As summer draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on my regrets of yesteryear in the hopes that I might avoid them this time around. Some cursory sifting through my old content turned up a lot journal entries about not going to the beach enough and blurry pictures of my cat, but the most prescient proved to be the below academic cataloging of a day in the life of a millennial (originally published August 2017). I think the fact that I could have written it today serves as proof of the deep-seated poisoning taking root in the psyches of youths like myself (am I still a youth at 29?). Meet you at the bottom for further unpacking. – Haley
The first thing I do upon waking up is Instagram a watermarked photo of Guy Fieri looking eagerly at a burger and caption it “literally me.” I let my phone fall on my empty stomach. I stare at the ceiling. I’m very tired. I open Twitter and tweet a photo of a cat hanging from a tree with, “Hang in there ppl.” I drop my phone again.
Feigned optimism coursing through my veins, I pop out of bed and look in the mirror. I’m wearing a Big Dog t-shirt that says, “If You Can’t Run With the Big Dogs Stay on the Porch!” It’s very cool, it used to be my dad’s. I decide to make it my email signature later, because it’s how I feel, tbh. I wonder if I can just wear it to work? I put on some vintage Levi’s and tuck the XXL shirt in. Cute. I take a mirror selfie, my plastic princess phone case clearly visible, and post it on IG stories. “It’s all tru,” I write.
I wander into the kitchen and remember, with delight, that I bought Eggo waffles last night; I’d Snapchatted the grocer ringing them up with the caption “tysm sir.” I love that Eggos are nutritional wastelands. It’s so ’90s. I put two in the toaster and text a boomerang of them popping up to my friend.
“Lmao,” she responds.
“💖,” I write back.
On the train to work, a man steps on my chunky white sneakers. He apologizes, but when he meets my gaze, he looks a little afraid. It must be my tiny sunglasses, which I don’t bother to take off on the train because they’re barely tinted (light orange). They make me look like an alien, in a good way. I give him a hang loose sign. “It’s cool,” I say.
When I get to work, I straighten the “Attitude is Gratitude” poster I hung on the wall behind me last week. It’s so funny. I love it. I take a shitty flash pic of it and make it my Facebook cover photo. My aunt immediately likes it, which is perfect.
Around lunch, I chat my coworker that I’m hungry. She’s hungry, too. “Fuck Sweetgreen, let’s go to McDonald’s,” I write her. She silently lols. We joke that it actually sounds kinda bomb. We decide to go. We Instagram Live the whole thing. I post a photo of my fries after. “Fries r the new kale link in bio,” I write.
When I get back to my desk, I remember that I wanted to change my email signature. I open up Gmail, make the switch and click save. Eager to take my new sig for a spin, I email my friend an article about James Franco remaking Tommy Wiseau’s The Room and write, “Will keep eye out 4 tix.” Underneath my email, in Comic Sans, it reads: “If You Can’t Run With the Big Dogs Stay on the Porch!”
I love it so much.
On my way home from work, I listen to Taylor Swift and text my brother that I’m listening to Taylor Swift unironically. I’m doing it ironically of course, but it’s funnier if I say it’s not ironic. He sends back a video of himself searching Taylor Swift on Spotify, clicking on her “Red” album and turning the infinite repeat function on for the song “22.” “Good idea ty,” I write back.
When I get home, I make myself some vegetables and grilled chicken. I tweet a photo of my plate and write, “Brb updating my LinkedIn.” I pocket my phone, sit down with my dinner and turn on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which I love more than my own mother. I watch an episode. It’s really bad; the worst of humanity. My roommate comes home and asks what I’m watching, I implore her to watch. “It’s cinematic genius,” I tell her, before retreating to my bedroom.
“Bed so soon? It’s only 9 p.m.,” she says.
“Going to bed early is chic now,” I say.
I climb in bed and spend the next three hours scrolling through The Rock’s Instagram, my phone two inches from my face. I make a mental note to preach about The Rock’s virtue next time I’m at dinner with friends. Once I’m tired enough to sleep, I pull up a photo I screenshotted earlier of a poodle in a window that’s been zoomed in from 200 feet away. It’s very blurry, almost indiscernibly a dog. I post it to my account without attribution.
“G’nite,” I caption it, and drift off to sleep.