Five More Things Millennials Need to Kill

I’m a millennial, and I like to read about what’s unique about my generation, even if it’s just a lazy analysis of market trends that might as well be noise. But the one consistent thing I keep reading is that Millennials are Killing Everything. At least, that’s what the Miami Herald says, offering 27 examples. Business Insider claims that ‘Psychologically Scarred’ Millennials are killing countless industries, but I can count, and they only have 19 in their list. Even BuzzFeed seems to mock their own style of headline: Here Are 28 Things Millennials Are Killing In Cold Blood. Not to be outdone, Mashable offers 70 things millennials have killed.

Since this seems to be our generational superpower (apparently always alongside avocado toast), I have a few more things that I’d like to see us use it on.

Snail mail

Imagine you heard that a new e-mail service was available, where you’d have to pay for each e-mail you send, but they wouldn’t be guaranteed to arrive for a couple of days. Moreover, you’d have to change e-mails and figure out how to forward it whenever you move; sometimes e-mails accidentally go to your neighbors rather than yourself, and 90% of the e-mails you’d get to that new address were spam you couldn’t filter out or unsubscribe from? Would you sign up?

Overstuffed Mailbox

Look at all that wasted postage! And no, this isn’t my mailbox.

Seriously, I only check my mailbox because I have to — it’s the only way sclerotic bureaucracies like hospitals and the federal government know how to contact me. And half of the mail I find there is actually addressed to a previous occupant of our apartment. There’s also the very occasional Save the Date or wedding invitation on fancy paper (because #tradition), but it’s not like we couldn’t all just use Paperless Post or a dozen other equivalent services. And if you really want to send me a hand-written letter, write it out and take a picture of it and attach it to an e-mail to me.

Snail mail needs to die, but I’m afraid it’s going to be a slow and agonizing death.

TV

Enter the living room of any home, and it’s often clear what the centerpiece is. All of the couches and chairs are facing it, not each other, because why go through all of the effort of talking to other human beings when you could just watch them talking to you?

Living Room with TV

This picture also neatly captures another bad idea for a living room centerpiece: giant brussel sprouts.

Need something else to headline the room? How about just a table to eat or play board games on? Or maybe you don’t even need a living room if all you would do watch is TV in there. One fewer room to clean and lose things in!

Remember “TV Dinners”? Neither do I. It’s time we finish the job and do away with the TVs themselves as well as the personally packaged food our parents were supposed to eat in front of them.

Long commutes

Speaking of another outdated ideal, living far from where you work is overrated. Why intentionally make things harder for yourself? If you don’t want to go back into work on evenings and weekends, just don’t!

Living closer doesn’t just make things easier for you. It’s better for the environment, and better for everyone else who would otherwise be stuck in rush hour traffic with you.

Granted, not everyone has the opportunity — that neighborhood might be too expensive or too dangerous, or you might have to compromise with other members of your family. But if you have the option to live near your work, just do it. Long commutes need to become a thing of the past.

Commuting Map

Look at all that long distance commuting! Source: Wired.

Car ownership

Once you live near your work, cars start to become extraneous. Yes, you’ll want to call the occasional Uber / Lyft / ZipCar, but if it’s only happening a couple of times a week, the costs will still be far lower than that of owning a car and paying for insurance.

Cars aren’t even an investment like houses. They immediately lose around 11% of their value when you buy them, and the costs due to that value depreciation are even higher than the costs of gas. In other words, you’re likely paying more to buy your car, even on net, than you’ll ever spend on the gas and repairs you put into it.

Car Dealership

Can we make car dealerships a thing of the past? No one likes car salesmen anyways. And look at all of those cars not doing anything!

If you think about it, everyone owning a car is also kind of dumb. We typically aren’t driving them for more than a couple of hours per day at most, which means they spend over 90% of their lives parked somewhere, taking up space without adding value. It’s like that famous myth that you only use 10% of your brain, except it’s true. How about we stop doing that?

Sightseeing

You want to see some famous historical location or natural wonder? Option 1: Buy a plane ticket, take time off work, navigate a foreign country often in a foreign language, maybe wait in line and pay an additional fee, just to be one of thousands of people taking pictures on their cell phones. Option 2: Look it up online, browse dozens of carefully chosen shots from every angle, maybe walk around on Google Street View, read all the history you want about it, and then get back to whatever else you were doing less than an hour later. Why would anyone ever choose Option 1?

Crowded Great Wall

Why go to the Great Wall when you can just see it from space? 😛

Travelling to see friends or interact with a foreign culture is one thing, but you can see all of the famous sights, natural or man-made, from the comfort of your own home for free. It’s about time we millennials kill the tourism industry, too.


Like with almost all of these types of articles, none of these things I’d like millennials to kill really have anything to do with millennials in particular. We didn’t invent the internet, e-mail, or smartphones, but we were the fastest generation to build our lifestyles around them. These new technologies have naturally set our expectations higher, making old ideals more obviously far from optimal. That’s fine; I’m just hoping we can see suboptimality in these aspects of modern life as well.

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