Oh hi there, I’m a late 20-something just struggling to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Enjoy some of my tender millennial fails; I hope they put you at ease that we are not alone in this shitshow that we call the 2010s.
Perhaps the most millennial way to nearly kill yourself (or, you know, give yourself seriously bad food poisoning) — not badly stored poké or questionable avocados — heck no. Kombucha, the drink that’s meant to be all about living your best life, spending an hour’s wage on a precious trendy recycled bottle on the way out from WholeFoods, on the way back to your overpriced rental in Central London. Oh kombucha, promised drink, you betrayed me. Big time.
When did kombucha become a thing? Ok, so it’s some ancient drink people love (and I guess the answer is… it’s been a thing for a while, it’s just been repackaged in pretty bottles for our generation) and all that — meant to be great for the gut, for health in general, etc. Except when you’re me, apparently, and you overdo it. When I kombucha, I really kombucha.
I drank an entire bottle of a very trendy, lovingly hipster-looking kombucha, washing down my meal of purple radish, kale and quinoa… only to start feeling quite ill on my commute home. Like, hot hot hot. I was in a singlet top and jeans on a chilly early autumn day while everyone around me was in jackets. I managed to get home, just in time, for the eruption. This was not exactly the gut-health-cleanse I’d anticipated.
Kombucha: drink, but beware.
I probably shouldn’t have agreed to either of the two Tinder dates I went on. One of them gave plenty of warning signs, like using a lot of caps and bad spelling in his messages. “Omg, isn’t it sweet that you are soooooo smart!” he said when we did meet, hefting most of our ‘shared plate’ into his mouth. This was a response to me explaining the Australian electoral system to him; he was delighted I understood voting. I am also delighted that I understand voting. But I’m not used to men cooing over me like I’ve just said my first word and they’ve borne witness.
So yeah, there was no date two.
Meanwhile, a person I used to know lined up 8 Tinder dates in a fortnight, picked one and asked her to marry him. It worked. They’re engaged. Does it get more millennial than that? Welcome to modern romance, pals.
Living in The Cupboard
It’s a sad fact of millennial life that you’re probably unable to buy a home until half your relatives die, particularly if you live in a big city like London. Stopping short of wishing death to your loved ones (which is, yeah, extreme…), you’re often faced with some ugly choices about where to live. I faced those ugly choices in 2016 when I underwent what I affectionately term my ‘Whole Life Implosion’. You can read more about that not-so-lols time below. Joyous!
I Never Wrote A Word. Now I Write Every Day.
Unleash creativity, write more, shake off the burdens of ‘greatness’…
So I ended up in what is definitely not the worst ever rental on offer in London, but let’s face it, not a palace. A place I have nicknamed ‘The Cupboard’. Because it was basically the size of a pantry, and contained a sink with no hot water, a bed, and my desk. All jammed together in easy elbow-bashing reach of each other.
The fridge was from the 1970s and had discoloured to a shade that I can only describe as putrified puke. The bathroom was shared with 6 other flats. The electricity went dead on days where it was ‘too cold’ or ‘too hot’ or ‘too windy’. My landlord kept sending ‘plumbers’ to my apartment who proceeded to never fix my hot water, just putting out new pigeon deterrents on the window sills instead.
Is this plumbing? I am confused.
The Speed Date That Became an Actual Date
“There is no actual gender pay gap,” he announced assertively, mid-conversation about what we each did for a living. “It’s just a story invented to make men feel bad.”
Turns out, you can’t gauge a person’s level of self-delusion in a 30 second speed date — it comes out on Valentine’s Day instead, when they’re a few drinks in to a jug of sickly sweet cocktail in a lame underground bar in Central London.
“I’ll see you real soon,” I lied.
‘That doesn’t seem very “mindful”’
Here’s the thing about living right now: Everyone’s a fucking artist. Or a ‘creative’. Everyone’s environmentally conscious, going plant-based, anti-capitalism, etc. Including me. I own it. I am one of those people. Once you’ve identified yourself as ‘one of those people’ there are so many aligned causes to suddenly magnetise towards.
