With the oldest millennials turning 40 this year, our Capri-sun and Harry Potter-fueled generation is officially turning into uncles and aunts. And although it’s hard (and honestly painful to wrap our head around) how little behind we are from boomers, the reality hits and sends you a cold shower—you’re no kid anymore.
So it’s time to reflect on our millennial childhood, which was basically just as surreal and somewhat hyperreal as playing The Sims for the first time. Being the first generation to grow up in the internet age, there were many weird things about the ways we were raised by our parents.
“Millennials of Reddit, what lie were you told growing up?” someone asked on r/AskReddit, sparking a hilarious and all too relatable thread on the level of absurdity we endured. Interestingly, some of the lies will surely hit close to home to kids from latter gens, proving that it may not be about the generation per se, but rather about the fundamental divide between children and parents.
Money doesn’t buy happiness. Sorry folks. But in the world I’m currently living in, it absolutely does.
Image credits: Don_Cheech
Be loyal to your company. They’ll take care of you.
Also, follow your dreams, get a house with a yard, and you’ll be able to retire.
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“You’ll regret spending so much time on that computer when you’re older”
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You need to define yourself by your job. I wasn’t told this directly but we live in a culture of dream jobs or people asking “what’s your job” when they meet you. My work is cool but it’s just work. My hobbies are what I define myself around.
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Everyone in here is forgetting that WE WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE FLYING CARS BY NOW!
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That going to college meant you could get a job
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“Most people on the internet are dangerous weirdos!”
Most people on the internet are really ordinary people.
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America is the best. It turns out we are ok in many things, but not the best, and in many areas we are not even ok.
Image credits: Mr_Mouthbreather
So many movies growing up have people going to college, finishing at like 21, and already being engaged and married immediately after. Then within like 2 years of working they’re already buying a house with like 3 kids by 25.
Like Jesus Christ I’m 26 and just got engaged, only now getting a career in my field, and I’m still living at my parents after living away for like a year. Everything’s just so damn expensive and there’s just no money to be found. I can’t imagine raising kids yet.
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“You won’t have a calculator everywhere you go.”
Guess what Mrs. Diaz, I have a portable computer with access to the internet that fits in the palm of my hand.
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“Student loans are normal, don’t be afraid to go into debt for that out of state graduate degree”
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That turning on the lights in the car is illegal
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“It will all make sense when you’re older.” [Screw] that, everything makes even less sense. Now I’m older and expected to be independent and STILL don’t understand half the sh*t I need to accomplish that successfully.
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Being a good, ethical person will unlock doors. I only become a stepping stone for others.
That if I don’t have my life figured out by the time I’m 25 then I have some serious problems.
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Be a doctor, lawyer or engineer and you will be happy and make lots of money.
I know so many underemployed lawyers that it’s a little depressing. I don’t know a single MD that isn’t divorced (although I know a lot of happy DOs).
I do know a lot of happy, wealthy engineers though.
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All guys will only want sex from you *all the time. Turns out that kind of thinking is harmful to a young woman’s sexual-psychological development.
*Edit to add/specify that this also includes the idea that men are always “ready” to have sex at a moment’s notice, and if they aren’t, it obviously means there’s something wrong with you (or them) or they’re cheating (ridiculous, just because it’s anecdotally true for some doesn’t mean it’s a certainty).
Image credits: RogueLotus
I was told that sex was a reward gifted by women to be bestowed upon deserving men. Growing up it was awkward (and incredibly embarrassing) to understand that women can enjoy and want sex just as much as men.
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My Nanna told me the “I’m feeling lucky” button on Google would put a virus on the computer.
I’m 23 and I’ve never clicked it. I’m honestly not even sure what it does. But what if it does put a virus on the computer? Googling “what does the ‘I’m feeling lucky’ button do?” would do no good because they’d just cover their own tracks.
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My grandpa told me the world was in black & white before colour TV existed.
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“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”
In Finland, we were told that once the big age group born after WWII retires, there will be jobs everywhere, for everyone. That didn’t happen. The number of open positions has remained stagnant for ten years while the unemployment rate is rising.
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My mom told me to plan to take care of her when she got old, because she wouldn’t have retirement money saved up.
She died before I was out of the house.
Most everything else was great advice though:
“Get good grades, because we can’t afford to pay for your college.”
“Don’t marry the first guy who asks, just because you’re afraid no one else will.”
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Get a Bachelor’s Degree and you are set for life as far as a job/career is concerned.
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That I could be anything I want if I put my mind to it…
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That some dude is gonna walk up to me and offer me free drugs.
WHERE THE [HELL] ARE MY FREE DRUGS GOD DAMMIT
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“Find something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”
I’m one of the lucky ones that gets paid to do something I love (programming). I love programming. I go to work and I program. I come home and I program.
Work is still work. There are still days that I hate going into the office. There are days that I hate what I’m working on. It’s still work. It’ll always be work. Sometimes it feels like work even when I’m working on my personal projects.
The real benefit is that you’ll enjoy getting good at the thing you get paid to do. That’s the key. You probably aren’t going to be able to escape working, so if you can find something you won’t hate learning.
