I couldn’t figure out why small, straightforward tasks on my to-do list felt so impossible. The answer is both more complex and far simpler than I expected.
“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. But those kind of tasks can be hard for me to do if I’m not enthusiastic about it.”
Tim goes on to admit that some friends had helped him register to vote, and he planned to probably make it happen for the midterms. But his explanation — even though, as he noted, his struggle in this case was caused in part by his ADHD — triggered the contemporary tendency to dunk on millennials’ inability to complete seemingly basic tasks. Grow up, the overall sentiment goes. Life is not that hard. “So this is the way the world ends,” HuffPost congressional reporter Matt Fuller tweeted. “Not with a bang but with a bunch of millennials who don’t know how to mail things.”
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