This evening while I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, I came across a video by one of my favorite comedians on Instagram, @jayversace. Between expletives and his trademark hilarious, effusive gestures and facial expressions, he explains his frustration with people constantly asking what's next for him.
I don't fucking know, do I look like a damn fortune teller? ...Worry about what I motherfucking did in the past, the shit I accomplished, the trials and tribulations I done gone through, the battles and wars...
Even without the context of his popularity, it's easy to understand where Jay is coming from. Jay originally rose to popularity with his dance videos on Vine and impersonations on YouTube, and has since continued to grow his following, signing deals with brands like Reebok, who sought to capitalize on his 90s aesthetic and target his predominately millennial fanbase.
While his rant is delivered in comedic fashion, there's a great deal of seriousness to it. Growing up in the spotlight is hard enough, and especially in the internet age, where the expectation of instant gratification is not only common but encouraged, the need to succeed is no longer an intrinsic motivation, but a relentless, extrinsic demand. With insatiable fans just a tweet or comment away, it's easy to drown in a sea of expectations. Jay's video, like so many videos from social media stars before him, gives voice to millennial burnout.
When Anne Helen Petersen wrote her Buzzfeed article on "How Millenials Became the Burnout Generation," I saw the post shared in every one of my social circles. There was a general sense of relief that someone had finally spoken to something we've all felt for so long, without the usual criticism. It's wonderful to see people starting to talk about this at all stretches, but I wonder, will this bring any change?
For all our talk of self care and boundaries, there seems to be no end in sight. We hop off the hedonic treadmill of hustle for a short while, only to come back for another marathon. Hell, I'm already gearing up for my next race. What a world to live in, to consume and be consumed, and never feel full.