off the hook so easily. In many ways, life is better for young people today than it was 30 or 60 years ago. Relationships, health, and education have all been transformed.
Below, we’ve listed six key reasons the millennial life is a relative breeze.
Millennials can stay in touch with family and friends on social media
There’s a lot of griping out there about how social media is ruining our attention spans, our ability to sit still, our self-esteem, and our lives in general.
But one of its most basic functions is to keep us connected to people we may otherwise lose touch with – and that’s pretty handy. Your mom may be lucky if she bumps into her old college roommate on the street one day, but you can message yours at any time, or even just like the person’s photos.
A 2015 study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, found that “passive” Facebook use – think browsing your News Feed – can indeed undermine well-being. But “active” Facebook use – think posting status updates and commenting on other people’s photos – can make us feel better.
Millennials are meeting their partners online — and the resulting relationships may be stronger
- Rasmus Zwickson/flickr
Online dating just wasn’t an option when baby boomers and Gen X-ers were younger.
But a growing body of research suggests that people who meet online have more satisfying relationships, are less likely to get divorced, and in fact get married more quickly than couples who meet IRL.
That’s most likely because people who sign up for dating services may be more interested in a relationship than, say, people at a bar who aren’t specifically there to meet a serious partner. It’s now easier than ever to find those relationship-oriented people.
Millennials have more options around remote and flexible work
- Laura Hoffmann/flickr
Digital technology is a double-edged sword when it comes to the workplace. On the one hand, it’s possible to be “always on,” signing back in to Slack or your work email after you get home.
On the other hand, today’s young professionals can use this technology to their advantage. Companies like Remote Year are creating “digital nomads,” or people who work wherever and whenever, rarely setting foot in a traditional office.
As Business Insider’s Áine Cain reported, even major companies like Amazon, Dell, and Hilton allow telecommuting for some positions. That can help employees create better work-life balance, especially if they’re caring for kids or other family members.
This isn’t an opportunity most baby boomers and Gen X-ers ever had.
Millennials are able to access health information more easily
- Getty Images/Joe Raedle
In the past decade or so, nutritional information has become easier to find.
For one, as of 2010, restaurant chains were required to post calorie counts on all menu items. And in 2016, the Food and Drug Administration revealed an overhaul of nutrition labels that made calorie counts and serving sizes clearer, in addition to other changes.
To be sure, some experts say it has gotten harder for people to lose weight, for reasons including less sleep and greater stress. But transparency about what exactly you’re putting into your body has increased – it’s up to consumers how they use it.
Millennials are able to learn outside a traditional classroom
- WOCinTech Chat/flickr
Major educational institutions around the world now offer online courses and other kinds of virtual-learning opportunities. You can also sign up for online classes on topics from programming to personal branding.
This shift has made a big impact on millennials: Business Insider previously reported on a poll that found 69% of people ages 18 to 34 said they thought they learned more from technology than from people. By comparison, only half of baby boomers said the same.
Millennials face less stigma around mental-health issues
In July 2017, a web developer’s Twitter post went viral. In the post, she shared an email from her boss praising her for taking a day off to focus on her mental health.
It’s a prime example of how the stigma around mental health is gradually decreasing. In fact, in 2017, NPR reported that “self-care” is trendy among millennials in a way it wasn’t among previous generations.
It’s worth noting, too, that mental help is easier than ever to access. Business Insider’s Erin Brodwin reported on her experience using the chatbot Woebot, one of a number of therapy-related apps.