One of these is practicing ‘mindful’ living. Which is a great thing, I will un-ironically tell you, but which many people use to replace the old adage of, ‘I’m definitely getting into shape this year’ or ‘Sorry I can’t eat that, I’m going on a diet. For real this time’. The new, hip, millennial version is, ‘I’m planning on being more mindful this year’ or ‘Sorry, I can’t, I’m practicing my mindfulness right now. For real this time’.
By which they mean, they read an article on Buzzfeed once about mindfulness, and now they’re living mindfully, which is all about sitting there and saying you’re living mindfully, because apparently saying is doing, now. Phew. I’m so glad we can just say things like, ‘I am totally mindful’, and make them true.
Well, as a self-consciously self-righteous millennial person, I’m here to tell you this isn’t enough, sorry. I really don’t want to know about your particular weird meditation routine and I don’t really want to know about how you sat there for hours ‘mindfully’ playing games on your phone, because everything counts as ‘mindfulness’ now. A pinnacle example came recently when someone I know chastised my partner who expressed a “bad” feeling truthfully (he said he often feels ‘competitive’ when he does sports, even if he knows it’s a largely unhelpful way to feel). The mindfulness police person responded, “That doesn’t sound very mindful.”
Shhhh, hunty, you’re confused. A person expressing a true feeling, consciously, is being mindful. Time to maybe read a thing, before going about shaming each other for whether or not we’re ‘mindful’ enough to be ‘mindfully’ living. Bloody millennials.
Coffee is Life, Stop Ruining It
Standing around laughing as I passed by, coffee cup in hand: “Oh there she goes again, with all her posh coffees, all the time!”
Yes, fuck, of course I got a nice coffee. You total numpties are drinking instant. INSTANT. Are you dead inside? Also, I’m literally Italian-Australian, the most offensively up itself combination of coffee snob that can exist, and I literally came direct from Melbourne, hipster capital of the universe. Please. Show some cultural sensitivity. I’ve emerged into a city where Costa is a thing. And, apparently, instant coffee.
Acqua sporca, as my mother would say. Dirty water.
I was mocked endlessly by these women at work, who seemed to think that taking pride in my coffee, in this tiny joy that I could extract from my under-paid, overworked, horrendously sexist environment of a job, was something to look down on. What happened to sisterhood, ladies? Give a girl a break. It was 2016 at the time, the Brexit vote had just happened, and Trump was about to happen. Please allow the small victory of a decent coffee in the morning. Please.
Millennial Fail, A Love Story
Aren’t we so super lucky to live in this day and age, of greater gender equality and WholeFoods and Amazon Prime? Seriously though, living today is basically the epitome of comfort compared to literally every time that’s come before. And yet, our issues today are just as bizarre, just as hard to navigate, if for different reasons.
I am lucky and privileged to be an educated white woman living in a developed nation, in one of the busiest and most exciting cities in the world. I am happy to have this life, and I don’t take it for granted. Even if it’s easy to roll our eyes at all the millennial fail out there — all the convoluted self-righteousness that I am obviously not immune to (hello, this article), all the ideas of living well that seem to come from Goop.com whether I mean them to or not — we are a generation that are simply doing our best. I am constantly plagued by the Socratic question and I don’t pretend otherwise. I want to keep on questioning why I’m doing as I’m doing. How can I be the best possible citizen of this planet?
If that makes me annoying to listen to and a bit of a pain, then I guess that’s just how it has to be. I am a millennial, pretty much, and I care about the world around me. I love this time, even if it scares me.
There will be dozens more avocado-eating, yoga-stretching, kombucha-drinking, shit-flat-renting, house-plant-killing, internet-oversharing, romance-wrecking, app-based-decision-making, life fails in my lifetime, I don’t doubt it. We’re all just doing what we can, and while I’m usually doing my best to cultivate the best ideas and practices I’ve discovered into a digestible format on this platform, we all need a little reminder from time to time that we’re all just human, in the end. Including me, millennial creative wannabe, writing on Medium.