I woke up in a towel on my bed. Usually, the first question I would ask myself when things like this happened in my 20's was "What happened?" followed by "How did I get here?", but last night I knew exactly what happened and exactly how I got there. Which was a relief. It was midnight. There was no stranger in bed next to me, just a dog snoring loudly. No dried puke in my hair. Oddly, no pounding headache. I had some missed calls and texts wondering "wya".

Earlier in the day, I had gone down to the pool in my apartment complex. I had saddled up pool-side in to what has been dubbed apparently as "my spot" in the corner. I do find a lounger chair and stick to it, if i can help it. Although, I'm not so set in my ways that I can't be flexible and find another one in case someone has beat me to the punch. I actually didn't know until yesterday everyone's apartments looking down on the pool had dubbed it my spot, but i'll take it. I had brought some wine to share with a neighbor and figured I would enjoy most of the day hanging out and anticipating some new meet and greets. (Those of you who have lived or do live in apartments buildings are aware of the pool culture. You learn a lot down here). So as the day went on I somehow made my way down the length of the pool talking and drinking with new neighbors. Some were grilling. Some were celebrating the Easter holiday and some were just arriving later in the afternoon. Food always seems to draw a crowd.

Our building is quite new, so basically we are all new tenants with new stories and backgrounds to tell each other. It feels oddly like college, just coupled up, with the occasional loner like me. Most of the tenants are even in their 20's. Not many elder millennials in their mid 30's. Most are in the creative space, tech space, hustlin' out there making it happen and on a very big social media scale. Everyone wants to be an influencer, but some of them have really done well for themselves. (more on that later) As we partied the day away, shots were flowin' (unfortunately no Akon this time like in my book), and you would assume the day drinking/dusk drinking would end and all would be well. However, there was talk about a mansion party. Something happened to me y'all because my 17 year old self took over and was like, omg I'm getting invited to a party in Calabasas like a Kardashian, and i was never allowed to go to parties in high school (forgetting i went to so many in college) and this is a treat! I cannot tell you all why i am like this. I have been to Hollywood parties at the Cannes Film Festival. I have been to Yacht parties, but for some reason last night, i felt like i really needed to go to this fun party with my younger "dorm mates". So, we all made a plan to meet up later after naps and head out. Well.... i napped...napped myself into extinction. Knowing at 34 years old that you just can't hang anymore like you used to makes you question your own level of "coolness". Let me explain...

It's not about how much you drink or if you smoke weed to make you seem more cool. As a millennial, I know my level of alcohol that is too much. I rarely hit it and if i do, i know I will suffer for a couple of days. However, I can have just as much fun hanging with the right type of people without it. I can say no to another shot and not feel "uncool." Where i feel pressure or "on the verge of extinction" is keeping up with the social/tech aspects of life. Do you feel that way as an older millennial? Over the age of 30? More like mid 30's? It's hard enough to master instagram, twitter, snapchat (if that's even a thing) and to truly understand all their algorithms and marketing strategies, but to throw in TikTok, start your own YouTube channel for your side hustle, work your regular job, maintain your romantic relationship, keep up your fitness routine, walk your dog, call your parents, catch up on whatever new series dropped on Netflix.... I mean it's exhausting. It's not like Gen X or Boomers. There wasn't all this pressure to have #1 your social life on social media and #2 the fact you can make legit money off of it. How do you stand out? How can you be more special that the other person? The Gen Z'ers. They were born for this. They have spent every waking moment online. They get it. You know what we know how to do? Cut paper straight without using scissors. You see, you fold the piece of paper in half, you lick the crease, then you fold it back the other way and then you slowly rip the piece of paper apart at the crease. You know what else we know how to do? Write a check properly. We also know how to sell the shit out of some lemonade and make a profit.

I know we have it in us, millennials, to be relevant. To feel relevant. We aren't dinosaurs. We aren't extinct. Even if some days we wonder why we don't feel like the popular kid in school. Maybe we never were, and that's ok. Because sometimes the trendy thing isn't always the likable thing. Sometimes the "Mosaic" way to go about it (you know that thing you had to do in art class that always required a signature from your parents because you were going to be smashing glass and shit) is the unique way. Sometimes the broken pieces make something beautiful. Look out for the different pieces in your life and try and glue those together to find something worthy of sharing.

