I want to preface this article by saying I want nothing more than to believe that love is possible for my generation. However, against the strongest wishes in my heart of hearts, I unfortunately do not believe this to be true.
I was born in 1989, meaning I fall snugly within the confines of the millennial generation. Every bad thing I am about to say about millennials can also be applied to myself, so take that into consideration before your entirely too sensitive entitled self gets their eco-friendly cotton panties in a twist and decides to send me a nasty private message on Instagram between the hours of 7 and 9pm when the data on your parent’s cellphone plan is free.
We grew up in an era where we were told we not only can but will be whatever we want to be. We were told by our parents and teachers to dream big, and that anything is possible if you simply try hard and want it badly enough. We grew up in an era of gold stars and participation ribbons, and had it hammered into our heads that we were special little snowflakes with a destiny all our own, and through some amalgamation of hard work and God’s will we will be able to see our wildest dreams come to fruition. This has yielded an army of part-time bloggers, aspiring jewelry designers, and band after band after band. Essentially, by age 5 we have been trained to be sleeper-cell adult assholes, who were activated the moment anybody said the word “no”. This had an extremely unfortunate translation to our ability to love and to be in selfless relationships.
Our parents grew up in an era where their parents didn’t get divorced, so your parents were likely raised in the shadow of an unhappy example of marriage. Very few people my age have divorced grandparents (except for me, of course…*cough*), which in turn resulted in everyone our parent’s age revelling in their freedom to divorce (again, except for me. My parents are happily married – there are exceptions to every rule). Most people from our generation come from a set of divorced parents, meaning they wanted better for us, meaning they planted the seed early that we are entitled to anything and everything. This phenomenon completely disabled every millennials’ objectivity, and every potential romantic partner is now looked at through a lens that renders them all simply not good enough. Case in point: Tinder exists. Enough said.
Millennials were also raised on Disney movies, romantic comedies, indie music, and every other vessel for telling us that “the one” is out there waiting. We’ve always been promised that we will indeed find our one true love, and they will love us unconditionally, through better or worse, richer or poorer, fatness, drunkenness, infidelity, and unwanted pregnancies alike. Everyone keeps forgetting one simple fact, however: you are entitled to nothing. It doesn’t matter how pretty you are, how kind you are, or how successful your blog is. Life is pretty fucked up, and anything can happen to anyone. You are not exempt from unhappiness, the same way you aren’t exempt from happiness either. I’m not suggesting that you should settle for the first person who expresses any remote interest in you; I’m suggesting we all amend our expectations so as to not consider “settling” as anything less than a brain surgeon who looks like Ryan Gosling who is willing to rearrange his entire schedule to be your date to your cousin’s Quinceañera.
I fear that true love skips a generation, and we’re the unlucky ones caught in the middle. Our children will listen to our stories, and be terrified of going through what we’ve gone through in our twenties and thirties, and will therefore smarten up and not treat their romantic encounters like shit the way we have, and they will find true love, and whatever stems from that for subsequent generations remains to be seen. The war stories we’ll tell our children will involve cruel mind games, being dumped on the side of the road at 4am, stumbling upon your boyfriend’s secret dating profile, and being strung along for years by someone who treats you as a sub-human.
Look, I know how cynical all of this sounds. I’m pretty sure that I more than anyone want true love to exist. I also, however, am able to glean reality from all the bullshit we are bombarded with on a day-to-day basis (and yes, this article falls into said category). True love exists for some of us, there is no doubt about that. I just think that since our generation has been afforded so much by way of technological advancements and borderline detrimental spoon-feeding by those around us, we in return sacrificed our ability to properly and selflessly love another person.
I hope I’m wrong. For the love of God, prove me wrong.