In so many ways, the general velocity of living has increased exponentially over the past few decades. Technology has made everything so much faster and so much more accessible that we start to twitch when gratification is anything but instant. Snap a photo, there it is, without so much as a Polaroid shake. TV is on demand, news is real time, music is streaming, and you can ask Alexa to read you the weather report or put in your order at Starbucks before you even get out of bed. We click, tap, swipe, and scan our way through the day with only a vague memory of how things used to be before we were all fitted with wallet-sized super computers.
There’s An App for That
Most of the millennial generation would rather go hungry than actually have to pick up the phone to order pizza. And we will absolutely eat food that is just ok as long as the app we use to order it is well constructed.
- If you need to send a letter, you don’t have to lick a stamp and wait a few days for it to reach its recipient…you just click a button and wait a few seconds. Remember catalogues? We still get them sometimes, sure, and we might flip through them just for the nostalgia of it, but when’s the last time you actually filled out a paper order form and dropped it in the mail? Now all you have to do is tap the “Add to Cart” button, and your favorite lip gloss/unicorn pool float/embarrassingly big bag of gummy bears will be on their way to your doorstep in two shakes of an Amazon prime membership.
- When your mom reminds you to balance your checkbook, you can ease her mind by telling her it’s been balanced on the edge of your desk collecting dust since you opened your checking account because PayPal and Venmo exist.
- No need to reserve the microfiche machine at the library or leaf through the impossibly thin pages of your Encyclopedia Britannica if something has you stumped…let me Google that for you. The process of wondering, the sport of recalling, and the entire experience of NOT KNOWING are slowly disappearing as our smartphones essentially become extensions of our brains.
Like a Rolling Stone…
One thing that we do tend to take our time with now, more than ever though, is settling down. While of course there are always exceptions, and beautiful ones at that, we don’t tend to marry our high school sweethearts while the ink on our college diploma is still drying. And when we do get married, we don’t necessarily rush to start a family, or even buy a house.
For a while, or for longer than our parents did, we focus on growing branches without putting down roots, like seaweed traveling with the tide or those little air plants on the wall of your favorite coffee shop. We are curious. Restless. With information so readily available to us, what we really crave is EXPERIENCE. Memories. And good Instagram photos.
As a generation, we care deeply about our surroundings. We seek out the best cities for Millennials. We hunt tirelessly for apartments and houses that speak to our souls but fit into our budgets, and we obsess over everything that goes into them, right down to the light bulbs and the throw pillows.
But we get tired of things, so we buy new pillows and we change all the light bulbs even though they’re not burned out and we paint the bathroom a slightly lighter shade of blue. Then we get tired of those things, too, so we seek out the best Millennial travel blogs, and we sublet our painstakingly curated apartments and we JUST GO. We teach English in Thailand for a year, or maybe yoga in Dubai. We fly to Paris with nothing but carry-on bags and poorly conjugated French verbs, compelled by our love of wine and cheese and the movie Amelie.
The Top of the List
Eventually, most of us start to see value in being grounded. You might find a person and a pillow and a shade of blue that you can live with, and it’s then that you pull out the tattered adulting checklist that’s been in your metaphorical back pocket for every road trip and passport stamp and spontaneous decision.
Planning a wedding. Buying a house. Having a baby.
All these things can wait until you’re ready, and if you’re never ready, that’s fine too. But while the “no rush” approach is a healthy one for many milestones, there’s one item that you may want to check off as soon as possible: life insurance.
Click Your Way to Calm
Regardless of marital status, parental status, where you go, or how long you stay there, the risk of death is always there. You just never know, really, where you’ll end up today or if you’ll be here tomorrow. An affordable life insurance policy (which isn’t hard to find if you’re young and healthy) means that you’re helping to cover your final expenses if one of your adventures goes terribly wrong. It means that your family doesn’t have to spend an already dark time figuring out how to pay off some of the debt you left behind.
While researching life insurance may seem like a surefire way to think about dying, you may find that you actually think about it less once you have a plan in place. Death is unpredictable and inevitable. The way you live your life and the way you leave your life, though…these things are in your control.