The biggest lie we were ever told was that we needed to go to school to and graduate and get a desk job in order to be successful. We were told it’s shameful to work a trade and work a job where you have to shower after coming home dirty.
Less and less millenials are going into skilled trades or going to trade schools. Those that do are finding they can live very comfortably and there’s no glass ceiling, you can work your way up and live very well. Also with less and less people going into trades the cost of skilled labor in the future is going to be very very high, people will be able to name their prices.
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That I’m smart. I was smart, sure- for a kid. But as I’ve gotten older that’s evened out significantly. I may know a lot of trivia and a lot about certain key subjects, but those are not actually marketable skills. So I work nights at a hotel and squeak by, living with my parents and racking up credit card debt to make ends meet.
That this war is worth fighting for. Join the infantry!
Two theaters later and a sh*t ton of baggage. I’ve been to rehab and have weekly classes dealing with PTSD. Now I get to look back on my handiwork and see it was for nothing. Nothing has changed.
“All those video games you play are gonna make you just like all the other losers who play them too”. Also something about anyone I meet online will be a terrible person.
Turns out, video games helped me shape my career, and the people I met on those games have been better people and better friends to me than anyone I have known irl.
That receiving ‘participation trophies’ were our fault. No kid was out there demanding a trophy for losing. Some dumbass parent thought it would be nice for their kid to get a trophy so somehow this has become normal and everyone claims some 5 year old masterminded the whole thing.
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It will get better
That the government represented the views of the people.
You don’t need work experience; grades will be enough.
That might have been OK in the past but then the global financial crisis hit and employers became much fussier.
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“you go to work, earn money, after 50 years you can be happily retired.”
No, it doesn’t work that way. Not anymore.
“You can be ANYTHING you want when you grow up.” Except, what you want to do won’t pay the bills so pick something else.
That my parents loved me.
Don’t go into x y or z for the money, you’ll end up hating it.
Motherf*cker the only reason I’m even considering career fields is for money. Bonus points if it’s interesting, but literally everything gets reduced to a puddle of suck once you start doing it 40 hours per week. I would love to be the delusional sunshine day dream asshole who comes to work because he likes it, but that just isn’t me. Pay me well and I will perform slightly better than average work, and whisper sweet nothing since my ear and I might even stay a little longer than necessary sometimes. But make no mistake. I am only in it for the money. Once that’s gone, so am I.
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That I would NOT make money being a “creative” such as an artist or novelist.
Although it is still difficult to earn a living in a non-conventional profession, the Internet has opened up a gazillion different opportunities to do so…
Etsy, Kick starter, Amazon self-publishing, creating and marketing your own website, YouTube, making connections for referral through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram….
Fun fact – was told to be an Architect and not an Artist (Architecture apparently closest thing to Artist that was allegedly an “actual thing”). Where I come from new grads in Architecture are often unemployed/underemployed for years, and I know a couple who supplement their income through the above “creative” means.
Never give out your personal information online.
Now that’s all the internet is. Everyone’s personal information
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Fats are bad for you.
That the Dewey Decimal System is essential, and that I would need to learn it to be successful in life. I haven’t been in a library in years.
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Tv always told me pouring a capful of any bubble bath will give me a whole tub of large bubbles. I haven’t found a soap that does that even with like half the bottle used.
“Go to college, I’ll pay for it.”
My $39K debt says otherwise.
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There was a big fish that lived in the canal behind my house and it hunted for the feet of children, so you should never walk on the banks of the canal because then it will grab your feet and eat you
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I’m still trying to figure out if I’m a millennial or not.
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I was told that the AIDS virus was smaller than the pores in a latex condom so you had to wait until you were married to have sex otherwise you could get AIDS even with a condom.
I was told that part was more dangerous than cocaine and having one joint with the equivalent of smoking 4 cigarettes at once and it can kill you.
I was told that taking shrooms could put you in a vegetative coma for the rest of your life.
I was also told that legalizing gay marriage would lead to bestiality and being able to marry ducks.
Image credits: I_am_jacks_reddit
Getting a job won’t be hard just walk right in and they’ll hire you.
That I’m smart but lazy. I’m actually just completely average but thanks to this lie I never developed any studying habits in high school that bit me in the ass hard in college.
That millennials are the reason the economy is worsened
That we’d be able to afford to buy a house when we grow up if we worked really hard and got good jobs. Turns out the freaking older generations bought them all and wanted to lease them. And when one goes on the market, they want to buy investment properties, or foreign investors make cash offers above the asking price. How do we compete with that?
That I would need and use cursive.
That they had it so much harder than us growing up
Everyone was poor and there was no progress in the middle ages.
That we could buy a house, grow old and retire.
I was told not to eat cake batter because it’d give me tapeworms.
That college is all fun and games , but nobody told you about internship and cocurriculars and finding jobs
The way to be financially secure is to work hard for years to better yourself and foster a valuable skillset.
Naaah, man. Get something called “cryptocurrency” and retire a millionaire in your early 20’s!
…I’m not bitter.