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Hey kids, treat yo'self to a bleak economic future

The markers of adulthood, such as a house, are out of reach for millennials - so we spend frivolously, writes Ciara O'Connor

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While it’s a neat idea that turning down brunch invitations and staying alone in your bedsit eating spaghetti hoops could help save for a property, just maybe, in 30 years — unfortunately, it’s also nice to feel human. Avocado toast, or the ritual of breaking (artisan) bread with friends of a Sunday, can do just that. Stock picture

While it’s a neat idea that turning down brunch invitations and staying alone in your bedsit eating spaghetti hoops could help save for a property, just maybe, in 30 years — unfortunately, it’s also nice to feel human. Avocado toast, or the ritual of breaking (artisan) bread with friends of a Sunday, can do just that. Stock picture

While it’s a neat idea that turning down brunch invitations and staying alone in your bedsit eating spaghetti hoops could help save for a property, just maybe, in 30 years — unfortunately, it’s also nice to feel human. Avocado toast, or the ritual of breaking (artisan) bread with friends of a Sunday, can do just that. Stock picture

Us millennials aren't easy to love: we complain about being skint while spending all our money on sourdough and shoes.

We're putting off getting married and settling down - instead we are renting with a few buddies and then giving out to our parents for not treating us like adults. Right after tapping them for €50. And asking them what the red light flashing on the washing machine means.

We've taken a lot of flak for our spending habits recently - the most common accusation levelled at us is that if we can afford avocados, we can afford a house. The avocado seems to have become a punitive measure of economic prosperity.

While it's a neat idea that turning down brunch invitations and staying alone in your bedsit eating spaghetti hoops could help save for a property, just maybe, in 30 years - unfortunately, it's also nice to feel human.

Avocado toast, or the ritual of breaking (artisan) bread with friends of a Sunday, can do just that.

You see, for us 'weekends' and 'free time' don't have the same meaning as they did for our parents, who left work at 5pm and that was that. Work follows us everywhere on the tiny shackles of doom we call smartphones. Nine-to-five means nothing to the many of us who work freelance. A Sunday could be a Wednesday for all we know. So, yes, it's nice to get out of our rented accommodation that we share with assholes, that doesn't feel like a home, and hand over a tenner for a bit of avocado with friends in designated 'time off'.

The thing is, when you're throwing most of your income down the toilet in the form of rent, giving the negligible bit left over to hipster cafes and ASOS doesn't seem so bad. The pissing away of everything we earn on rent has given us a fairly fatalistic view of spending. "Treat yo'self" has become the rallying cry of our generation.

Another bottle of Prosecco? Treat yo'self. A trip to Peru? Treat yo'self. Dessert? A really soft pink leather jacket? A cab home? Mac lipstick? Treat yo'self.

It seems that, with the possibility of owning a house a distant pipe dream, we are turning our attention, and our wallets, to new things.

Received wisdom says we're all about experiences rather than possessions. We crave the life of Instagram bloggers - extravagant breakfasts, seeing the world, having photogenic lovers and shiny hair.

This is no doubt true but it would be disingenuous not to admit that I reckon we like nice things too. Half of the appeal of the Insta-life is the bikini that Holly Carpenter is wearing in the picture by the pool in Cyprus, or the top she's wearing while tucking into waffles.

And it's not just the girls - there's more pressure on men than ever before to dress well. Runners have become a 'thing'.

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We're great at finding things to piss away our money on to make us feel better about our bleak economic future.

If you think this all makes us sound like spoiled teenagers, you're not far off. Ours is a generation struggling to grow up. We look to our parents who were married with kids, a house and a car by the time they were our age and we wonder what's wrong with us. Traditional markers of 'adulthood' are seeming less and less relevant as more of us enter our 30s childless and renting.

For a lot of people in their 20s, the idea of 'adulting' is a novelty - it involves such exotic experiences as doing tax returns, buying furniture and roasting chickens. Obviously, these freakish activities are snapped and uploaded to social media for our equally feckless millennial friends to marvel at our mundanity.

Generational expert Jason Dorsey told Vice, the bible of millennial self-analysis: "We'll still chase many of the same things that other generations want, but it's more out of reach. As our cohort enter their mid 30s, it'll be an interesting time to see if millennials achieve this idea of adulthood."

Spoiler: we won't.

Coming of age in the most brutal recession of our time, graduating into a desolate job market and being priced out of property owning has left us in a state of curious suspended adolescence.

We're a generation of beautiful-looking adult-babies spending money on pints in the sunshine, talking nonsense, blissfully ignoring our declining fertility and lack of career progression in a haze of neon Bulmers.

Our parents will shake their heads, saying it was far from 'brunch' they were reared - but it was far from 'jobs for life' and 'home ownership' that we were reared, so we'll order another pint and make plans for curative overpriced avocado toast in the morning.

Sure, we might as well - it's not like we could do much else with our cash. Right?


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