This is the 1st Year Millennials Will Start Having Their 20th High School Class Reunions: Starting with the Class of 1999, in 2019

There are some people who just don’t care anything about going to their high school reunions.

They are the ones who will say, “I spent a dozen years with those people and I didn’t like them then, so what makes you think I would want to go hang out with them now? If I was really that curious what they are up to, I would just look them up on Facebook!”

Clearly, I am not one of those people. No, instead, just call me Mr. High School Class Reunion!

For me, going to my high school class reunions is like repeating the final scene of the final episode of Lost… every 5 years of my life.

What is really special about my own upcoming 20th High School Reunion this July is that we just happen to be the first official Millennial class to experience this.

Most sources agree that Millennials were born between 1981 and 1997. I was born on April 20th, 1981; so I will be turning 38 in a few weeks.

If the Millennial generation were siblings, then those of us who graduated high school in 1999 would be the firstborn children.

This is history in the making.

Back in 1988, when I turned 7, I had a very memorable birthday party. My dad had just cut down a tree in our backyard, so the main entertainment was being able to climb the fallen tree. And coincidentally, I just happened to be wearing a “Class of ’99” t-shirt on my birthday.

Fortunately, my mom did a great job of taking several pictures to capture the magic of that day.

Gary Schrader, Russell McElhaney, Will Stephens, Shane Burt (along with his sister and mom), Tabatha Thomas, Haley Rogers and her sister Ashley, and my own sister Dana were all there that day; whether they remember it now or not… and whether they have ever seen these pictures before either!

I am confident that my upcoming 20th High School Class Reunion will be a highlight of 2019.

Yes, just call me Mr. High School Class Reunion.

It’s that big of a deal to me!

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Millennial Parents Respond to Mayim Bialik’s “Competitive Moms” Story

My wife and I recently published a video for our YouTube channel for this blog, giving our reaction to Mayim Bialik’s story on People.com, called Mayim Bialik Reveals She “Left in Tears” After First Group Meeting with “Competitive Moms”.

Her story addresses the fact that Millennials live in a version of the world in which so many parents feel the need to compete with one another. This creates an environment in which those who are not “competing” often feel judged by those who are.

In our own video responding to the story, I explained that the real issue with parents who feel the need to compete with others in their parenting style and skills is this:

They are insecure in their identity not only as individuals, but as parents.

It goes back to junior high when I learned this from my mom; that the kids who were most likely to tease others were simply revealing that they were actually more insecure than the kids they were making fun of.

And now as adults, this same concept continues:

The most insecure parents have the biggest need to project an image of themselves as the “better” parents. And sure, social media helps encourage the competition.

“Mirror, mirror, on my Facebook wall, who’s the fairest parent of them all?”

People tend to seek confirmation when they communicate in social media. They are often seeking approval from their peers to confirm that they are cool, they are funny, they are beautiful, they are relevant, and/or they are good parents.

But what if you simply don’t that need confirmation and therefore, you have no reason to compete?

Insecure parents compete with other another, while slightly clueless yet confident parents ignore the competition all together.

In our video, my wife and I explain that none of us parents truly know what we’re doing. We can’t.

I explain that if you are competing with other parents, you are automatically losing that competition. The only way to “win” is not to play at all.

Instead, all we can do is the best we know how and hope it works out in the end. But as we “practice” parenting, the last thing we should worry about is some silly ongoing competition on the best way to parent.

I explain that while all of us are clueless to some degree, we can still show we are secure in our own identity as individuals and as parents by simply accepting that our own parenting methods are no better than others’, and therefore, we have no reason to seek confirmation or approval in a competition, or to judge other parents for making different decisions than us.

For example, my wife and I do not spank our children. We discipline them, but we have never physically struck them. That’s the culture in our household.

However, that doesn’t mean we have any interest in judging parents who do spank their children. After all, my wife and I are in the minority in this.

Similarly, we have no desire to judge other parents for what they let their children eat. Yes, I am a vegan and my wife and children are vegetarians. But that doesn’t mean we believe everyone should do as we do. We simply don’t care.

Let other people live their own lives. As for us, we’ll live our own. It’s that simple.

When you are focused on doing what is right for your own family, how can you have time to worry about whether other parents are doing it better or worse than you?

My wife and I definitely do not have it all figured out. We never will. We automatically disqualify ourselves from the competition.

You’re more than welcome to join us.

I’m Not a Good Person. I’m Not a Hard Worker. I’m Not Special.

Being born in 1981, my childhood was fully infused with an overdose of the teachings of the Care Bears and The Get Along Gang. I’m referring to that mantra that all adults (and Smurfs) seemed to further convince us of, during that Ecto Cooler drenched decade:

You are special. You can do anything you put your mind to.

You become anything if you truly belief in yourself.

And then I graduated college and got a real job. And then I got married. And then I had kids.

Responsibilities and reality started kicking in, and gradually, I felt less and less special. Less of the good person I always believed I was. Less of the hard worker I assumed I was. And just not quite as special.

Yeah, all that Lucky Charms marshallowy goodness talk… turns out it was all fluff.

The real world doesn’t work that way. The real world wasn’t as easy to win over as I expected it to be.

Instead, I actually have to prove myself on a daily basis to compete with the free market, even if that struggle is not obvious in my weekly highlight reel on Facebook.

The real world doesn’t care if I think I’m a good person, a hard worker, or special.

What does it even mean to be a “good person”? Compared to whom? Compared to the people who are better or worse than me at certain things? Compared to an ax murder or compared to a missionary in a 3rd world country?

What does it even mean to be a “hard worker”? Compared to whom? Compared to everyone who shows up to work and does their job too?

What does it been to be “special”? Even as a kid, I started realizing that if everyone is special, then by default, we fundamentally cannot all be special.

