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Are next 30-somethings the answer?

This is an important year for the future of our nation.

It’s the year the first of the next generation of adults truly becomes adults.

The Millennials — those born roughly from 1982 to 1999 — are just starting to turn 30. They will continue to hit the big 3-0, obviously, for nearly two decades to come.

They are, as every generation before them has done, becoming who they will most likely be for the next 50 years.

I became particularly interested in generations and how they define us during research a few months back for our newspaper’s Profile edition, which focused entirely on the people who make up the living generations.

More analysis has surfaced lately about the Millennials in particular.

As the oldest of the group leaves their 20s behind, they are becoming distinctly different than the folks in the two generations directly above them.

But, it’s not what you think.

Sure, they live and breathe technology and know how to live a fast-paced lifestyle. They are more tattooed than their elders, yes.

But, they also care more about having a successful marriage, caring for their children and having good careers and less than about being rich than you might think.

Essentially, they are growing up.

Members of this group pride themselves on being intellectual, connected and sensitive to the world around them.

It’s a complete turnaround from their immediate elders, Generation X.

Media circles are even raving this week about a national survey of Millennials that shows that many do regularly read, and enjoy, the print edition of newspapers. That’s something our industry — and many in the Web world — have said would never happen and would in turn lead to the demise of print.

It’s too soon to know what the next two decades of Millennials will mean for America, but we already know that, whatever it is, it’s crucial.

I have no problem poking at Generation X — I’m a part of it, and I married an Xer. It’s a generation that brings too much baggage to the table.

Too many Xers are children of divorce who spent too much time playing video games and too little time in the real world.

It’s possible that my generation has sucked more out of America than it’s given.

The Millennials could be a breath of fresh air for us all.

As you attend 30th birthday parties in the coming years, encourage the birthday boy or girl. Remind he or she that 30 isn’t yet over-the-hill, and that leaving the 20s behind can be fun, too.

With a little love from those who’ve walked the road before, and a little luck, the Millennials, Gen Y, or whatever you want to call them, could be the new greatest generation.

Few in our country would say it’s not needed.

 

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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