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For the last decade, “millennials” has been used to describe or ascribe what’s right and wrong with young people, but in 2019, millennials are well into adulthood: The youngest are 22; the oldest, like me, somewhere around 38.That has required a shift in the way people within and outside of our generation configure their criticism.But as I fumed about this 27-year-old’s post office anxiety, I was deep in a cycle of a tendency, developed over the last five years, that I’ve come to call “errand paralysis.” I’d put something on my weekly to-do list, and it’d roll over, one week to the next, haunting me for months.
Many of the behaviors attributed to millennials are the behaviors of a specific subset of mostly white, largely middle-class people born between 19.As with previous generations, there was an expectation that the next one would be better off — both in terms of health and finances — than the one that had come before.But as millennials enter into mid-adulthood, that prognosis has been proven false.A friend admitted he’s absorbed hundreds of dollars in clothes that don’t fit because he couldn’t manage to return them.Errand paralysis, post office anxiety — they’re different manifestations of the same affliction.But the more I tried to figure out my errand paralysis, the more the actual parameters of burnout began to reveal themselves. That realization recast my recent struggles: Why can’t I get this mundane stuff done? Life has always been hard, but many millennials are unequipped to deal with the particular ways in which it’s become hard for us. Should I meditate more, negotiate for more time off, delegate tasks within my relationship, perform acts of self-care, and institute timers on my social media?Burnout and the behaviors and weight that accompany it aren’t, in fact, something we can cure by going on vacation. How, in other words, can I optimize myself to get those mundane tasks done and theoretically cure my burnout?“I tried to register for the 2016 election, but it was beyond the deadline by the time I tried to do it,” a man named Tim, age 27, explained to New York magazine last fall.“I hate mailing stuff; it gives me anxiety.” Tim was outlining the reasons why he, like 11 other millennials interviewed by the magazine, probably wouldn’t vote in the 2018 midterm election.“The amount of work logically isn’t that much,” he continued.“Fill out a form, mail it, go to the specific place on a specific day.