Miley Cyrus' new song is a millennial's anthem to growing older

miley cyrus used to be young antidote to millennial ageing
Miley Cyrus' new song is a millennial anthemHearst Owned

Fellow millennials everywhere, please gather. Thanks to Miley Cyrus dropping the ballad of the century, you're probably (like us) a bag of emotions, complete with a side serving of severe nostalgia. Because for those who grew up with the now 30-year-old as the soundtrack to every era of our existence thus far, she's now telling us that we used to be young.

At a first glance – and without listening – the song title Used to be Young might seem a bit ridiculous, considering we're not old by any stretch. But in reality, the track is not only Miley's full-circle moment (note its eery musical similarity to The Climb, the fact that she dropped the track on the tenth anniversary of her infamous VMA performance, or her recent Used to Be Young social media series where she looks "back on [her] life sharing untold stories"), it's also the antidote to inherent millennial fears around ageing.

TikTok sees this, too, and ever since the release of the track, the platform has witnessed a surge of millennial-aged Miley fans launching a new *very sweet* trend. Which, if you haven't already clocked (or taken part in) sees them embracing getting older and wiser, whilst fondly reminiscing on their past selves.

This trend often comes complete with messy, drunken night 'throwback' snaps to boot (but if I'm being real, while such nights are probably less regular these days, they're still very much an occurrence for many of us – just because we're not 18 anymore, it doesn't mean we've swapped The Club for knitting club). The trend is all about learning to embrace the joys of a *somewhat* quieter life, full of lessons learned and devoid of any raging hangxiety (something that is a total positive when it comes to growing older), whilst keeping your 'past' self firmly in your heart.

In its essence, the trend explains that – while we're no longer the 'young' version of ourselves – we will cherish that person forever. Plus, that it's OK to move on and look forward to a new you. It's something that is a breath of fresh air, especially for women as we're so used to seeing anecdotes of how we're scared of daring to age or grow out of our old selves. Despite our twenties and thirties being still, comparatively, young.

And it's not necessarily only in relation to physical changes, either. A 2022 survey from charity Relate revealed that 77% of millennials (25-39 year-olds) felt pressure to have already reached certain life 'milestones'. It was also found that women experienced the majority of societal pressure thanks to birthdays like the big 3-0 traditionally being viewed as a 'watershed age.' Which, in a nutshell, documents biological changes (i.e. the looming 'I should probably have a baby ASAP' feeling some have), alongside fears that stereotypical achievements (i.e. 'I should have bought a house with my partner by now') ought to have been fulfilled.

But Miley, who we have always relied on to veer away from 'social norms' and confidently declare that it's OK to just do you, has vehemently flipped this narrative in a way that has given the power back to the people. Namely us: the over-emotional, wonderfully nostalgic millennials who now – instead of worrying about getting married - are more concerned about honouring and nurturing who we are yet to become.

Alexa, play Used to be Young on repeat.

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