Several Things I Have Observed While Living With Hundreds of Millennials

We’re on TDY (temporary duty) while my husband is in language training. So, we took advantage of the opportunity to live in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, VA. This is currently a top neighborhood for Millennials according to an article in the Washington Post citing That’s supposed to be people aged 25-34, the generation immediately following my own.

I am part of Generation X, AKA a “Gen-Xer,” which is a much cooler name than Millennial, in my opinion, but anyway…

We even had a band with Billy Idol in. OK, never mind,
We even had a band called Generation X with Billy Idol in it. OK, never mind.

We didn’t choose the neighborhood for the demographics, although it’s interesting how our checklist overlaps quite a bit with that crowd now. We just wanted to be near good food and stuff to do—and close to the Metro!

It turns out that we are about two decades above the average age in this neighborhood. Which is fine. But also interesting. Here’s a few things I’ve noticed from observing Millennials in their native environment. (And yes, these are massive generalizations, but it’s my blog so I get to do that.)

1.) Millennial music is pretty darn good. Partly because a lot of it is retro, and actually Gen X music (I wonder if they realize this?) But also because it is pretty good. So, I have to find other things to be annoyed about, you see.

2.) Millennials are very grumpy in the morning. They deal with this by putting on headphones and staring intently at their phones for the first couple of hours of their day. I am not sure this helps.

3.) Otherwise, Millennials have remarkably good manners. They open doors for me all the time and nearly always let me exit the elevator first. I am beginning to wonder if they believe I am somehow infirm. But it’s sweet, anyway. Their mommas raised them right.

4.) Some Millennials have dogs. They are very, very bored during the day while their owners are at work. So, they amuse themselves by sitting by the door and barking like maniacs whenever anyone walks past in the hallway.

Bored doggies.
Bored doggies.

Dear Millennials, consider doggy day care, please, or at least a dog walker. Critters are going to cost you money. It’s good to get in the habit now, then kids won’t seem so expensive when you have them (ha!)

5.) When they do eventually procreate, Millennials use amazing strollers. At the birth of our first kid, my in-laws gifted us an $85 stroller from J.C. Penney. It flipped up and flipped down, that was about it. No cupholders or nothin’. But it was quite a nice stroller for the time. No really, it was.

Our first stroller.
Our first stroller.

Today’s strollers are marvels of technology. OK, no one actually needs such a fancy stroller. But would I have enjoyed one? I’m pretty sure I would have. Even now I eyeball them and think hm, that would be great for carrying groceries and there’s a place to put my coffee, too…

This not a stroller. It is  a "Stroller Travel System."
This not a stroller. It is a $500 “Stroller Travel System.”

5.) One reason for the fancy strollers (OK, maybe one excuse) is that Millennials don’t own cars. I used to wonder if this was a myth, but all the vacant spaces in our parking garage lead me to believe it’s the new normal. There is a ZipCar stand nearby, and a bike rental stand on the corner. People are always out walking in this neighborhood. This is something Millennials are doing right.

Just like the one on our corner.
Just like the one on our corner.

6.) A lot of Millennials are sponging off their parents. I know what the rents are in this building, and I’m pretty sure many of the pony-tailed occupants are getting help with it. On the one hand, that seems pretty lame to me, as a person who was raised very differently. On the other, maybe the parents are just willing to pay anything to get their kids out of the basement. Who am I to judge, as I am currently paying a ridiculous amount to school and house my kid in London.

8.) All Millennial females own 27 pairs each of leggings and expensive riding boots. But I have to say, I like the look. I wear it myself–with a slightly longer sweater. Unlike in Europe, you don’t usually see neon orange leggings, animal prints, panty lines or thongs peeking out around here. It works.


9.) All Millennial males own flip-flops and aren’t afraid to wear them. In November. This doesn’t work. At all. Please stop.

flip flops

10.) At the gym, Millennials are prone to sitting around on the equipment and checking their Facebook. Luckily I am there to prompt them to move along. You’re welcome.


11.) Millennials are somewhat self-absorbed. I think this is good. Truthfully, the “Greatest Generation” and the “Baby Boomers” include a lot of seriously nosy people. Always worrying about who is sleeping with who—and whether their tax money might be paying for the contraception. Terribly concerned that we all pray to the “right” God.

While my own generation has generally had better things to worry about, Millennials truly couldn’t care less. Other people’s sexual preference, religion (or lack thereof)—they just don’t see how any of this affects them. So, it’s all a big eye roll.

If they’ll just quit texting on the weight benches, I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy living in their country one day.

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