Born Millennials Welcomes You
It seemed like my primary school gym teacher had not been given the gift to speak, judging from her tendency to constantly scream.
Now, bear in mind that I was born in 1994 (the frontline between millennials and gen Z) and these years were before the 2010s, so it’s been quite a long time.
Yet I thoroughly remember the setting. We were sitting on the floor of the school’s gymnasium, getting yelled at for not managing to respect the guidelines.
And why would we?
The only thing we had been instructed to do since 8:30 AM was to shut up and listen.
Just another day at school.
The gym teacher proceeded and told us that it was important to obey and to do as we were told as next year, “vous serez chez les grands”.
This expression doesn’t directly translate to English. It means that next year, we would move onto “the next level“, where things would get “serious”.
Ridiculously gullible, even by 10-year-old standards, I bought it.
I believed everything I was told at the time, an annoying habit I still have a hard time getting rid of.
And so, I believed the next year would be “serious” and “difficult”. It scared me.
Change scared me.
The thought of kissing a girl, going to university, or having a job scared me (I have since done the three of them).
Everything scared me.
Sitting next to someone I did not know was enough to make me cry.
I used to think that if I could have a machine to freeze time and keep everything as it was, I would push the button without a blink.
Since the next year was going to be serious and difficult, I would rather not go, I thought.
Based on what we were told, I imagined that growing old meant a gradual loss of quality of life.
Time passing was a frightening thought.
Thinking about these days, I’m unable to say what I feared exactly.
Was it failure, effort, loss of freedom, the fear not to be able to “make it”? Maybe responsibility. I liked having nothing to take care of.
I’ll probably never know for sure. But I did enter the following year eventually.
Approximately a year after the original gym teacher’s comments, I reflected: “it ain’t so much more serious nor difficult than last year, is it”?
And I concluded that if the gym teacher believed that what we were learning was “difficult” or “serious”, I was smarter than she was.
There was simply no way that we would have been manipulated, scared, or lied to by a professor.
Professors were perfect and represented the pinnacle of human achievement.
Professors were gods.
And as I was bracing myself for the next level each year, I eventually made it to secondary school without really understanding what was happening to me.
Secondary school was different: we had a different professor for each topic on one hand, and we wouldn’t play football during break time on the other.
Girls started wearing make-up.
The people that I had predicted would start smoking, smoked.
As everyone seemed to grow up and start doing “adult stuff”, I was still anxiously preparing myself for that time when things were going to get serious. Each year, we were warned. “The next one” would be much harder.
But it did not.
One day, without really noticing, I entered university.
Then I entered a master’s.
One day I woke up, and checked my mail. I had graduated.
I had been awarded a master’s degree.
I had “made it”.
The insurmountable challenge that education looked like when I was 7 had been completed (ok I kinda cheated, but more on that later).
Yet, something felt strange. I didn’t feel any different than I felt 18 years earlier. I was still the same 7 years old gullible kid.
I had gained knowledge and experience. But not much else.
If school’s mission was to prepare to live life, I had failed, I thought.
I felt like I knew nothing. I was still thirsty for knowledge like never before. That hadn’t changed since I was 13.
One day, my mum bought me a monthly teenage science magazine where I learned that the rhinoceros beetle was the animal that could carry the greatest weight compared to its weight and that water does not flush the other way around in Australia.
From that date, I was delighted with yet another edition of the magazine each month. I became quickly hooked.
I thought that if I could learn in magazines, I could probably learn in books as well. And so I started buying books about the topics I found interesting (mostly on how to talk to girls at the time).
Then my interests diversified. As time went on, I read more and more on varied topics.
Eventually, the desire to share and connect through this knowledge appeared…except that around me, no one really cared about rhinoceros beetles.
When I joked with my brother that I should have a blog to express all of my ideas, he offered to host it.
The blog was born.
Nathaniel Branden, a psychotherapist, wrote in one of his books: “in a world in which the total amount of human knowledge is doubling about every ten years, our security can only rest on our ability to learn.”
He probably did not know how right he was.
Welcome to Born Millennials, the raw and explorative place where we discuss uncommon topics and ideas.