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We rarely missed church when I was a kid. Almost never. I had to go every Sunday like clockwork (and Wednesday nights too, yay). Basically Sunday was wiped out. I had a few hours after lunch to do something "fun". Which, basically consisted of me doing some homework and going on a run that my Dad guilted me into because I needed to keep my times down so I could make State. One thing about those Boomers, they are not only driven, but diligent. Two habits I will say us millennials have picked up that we can thank them for, but back to church... I grew up going to a Baptist church. You know, the ones that basically tell you everything you do in life is wrong and you're going to hell. Start off too strong did I? Let's call a spade a spade here. The Baptist denomination (especially the southern Baptist) is one of the most strict ones out there. If we look at extremists, I would rank this denomination pretty extreme, based on my experience with this particular sector of religion and the churches that I have attended. There is no moderation with the Baptists. Everything just cuts you off at the ballsack. Just hand em' over when you walk in because you ain't gon' by allowed to do nothing. Which brings me to missing church on that one Sunday...

I woke up at my regular Sunday time of 8:30 and dragged my crabby ass out of bed. I also never understood why we had to start so early on a weekend. Church never understood that us kids had to get up every damn day early for school 5 days a week. We only get one day to sleep in? Maybe some of us have insomnia?! Maybe some of us want to stay up late one night at a friends house? How many sleepovers I had to leave on a Sunday morning before everyone woke up because I wasn't allowed to miss church. Fucking church? Not one Sunday unless we were on vacation? So this Sunday, I guess my mom was really sick or something was happening in the family. I do not know what, but I thanked my lucky stars and went back to bed. I woke up, came down stairs in search for food (that was never in my house- the real reason I was skinny as a kid- my mom was on a permanent diet) and got a call from my friend. Millennials- don't you remember phone calls on the landline from your friends? I miss those days. Our cell phones were for emergencies. Our cell phones were just to tell our parents when we were leaving our destination. We rarely texted. Anyway, I got a call from my church friend and OMFG the ONE TIME I MISS CHURCH. After the singing segment (if you're unfamiliar with the Lord's house, this is when we wave our hands in the air and don't care), the Pastor (who usually gets up to start his 45-1 hour always runs over sermon) got up and needed to have a "talk" with the congregation. *gasps* He said he had something to confess. What does this mean, you're thinking? What does this mean? I asked my friend. She went onto say that he then proceeded to tell everyone that "He had been spending time counseling a fellow congregate helping her through a death in the family." and that "He didn't intend for things to turn the way that they did, but that he's been having an affair." Now, y'all. Let me stop you right there. On this phone call with my friend, I couldn't help but die laughing. Now, affairs are not funny. But what is hilarious is the fact that the married Pastor of my church was having an affair with a woman in the congregation. All of this preaching and God says this and God says that and then the one "closest to God" goes and does this? But wait...the story gets better...

So the following week there's gossip here and there over what has happened. I don't go to the private christian school that most of the kids from the church go to so I don't have a full grasp of what's gone on, but i've gotten some phone calls at night. So when Sunday rolls around I am ALL FOR GOING TO CHURCH. I AM READY. I wake up like it's Christmas morning. No alarm needed. Go downstairs to find out...we're not fucking going. Now i won't go into personal details, but my Grandpa was sick at the time so there was family stuff with that. But i was super bummed that we weren't going. I waited all week to see how the Pastor was going to pastor for that Sunday or if he was even going to be there. So I sulked off to go get my run out of the way so I could actually "enjoy" the day. Later, the phone rang. It was my friend from church and OMFG the SECOND TIME I MISS CHURCH! After the singing segment, (you know the drill) the Pastor wasn't there. Someone was filling in, but before the person could start their 45-1 hour long sermon, a woman from the congregation says "excuse me" and the Fill In Pastor calls on her, thinking she's going to ask a question. Nope. She makes her way down to the front (alter call isn't til the end of the show, lady) and starts to address the congregation. She starts telling her side of the story saying how long things have been going on with the Pastor and apologizes to everyone. The woman who it ended up being, well her son was a friend of mine. And my friend on the him! It's probably better I wasn't there because I don't think I could've kept a straight face. This is free entertainment people! I mean you never want to see someone's marriage break up because of people's reckless behavior, but I sort of blame religion.