Instead, here’s the truth that I officially had taught myself by age 34; when life finally started making more sense to me:

It’s not about being a good person, a hard worker, or special. Because all of those things are just relative to everyone else around us.

And if I live my life thinking that I truly am a good person, a hard worker, and special, then ultimately, I’m more likely to believe that I deserve things in life.

That is one toxic word.

Deserve.

It’s always a red flag when I hear someone say it now.

A person who thinks they deserve something is going to feel entitled. When they don’t get those things they think they deserve, they will become disappointed. And when they become disappointed, they will blame other people; not themselves. And when they blame other people, society just isn’t going to take that “victim” seriously.

In the end, the victim creates a reputation and lifestyle that causes them to miss out on opportunities than others are now given instead.

Because what it’s really about is being the most dependable and available person. Not the good person, not the hard worker, not the special person.

What it’s really about the person who’s willing to do those tasks that no one else is able or willing to do.

It’s really about being the creative person who’s willing to take risks and introduce more efficient and effective ideas.

So yes, it’s true.

I’m not a good person. I’m not a hard worker. I’m not special.

And I use that to my advantage.

 

3 Rules I Made Up for What I Wear on Road Trips, as the Modern Millennial Dad

As you may have noticed by now, our family takes a lot of road trips: Key West, Lake Tahoe, and San Diego, just to name a few destinations over the years. This is something that makes me special, as a daddy blogger. (In addition to be the world’s manliest vegan, of course!)

During our trip to Louisville, Kentucky last week in the 2017 Toyota Highlander, I realized that I’ve established a dress code for myself over the years when I travel. My simple list ensures that as I drive across America with my lovely wife and our blonde children, I will be comfortable, yet still masculine and charming, but not a slob. Here are my 3 rules:

1) Boat shoes with no socks: It’s almost like driving barefoot, but projects an image of a guy who knows how to have fun, in an adventurous, yet classy way. I picked mine up for about 15 bucks at Old Navy. Plus, they look good with just about anything else I would wear on vacation anyway.

2) Long sleeve, casual button down shirt with comfortable jeans: I’ve noticed that as the driver, I get the constant brunt of the A/C, as my son is typically on the verge of sweating in the back seat. Long sleeves and long pants keep me from getting too cold when I drive, yet I look sophisticated enough when I get out of the car for rest stops, restaurants, and hotels.

3) Classic rock-r-roll t-shirt: This sends a message that despite being a responsible grown-up with a family, I am still one cool dude. Obviously, my rock band of choice is Metallica; an American legend since 1981; just like me. But really, just choose a rock band that that’s been around at least 25 years and you’re good to go. Other options could include Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, or Stone Temple Pilots.

You’ll never see me road tripping while looking like a loaf of laziness. No!

I am a man with a plan.

Boat shoes with no socks? Check.

Long sleeve, casual button down shirt with comfortable jeans? Check.

Classic rock-n-roll t-shirt? Wouldn’t have it any other way.

(Mic dropped.)

5 Token Signs of Millennial (Or Generation Y) Parents

December 2, 2012 at 11:52 pm , by 

2 years.

Dear Jack,

You are the product of twoMillennial (or Generation Y) parents.

Both Mommy and I were born a few months apart in 1981, the year that began our generation. The way we will parent you will be different as compared to how it would have been if we were part of the generation that ended just a few months before we were born; Generation X was born roughly between 1964 to 1980.

As the sort of first-born of my generation, I am constantly trying to figure out what makes us different from previous generations. After all, people say that Millennials were the first children not to rebel against their parents. That’s pretty weird…

An article published about a year ago in The New York Times referenced your parents’ generation as the “post-emotion generation… no anger, no edge, no ego.”

On the surface, it may appear that we are sheltered, narcissistic, jaded by the polar extremes of American politics, motivated by recognition more than money, obsessed with green living, and easily inspired by social justice issues.

I’ll be honest- it wouldn’t be a stretch for someone to describe me in any of those ways. Actually, I wonder how else I appear as a stereotype to other generations of parents.

In fact, I’m so curious about the traits of my generation, especially as they relate to being parents, I have decided to pinpoint 5 token traits of Generation Y parents:

1. They give their own kids either extremely classic or extremely original names. For every Jack there is now a Brody and for every Sarah there is now a Hadley. Millennial parents tend not to name their kids the popular names of their own generation, like Chris and Matt for boys, and Amanda and Jennifer for girls.

2. They want their kids to be, or at least seem, unique. That’s part of the explanation for some of the bizarre baby names popping up these days. Millennials were raised to believe they were special; evidently more special than every other child of The Eighties who was told that. Now, Generation Y parents subconsciously still wish this extra dose of uniqueness on their own kids.

3. Millennial parents are overly self-aware of their parenting style. Everybody’s watching, all the time, thanks the social media outlets and blogs we plug into on a daily basis. We make sure no one can ever question if we’re involved enough in our kids’ lives. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? To spank or not to spank? To helicopter parent or not to helicopter parent? Those are the questions.

4. Facebook replaces the necessary phone call update and proud wallet pictures of our kids. There’s no real need for us as parents to pick up the phone and update our friends and family on what our kids are doing, nor is there reason those people should be desperately curious to see new pictures of our kids: There’s a constantly updated flow of that on Facebook every day.

5.  They are really into what their kids eat. Back in the 1980s, processed food was king. Now, the awareness of disease, cancer, and obesity has caused parents to actually question what “natural and artificial flavor” means. Trust me on this, you don’t want to know. There’s a reason food companies keep those ingredients a mystery.

So there you have it, son. Hopefully I’ve taught you a thing or two about why your parents and your friends’ parents are so quirky…I mean, “special and unique.”

 

Love,

Daddy