After a decade of stunted development, things are worse than ever for Ireland's millennials
No generation will come out of this pandemic unscathed.
Whether medically, mentally or materially, the damage will be done.
Of course, the elderly are the most susceptible to the cruelty of this virus, and it is impossible to go about one's day without feeling sick with worry for society's elders.
Similarly, today's teenagers are getting royally screwed in terms of uncertainty around their state exams - already overhyped as the most stressful and important things they'll ever do. All at a time when not only are they being deprived of necessary human contact, but also being nonsensically blamed en masse for virtually non-existent TikTok coughing challenges.
Little children too, whose development will almost certainly be warped by having to spend so much time away from friends, school, grandparents and any semblance of normalcy during these rough months.
Every generation deserves its moment to scream into their elbows and disguise it as a sneeze or a cough.
Even the millennials. Those much-maligned participation-trophy snowflakes who've never faced a challenge in their lives, besides the whole decade of austerity thing, and the encroaching climate death of the planet (which we've all temporarily put on the méar fada for a few minutes while we deal with this other, faster-moving threat to our species).
But millennials do have one advantage, in that we are actually pretty well acclimated to the current set of circumstances.
Spend all your time on the internet? Check.
Forced to live with your parents by circumstances beyond your control? Sounds about right.
Don't get to see your friends anymore? No problem, they'd already emigrated.
Can't go to your favourite pub? They were turning it into a hotel anyway.
Ireland has implemented a decade's worth of polices to stunt the growth of its millennials. Multinational corporations have been allowed to ride roughshod over national sovereignty and drive up property prices, a state of affairs compounded by the government's refusal to provide social housing or take action against short-term letting.
Since the coronavirus outbreak began, Daft.ie has been flooded with new rentals at cut-price, landlords desperate to offload as tourism dries up. It's pretty telling when a virulent disease has better housing policy outcomes than your actual government.
Development was already at a standstill for Ireland's millennials. Coronavirus has simply added a new layer of morbid stress and sorrow to proceedings.
Anyone who graduated from college at the height of the recession is now of an age where they're expected to be getting married, having their first children and buying their first house. Good luck. They entered the working world when it was a barren landscape of boarded up business, and now, as they try to take the next step, they face the same harsh reality again.
For anyone born in the early '90s, the timeline of your life as it intersected with major global events is as follows: a prosperous early childhood that you don't really remember, the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre, the years of fear and fear-mongering that followed, the financial crisis of 2008, a decade of austerity leading straight into Donald Trump and Brexit, followed by an unprecedented global pandemic, which will likely usher in another decade of austerity.
Millennials are, in effect, a generation without any positive memories of the world. A generation without any wins, who have experienced nothing but a free-fall slide down the declining quality-of-life curve on a graph of bullshit.
During the last financial crisis, such people were known as boomerang babies. As in, they moved out of home and then had to move right back in. If anything, this phraseology was optimistic. The reality is that we haven't been thrown like boomerangs. It's more like we're a dead mafioso rolled up in a carpet and thrown off a New Jersey bridge, straight to the bottom of some sludgy river.
There is little catharsis to be had when you're locked in your childhood bedroom, working from home at your precarious job, spending most of your time worried that your at-risk parents will get sick. Like Harry Potter living in the cupboard under the stairs, only without the Hogwarts letter.
Even the old solution, getting the boat to Anywhere But Here, has failed us. The rest of the world is closed for business now. The opportunities we used to beg from the UK, US, Canada and Australia have abandoned us.
There is nothing for Ireland's millennials to do but to once again wait out the hard times. Fortunately for us, we have a lot of experience in this area.