Obsessing over anything is unhealthy. Diving into anything head on is unhealthy. What i've noticed with millennials and how they were raised is they never really had a choice to choose religion. They were just born into being taught what their parents wanted to teach them. Whether their parents were Catholic, Christian (Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Non-denominational,etc), Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, they learned it, believed it and went along with it, whether that's what they really wanted for themselves or not. Some of us, like me, didn't agree with a lot of the principles or "rules" of the religion. I mean of course there are rules I believe in like don't murder people and be a good person and dont steal etc. But what I was taught in regards to dating, sex, drinking, women's rights, shit- human's rights in general, are not things that I feel many religions fully understand. Yes there are LGBTQ friendly churches (especially in Los Angeles), but not many religions actually accept LGBTQ friendly people. And to me, that's not ok. Because if there really is a God, then he accepts all. I look at a lot of religious people as being some of the most hypocritical. If you're going to pick and choose with things you want to believe and not believe...then why believe at all? I didn't think religion worked like that. I was taught no sex before marriage, don't drink, don't do this don't do that. What I wore was a problem (by the way this was a Hollister jean skirt and a halter top-scandalous!). Imagine what people are wearing today! I know we all sat inside with Covid, but things are opening up. People are wearing things like just a piece of string at the pool. String! No, not a thong. Just like some Yarn wrapped around their body and called it a "bathing suit." That's the "fashion" these days. In all seriousness you have to have rules to protect your kids. They are growing and their brains are growing, so instead of parents forcing their views and opinions on their kids, maybe they should educate them on the differences between the religions. Religion is a view and opinion, whether people want to understand that or not. Each religion is different. Even if you don't believe in what I believe to be educated and understand the difference and to let your child choose for themselves and respect that allows them to develop their own personality and sense of being. I feel (strictly my opinion) that Boomers took that away from Millennials. They were so focused on creating us to be like them that they didn't allow us to fully grow into our potential. We are a very resilient generation. We may be late bloomers figuring out what we want, but we still are willing to learn, try new things and discover internally about ourselves. Don't feel bad if you want to lose your religion. Also, don't feel bad if you lost it and you want to get it back. Meanwhile, I'll be dumpster diving in search for merriness...

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Who here wasn't the smartest kid in high school? Well that was me. Who here would have LOVED to choose between Harvard, Brown, Yale, Dartmouth, and all that?.....actually not me. But who felt the pressure anyway? Let me guess? You too? Recently, I was watching the "Operations Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal" on Netflix. It brought back harrowing memories for when I would be up late trying to write some 30 page paper to turn in at my college prep high school where everyone hoped to be "picked" for something. Some award, some achievement, some form to be "popular". Although I wasn't involved in any of those scandals or any other type of admission scandal, I just remember what it was like going to high school from 2001-2005 and how important college was to... my boomer parents. I feel like most millennials felt this way. The need to succeed. (should I start making t-shirts with the hashtag #isurvivedboomerparents) Whether it be the best athlete, get highest SAT score or beat out all the girls for the lead in the school musical, we were taught the pressures to compete with our fellow classmates to do well at basically anything and everything (like Student Body Government, which lured me for the free food only). Our parents put the pressure on us, which in turn made us put the pressure on ourselves and in all honesty, to no fault of...well ALL involved. That's how boomers were raised and that's all they knew (and know). Now i know that people scold millennials and say things like "You all have such a problem with Boomers." The truth is, we do and I think our issue is a very valid one. We are stuck between chasing the American dream and be anything you want to long as it's what your parents say you should be.

