If you were born between 1980 and 1999, you probably already know you’re considered a millennial. As a generation, we are the first to grow up with the internet in our lives. We gave the world social media and have been a generation of acceptance and understanding. Even so, our detractors will point out that we are living with our parents longer then any generation before us (most likely from the massive student loans from college) and we will be living there till we’re 100 years old
Growing alongside technology and social media, we are the most narcissistic generation, constantly engulfed in TweetGram, InstaSnap, and SelfieBook. We live vicariously through highlights of others lives and denigrate our own when our likes or followers are low.
Drowning under the marketing world’s seemingly endless “over night” Internet success stories and an increasingly competitive job market, we have the honor of being the most stressed generation. Never for a second are we disconnected. It’s become apparent our best source of inspiration can be our biggest source of jealously and depression. A pretty picture it is not, no worries though — I may have found the cure.
Take a drive.
In my line of work, I have odd days off. Often leaving me with a Monday wide open and wondering what to do with my life, er… I mean time off. My girlfriend and I decided we were going to take advantage of this odd day off. We woke up and said — Let’s go somewhere.
Like any good millennials, on to our phones we went. After being distracted by a barrage of puppy videos, naked girls on InstaFace and travel photos we had wasted a whole hour. Back to the drawing board.
She typed into Google (I know crazy, we didn’t use an app) “Hiking places in Connecticut” our destination was found. It was about one hour and 45 minutes from my apartment. It was a beautiful fall day and sitting in my parking garage was my Jaguar F-Type.
With the destination typed into our map app, I fired the snarling V8 beast and allowed it to rumble and shake itself from it’s cold night slumber. As we pulled out of the garage, my girlfriend asked “can we put the top down?” Your wish is my command. Down the top went and 60 degree temperatures engulfed the cabin, while the sun slowly warmed my face.
I put it in gear and off we went. Blasting through Connecticut on a fall day was the stuff of movies. Leaves blowing around in colors from a fall home decor catalog. If you have ever watched a movie with a scenic drive scene, this was it. It was incredible.
I have memories of old movies where a worried or stressed character will eventually say, “I’m taking a drive.” Our parents grew up with the notion that a frustrated person could take a drive, engulfing themselves in thought as the miles ticked by. Letting their worries subside to the odometer.
For most millennials, driving is always done with a specific purpose. Having to be somewhere at a certain time. Or for myself, trying to be the fastest on a track. Rarely do we drive for the sake of driving.
So as the drive came to an end, I never even thought about touching my phone. I simply drove, allowing the wind noise, and the scenery invade my senses. There was two of us in this small car, but for major stretches, the beauty of it all would of been ruined by words. For the first time in a long time, my mind felt settled amidst the multi colored leaves, 70 mph wind and the crisp fall air. It was true peace.
Once there we parked at the trail that would bring us 1000ft up to a castle and scenic overlook. I have never hiked but as we trudged up this mountain, thinking that my girlfriend was actually trying to kill me via death march, I slowly understood the appeal, although I may have remarked how cool this trail would be on a dirt bike… But let’s move past that.
After what I can only compare to scaling Mt. Everest (ok that’s a stretch), as we crested over the final hill covered in sweat and wondering why we didn’t bring more water, we labored over a large rock and blasted into the sunlight… to a parking lot. Apparently you can drive to this scenic overlook. Damn.
The view was incredible. For the next 20 minutes, we found ourselves taking instasnaps, facespacing and tweetgramming. Taking photos for other strangers and having them take our photo. We were all connected. We finished this social media ring around the rosy and proceeded to walk down again… When I realized: I had no idea what the place even looked like.
Who let these two out with out sunscreen?
My girlfriend agreed, we had spent the whole time so engulfed in our phones and helping others with their phones. That if asked what the place looked like, I would of needed one of the 20 photos I took to recall it. That will sit on my phone till inevitably I lose it one drunk night and realize I forgot to upload them to the cloud.
We went back and found a rock on the edge and agreed to put our phones down for 10 minutes. It was almost 30 minutes before we realized we had sat there, and simply talked. Took in the scenery, discussed life and enjoyed each other’s company. Until I was attacked by a fire breathing Bee.
Like any good gentleman, I used my girlfriend as a bee shield and eventually headed back down the mountain, getting lost once or twice because of my impeccable sense of direction. Eventually navigating back down the mountain, using the well placed signage of the trails. We got back to the car, dropped the top and headed home.
On the drive back it hit me, there’s one place in the world where your phone can’t be the center of your universe (aside from jail)… driving.
So young millennial, our parents may have been onto something with the whole “I’m going to take a drive” thing. Get in a car, rent one if you have to. Take a drive. You might just find — peace of mind.