“I am so impressed with us. It’s like we’re actually adults!” This sentiment was the mantra of my Friendsgiving — a pre-Thanksgiving meal among friends. It was first declared when my roommates and I successfully rinsed, brined, and transferred our 18 pound turkey to the oven. It was then reiterated when we used our carving knife (yes, our 23 year old selves own a carving knife) to serve our first turkey. And again, when 15 “millennials” sat down to enjoy the fruits of our homemade labor. “And I only had to call my mom once,” one friend shared, laughing over seconds.
Millennials are often given a hard time with critics saying: We’re glued to our devices; We can’t do laundry; We’re super narcissistic. We even coined the word “adulting,” which Urban Dictionary defines as doing “grownup things and hold[ing] responsibilities such as a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.” (Find out what percentage adult you are here!)
I have the privilege of learning from young adults who defy these stereotypes every day, through my work at Young Minds. Young people who dedicate themselves to advocating for their mental wellness and the wellbeing of their communities. They have overcome obstacles to excel in their arena, connect with like minded professionals and youth, and challenge business-as-usual.
At Young Minds, we know that youth voice is integral in creating change. At our Creative Advocacy event we honored our “Young Leader” Awardees, Eric Wagoner, Chloe Sorensen, and the PEERS TAY Leadership team, for developing innovative ways to tackle big challenges in their lives and communities. We also highlight the experiences of young people every week on our blog, who bravely share their stories and call for action from their readers.
These are the young people I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. They are the young adults who enrich my work and inspire me to get creative in my role at Young Minds and as a fellow millennial. I’m also thankful to the supporters and allies who have accompanied us on our journey to break down barriers to quality mental health care for young people and their families.
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: we can’t do this alone.
This Thanksgiving, I invite you to give thanks for the millennials in your life. You might have to ask us to put our phones down when we’re at the dinner table (again), but as you pass us the mashed potatoes remember: our voice matters in igniting change in our communities, and we need your support in creating positive mental health outcomes for ourselves, our families, and our peers.
On behalf of the Young Minds Advocacy team, have a happy Thanksgiving…and good luck with that turkey ;).