As millennials, I believe we grew up with the best of both worlds. We grew up playing outside (like our boomer parents). Running around with our friends, riding bikes, rollerblading, getting muddy and TV was something that we did on the weekend at sleepovers. (Unless you were cool and got to play video games- i, sadly, was not cool) Rarely do I remember watching TV during the week. But, as millennials, we also got the most amazing discovery known to man....AIM....just kidding, we got the internet, but in general, AIM and being able to chat with our friends about who was going to see what movie and what Sara bought at the mall this weekend while she walked around holding Johnny's hand was the best news you could get before someone put up there super cool away message. Our parents just didn't understand as they had come from this totally unrelated era. This may have been a reason why they wanted us to succeed in corporate America so badly because they saw opportunities with technology. But, i saw it more so that it just was how the wheel had always worked. I doubt they expected that when we actually DID go to college and that most of us went to normal schools, picked normal majors (you know the ones that are a shoe-in for those ladder climbing jobs) that a crash would happen and we would be moving right back into their house asking for lunch money.

Everyone says we're the "lost" generation. Well, it's not like "whoops? where'd they go?" We're right here. We've been right here. But no one wants to take the time to really understand our feelings and what's happened. No matter what decisions we have made in the past based on our educational choices, we got fucked. There are a ton of books about it, podcasts, articles, you name it. We have been studied. Our boomer parents seemed to care more about what they thought was better for their kids than actually taking the time to get to know their kids when they were younger. I mean, of course it's easy to get your kids involved in activities or if you're a working parent they are home and it's harder to spend one on one time with them. And if your kid was involved in sports, then you'd push them towards a scholarship. Good luck if it was the school play. To them, that's not "a real career". That school play is going to get you a studio apartment in Koreatown for $1600 a month with street parking, hoping that your wheels don't get stolen off your car every night. That school play is going to get you dog walking jobs, DoorDash delivery jobs, temp agency jobs, with the occasional Workout Girl #2 in a Beachbody fitness promo video and other random commercials. But are you doing something you love? I digress... They wanted to pave the route for you. That's where i think they made the mistake. (i'm not talking ALL boomers fyi). As millennials, we didn't have the resources that Gen Z has that allows them to be open about mental health, therapy, identity, etc. Many things were shoved under the rug. (All of us hanging out with these lumpy rugs).

So, here we were, listening to our parents, going the corporate way. I mean who doesn't love doing their third un-paid internship at 26 years old, living over their parents garage, while their friend goes off to law school to be another cog in a wheel only to make you contemplate if you should study for the LSAT or the MCATS or some four letter word test and get yourself more in debt to "make something" of yourself since clearly this internship isn't going anywhere and you only make coffee and file paperwork anyway...

Boomer parents have never understood the "freelance" lifestyle. The idea that you can make just as much money being a Photographer, Chef, Graphic Designer, start your own accounting firm, and so many more jobs that make more money than sending behind a desk pushing paper. Just because they don't understand it doesn't mean it's not real. I actually have to remind myself as a millennial that just because I don't understand Gen Z sometimes and their TikTok videos and all their technology, it works for them. But i think millennials are more accepting of that and flexible because we had to go through a lot of psychological abuse (more on that later).

Fast forward to 2020, just as some of these merry millennials have become un-merry again due to the Coronavirus, they have now lost their jobs they have worked hard to finally get, possibly move back home with their parents, and the self-esteem that was there might be gone. Can you relate? Because I really felt it this past year.

I have kind parents, but a part of me feels like I will never accomplish what they did in their careers. Because of this high bar. I feel as a millennial we were taught to seek that validation, especially in our careers. Not all millennials are meant to live and die by the 9 to 5. I believe there are a lot of millennials that have paved their way to do their own thing. I believe in all of you un-merry millennials looking for your way back to being merry.

So, if you feel lost in the world, don't be afraid to ask for directions sometimes. Maybe from a fellow millennial, maybe from a Gen Z. Maybe they can show you something new (maybe on a cool app we're only starting to half understand). Meanwhile, I'll be dissecting "Why Everything I Do In My 30's Is Still A Problem For My Boomer Parents" at the beach and tell you about it on the next post.

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