So I know what you’re thinking. A minute ago, this article caught your eye and you thought, “Hey, are they talking about me?”
Did you shop for pirated cassettes when you were a kid? Spooked by bomoh stories from Mastika or thought the yo-yo craze was the best thing ever?
A-hah! So you are an older millennial.
Somewhere between 1981 and 1988, you came out of your mother’s womb and grew up to be the first generation of millennials. Yeah, I remember now. You’re that kid who listened to Vengaboys and had Digimon for a pet. Then, you learned how to use dial-up internet to chat with your schoolmates on MSN and ICQ. What was that show you liked again? Was it Kopitiam or Spanar Jaya?
“Stop reminding me. I know I’m old!” is what you would say.
If it makes you feel any better, I’m as old as you are. When I was 12, the hit song of the year was ‘Believe’ by Cher. So you best believe I’m that old.
Chances are you’ve experienced many moments which reminded you about being an older millennial. Guess what? This article is going to be one of them.
Remember when you realised your musical taste is so different from your younger peers?
Many years ago, my colleagues and I went for karaoke after work. It was a nice team bonding session, although everyone secretly wanted to go home. And you know how a karaoke session goes. You order some drinks, tell everyone not to eat the ‘complimentary peanuts’, grab some food from the buffet, and choose your songs.
I may not be the best singer but hell, do I love to sing!
The trick is to know your vocal range. If you can’t handle Mariah Carey’s whistle register, you don’t lah choose ‘Emotions’ or ‘Always Be My Baby’.
Choose popular songs from boy bands or male artists instead. Think Michael Learns to Rock, Eric Clapton or Backstreet Boys. Something your colleagues won’t cringe when they hear you sing.
As you’ve probably guessed, those fellas were my karaoke choices.
Halfway through my spaghetti, ‘25 Minutes’ came on. I was like, “Omg yes, this is it! This is my song!” But 25 seconds into the song, I realised nobody was singing. When I asked why, my intern said, “I don’t know this song lah wei”.
What the hell? They don’t know Michael Learns to Rock?
Then, it hit me. I was in primary school when I heard ‘25 Minutes’ for the first time. These fresh-faced millennials weren’t even born yet. When Google reminded me that song was two decades old, I thought to myself, “Shit, I am an older millennial.”
You know that fanny pack trend that young millennials liked to wear?
Yeah, I don’t get it.
Well, they do look cool. It’s practical and stylish, but give me a fanny pack and I’ll look like a poor girl’s version of Miss Tourism Malaysia.
Another thought happened when I attended Ultra Singapore a few years ago.
Imagine this. You’re in the biggest music festival of the year. You’re pumped and ready to party. Then, some college girls entered your dance space. Look at them, wearing racy bralettes and flaunting their thigh gaps in their super short shorts. Even in the dark, their butt cheeks radiated their youth.
What happened to the rest of the pants, you wondered. So you secretly say, “Cover up!”
Doesn’t that sound familiar, you old millennial? Isn’t that what your mother used to tell you when you wore something sexy? And what did you secretly say when your Mum wasn’t looking? Old people don’t get it?
That day, karma bit me in the ass alright.
3. Social media
Being the first social media generation, you know that fact will come around to haunt you someday.
I remember writing a story about meeting my Friendster boyfriend for the first time. A few days later, someone actually said, “From Friendster? My god, how old are you?”
Well, screw you. That was the only other way to meet guys besides flirting with them in biology class or dedicating a love song during Hari Kantin.
Back in the days, we only had Friendster and MySpace. Today, young millennials are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other apps that older millennials don’t know about.
When Snapchat got popular, I didn’t understand its appeal.
So I asked my intern about it. She showed me how it works and explained how cool the filters are. Then, I asked, “What’s the point of snapping something and having it disappear tomorrow?”
She looked at me and said, “That’s the point”.
I was confused. “What’s the point of that? You want your memories to stay permanent like Instagram right?”
“No, that’s the point!”
“I still don’t get it!” I said.
Then, she sighed in disappointment. “You don’t be so old, can ah?”
Wow. How to not feel offended, you tell me?
…And seven years later, I still don’t understand Snapchat.
Some of us can rant about dating apps all day. Heck, I brought it up twice. There was that story about my married friend who asked me to join Tinder. Also, another one where I met a Tinder match who is more interested in romps than romance.
Just between you and me, I missed the innocence of dating and how it used to be. For instance, I met my ex at a laundromat. Not exactly a story worth pitching to Netflix, but it felt real.
I remember how helpless he was operating the washing machine and the way I saved his day. While waiting for our cycle to finish, we chatted, flirted and traded numbers. Just a simple story of a boy meets girl.
Today, half of my dating app matches don’t know how to start a conversation. All they want is looking for someone to fuck. Guess what? Some of us are looking for someone who gives a fuck about dating. Someone who won’t unmatch us when we surprise them with words like ‘relationship’ or ‘second date’.
Hook-ups may be a modern dating thing, but what happened to ending a night of passion and still have that person lying next to you? Smudged mascara or morning breath, it doesn’t matter. He still wakes up to make the bed, and she wakes up to make breakfast for two.
Admitting that we grew up with Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts will make us sound like old-fashioned millennials. The rom-com classics are two decades old, after all. But hey, finding someone who asks for our number instead of nudes sounds better. And it’s fine for old-fashioned millennials to be reminded of that.
Remember when you grew up feeling hot and bothered about everything? Small things just get to you. Like that time when you fought with your brother over the TV remote or got angry when your parents bought Sahibba instead of Scrabble for Christmas.
Back then, you justified your frustration and disappointment by saying the whole world is against you. Now that you’re an older and wiser millennial, does it make sense to get upset when you fight with your siblings or got the wrong present? It doesn’t, right?
When you start seeing things more maturely, you realise how nice it is to be an older millennial. That’s what age gives you. When you have bigger things and responsibilities to carry, small things don’t matter anymore.
You won’t feel annoyed when someone calls you anti-social for skipping brunch. You’re above the stupid office gossips because you’re busy working. Also, you won’t feel upset when someone cuts you in traffic when you’re late for work (maybe a little bit).
Your family, career or ambition becomes bigger than any pesky things going on in your life. It’s something you’ll feel as you get older, and that’s a freaking good feeling to have.
The next time someone said you’re an older millennial, own it. It’s the same as being reminded of your experience and wisdom. You’ve seen the world more than any other millennials in your generation. At least, you know Vengaboys is not a strip club in Jalan Ampang (someone thought it was).
Young millennials may poke fun at our age but hey, we do have a point sometimes. Look what happened to Snapchat now.
For more articles by Cheryl, read One-Sided Love: The Stages of Having a Crush on Your Colleague, and The Secret Struggles of Being Single When Everyone Else Is Married.