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The One With The Millennial Pause

So the other day I was sharing a beautiful moment with Little Lad, showing him my latest collection of social media videos, when he sighed, tutted and mumbled something about a 'cringey Millennial pause.'

Whilst the impulse was to shriek I was, in fact, anything BUT cringey (not true) and not a Millennial at all, but an out and proud Gen X-er, I wondered if I should treat this as a learning moment. A rare opportunity to delve into a young, potent mind. A mind that is fused indelibly with social media and quite possibly firing neurons direct from the Metaverse itself. It is not often, after all, that an actual Gen Z will give up their wisdom.

"It's that awful pause you take before the video begins," he explained. "It's when you take a breath and kind of check the camera is on. Then there are more cringe points if you say something like, 'Hi guys, i'm just popping on . . .', you've lost everyone. They've scrolled on."

"Do you mean on Tik Tok where everybody has the attention span of a B-12 deficient hamster?"

"I mean on all social media."

"All of it?"

"All of it."


My first ever Ask Me Anything video so the MP is strong

I mean, I kind of knew what he was talking about. We've all seen those videos where a nice, deep breath gets the speaker to a place of at least pseudo confidence and the brightly spoken,'Hi guys!' is the universal password that perchance unlocks an explosion of likes, comments and shares. And I may be way behind the Gen Zs but even I'm already thinking about the stack of dirty dishes in the sink by the time they're explaining why they're, 'just popping on'.

He makes it look so easy

A couple of tutorials later and a promise that I would, indeed repay Little Lad with at least three bags of the elusive Walkers Max Hot Chicken Wing crisps, and I got thinking more deeply about this Millennial Pause. Why is it a thing? Why is it in such stark contrast with the way the 'youngsters' upload their content?

Ok, so if you're a Millennial you were born between 1981 and 1996, which means you have, kind of, known a life without the internet. Technology has been a huge part of your upbringing and the rapid development of it may have, at times, outpaced your own growth. I mean, how could any of us have grown in any single area of our lives as quickly as Facebook took over the world?

Even though I was born two years before the Millennial phase, I kind of get it. For me, it harks back to that familiar trope of somebody uttering, 'Is this thing on?' when stepping up to a mic and giving it three trusty taps before experiencing ear-shattering feedback. Except nowadays, we don't even have the backbone to ask the obvious question. Or actually, have we just trimmed that question out, forgetting that the deep breath we took afterwards has more or less announced to the entire virtual world that we have no idea what we're doing?

Is this thing on? A favourite moment from Monsters Inc

And although the cringe-stakes are high, I think I worked out that I'm a bit protective of the Millennial Pause. Why shouldn't we take our own sweet time? Why does everything need to be so bloody rushed as if Death himself is ready to switch off the wi-fi with a single swish of his scythe? How did we let our brains get like this and why does it seem there's no way to ever stop it?

Since my latest book, Murder at the Pirate Festival was released, I have to admit I am taking a Millennial Pause in more than one area of my life. I spent the last year working every spare second I wasn't at, well, work, to make that book happen. It's not a journey I regret, but it was so mind-and-body-bendingly exhausting, that pause I will.

Pause, I must.

I'd like to remember just how precious a pause can be. In fact, the 'Precious Pause' is something that is recognised in the world of mindfulness as a chance to come back to the moment you're in. To breathe, restore and reconnect. It's not a break, which might imply a disconnection or an ending - it is more about continuity and possibility. It's about finding stillness, paying attention and knowing, with confidence, that beauty lies ahead.

Maybe we can take a moment to reflect on that and . . . pause?

Get me, pausing.

Are you back? Ok. Me too.

So whilst my video-editing skills have now been souped up by a thirteen year-old, I will be protecting the pauses in other areas of my life. This might mean that the next book will take longer to come out; that the weekly food shop is a couple of days late; or that the ironing board never sees the light of day. But with these precious pauses I'll be re-fuelling. I'll be resting in any discomfort and insecurity, knowing that it's all part of the bigger picture. The bigger video, if you like.

Next time you're indulging in a bit of doom-scrolling and you hear the inevitable intake of breath followed by, 'Hi guys!', even if you don't watch the whole thing, maybe just give the Millennial Pause a little nod of recognition. And, if you dare, ask yourself where a similar deep breath, a similar pause might benefit you too.

Go well,



P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post then make sure you sign up to get ALL Abigail's bookish news as and when it happens. You'll also bag yourself a FREE copy of Life Is Yours - the first book in the Life Is Yours Trilogy. Sign up here

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1 Comment

Jun 17

I love this, thanks Abi. I wonder if there is a BabyBoomers pause, or if we do something even more dramatic - well, dramatic to a Gen Z-er. The vision of a B12 deficient hamster is still with me. Sylvie


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