I write a lot about places, things, and experiences in Milwaukee, but never to a group of people for a specific purpose. Well, here I am typing, and here you are reading, and we might as well make the best of it.
If I could I’d begin this “open letter to Millennial Milwaukee” with an open bar for Millennial Milwaukee, but none of us have that kind of cash (and some of us are already losing the liver to handle that). Perhaps that’s one of the things that defines our generation so well (and, as an ’89 baby, I fall squarely in the middle of it); we’re the generation of have/have-not extremes.
On the one hand, many accuse us of being raised in pampered households with innumerable participation trophies lining the walls. We’re self-righteous, self-absorbed, and demanding. If we don’t have it (now), we want it (already). We weren’t born with silver spoons in our mouths, but we were raised spoon-fed.
On the other hand, a large percentage of us have debt (be it student, credit card, mafioso) that hinders our ability to tackle those “normal” life-events early on. We’ve got to be the first generation without a vast majority raised in the traditional, nuclear family.
But perhaps more influential to the definition of our generation than having or lacking is our being raised in a time of unprecedented connectedness. The media can talk forever about our love of texting, Snapping, Tindering; but those still limit us to interacting with either people we know or people in our immediate vicinity. That’s been going on forever. Twitter, on the other hand, has opened our generation to not only immediate news, but also views from strangers from around the world, in a concise medium. That’s new.
And it has led us Millennials to begin the greatest migration seen since World War II; that is, the shift of our population back from the suburbs to the cities. As we interact with the world around us more and more virtually, we demand that same interaction physically. Gone is the quest for white-washed, cookie-cutter lives. We crave the gritty, we seek the vibrant, we demand the lively.
Welcome to an appreciation, if not an exultation, of who you are and what you represent. Welcome to the changing of the guard. Welcome to Millennial Milwaukee. Use The Squeaky Curd as your guide.