Ever wonder what our generation will be known for in the decades to come? I ponder the question regularly.
There are so many great things we could be remembered for, but if history has taught us anything, it's the negative that tends to last the test of time, not the positive.
My greatest worry is our generation will be looked at as the generation that gave up on love. We date for the sake of dating. The generation that forgot how to love -- which is ridiculous. Most people have never had a good understanding of love, just a poor interpretation of it.
Generation-Y seems to be the first generation moving away from conventional takes on romantic, loving relationships.
The only question that remains is whether we'll be remembered for being the first generation to accept a more logical and rational take on love or the generation that gave up on it altogether.
I guess you'll be the one to decide.
1. We care more about instant gratification than we do anything else.
The most common trend amongst Generation-Yers is our need for instant gratification. We grew up and continue to thrive in a culture that allows us instant access to just about anything.
If we want food, we have it delivered with the click of a few buttons or we walk a block or two and grab dinner. If we are bored, we have endless distractions in the form of phone apps. If we need directions or a question answered, it only takes us a couple of seconds.
Such convenience is entirely a modern-day perk -- previous generations never experienced anything even remotely close to it.
The problem is instant gratification is addicting and often becomes a habit, a habit that tends to seep into our love lives.
Love isn't meant to be experienced in an instance, but in a lifetime.
2. We've built a culture driven by drugs and booze.
This goes hand in hand with our culture's need for instant gratification. Drugs and alcohol are the most common form of self-medication.
When we feel sad or unhappy, we go out for drinks. When we're stressed or unable to handle our lives, we may turn to more intense substances. Of course, not everyone drinks alcohol and/or does drugs, but it is a trend among our generation.
Drugs and alcohol often end up being love's worst enemy. These substances give us the illusion of an alternate reality -- a reality in which our emotions are heightened, and the love we experience becomes exponentially intense.
Unfortunately, all this does is confuse us, making us believe love is little more than the feelings we experience. Nothing could be further from the truth.
3. We sleep around -- a lot.
Some less than others, but most individuals have multiple partners every year. Don't get me wrong, I like sex just as much as the next guy, but sleeping around ends up leaving us feeling empty.
It starts out feeling exciting and gratifying, but ends up making us feel even more alone. Worse yet, it makes finding someone to love infinitely more difficult. You're wasting your time with people who mean nothing to you and, to top it all off, you are likely to turn sex into a sport.
When that becomes the case, good luck trying to make love. Good luck enjoying sex when sex is no longer a special or unique experience, but just another trivial evening.
4. We're becoming even more egocentric.
Every individual in the world is egocentric; we all think about our needs and ourselves first and foremost. Whether this is good or bad doesn't really matter; the world is the way it is. It's part of human nature.
The problem arises when our egocentricity overtakes our ability to feel empathy. As human beings, we have no choice but to live and function within society, within communities of different sizes.
Relationships are really nothing more than granular communities. When we focus on only ourselves, our needs, our wants and desires, the needs of the others in our community get overlooked. When this happens in a relationship, it all begins to fall apart.
5. We date for the sake of dating.
It's become a sport -- a favorite pastime among Millennials. We date because we believe we're supposed to date. We're supposed to find someone to fall in love with and spend our lives with, and we are under the impression that the best way to go about it is to date as often as possible.
This backwards logic brings about countless horrible relationships that never ought to have been in the first place. Every time you date someone who isn't right for you, you're giving up your chance to meet someone who is. Same goes for the rest of the world.
6. We aren't fans of making compromises.
We like to have things our way, always. Why wouldn't we? If we can have it our way, why would we settle for anything less?
This logic makes sense until we find ourselves in a relationship. When we're a part of a relationship, we are only a piece of a greater whole. What we want and need is not nearly as important as what the relationship needs.
And what the relationship often needs is for you to compromise. So you're left with a dilemma, which is fine, as long as you accept that compromises need to be made. Once we no longer accept that as a necessity, we will lose the ability to create a loving relationship.
7. We believe in fairytale endings.
What was our favorite thing to watch growing up? Most people our age will say Disney. We grew up on Disney movies and learned all about love through the stories they told -- or at least I did.
The problem is such movies are incredibly inaccurate and often end up doing more harm than good. They create impossible expectations -- expectations that always leave us disappointed in the end, not to mention confused.
How could you not question your love for someone when your story doesn't line up with what you believe defines a happily ever after?
8. We've been fooled into believing perfection is attainable.
It's not. Never has been, never will be, and yet, we are all looking for that perfect individual. We are all looking to become that perfect individual. Sadly, we're all going to fail, and it's going to suck.
No matter how unrealistic our expectations are, the disappointment we feel when they aren't achieved is very real.
The grass always seems greener on the other side. But who the hell told you to look for greener grass?
9. We're goal driven, but often forget to include our partners in the mix.
I love the fact that our generation is really the first generation to put the focus on the individual, allowing for personal growth and development. I'm proud our generation is the first generation that believes working for ourselves is better than working for someone else.
Having dreams and setting goals are both incredibly important; however, what's more important is setting the right goals. We need to understand the difference between the things and individuals in our life who hold value and those that do not.
Sadly, this is an area in which our generation is greatly lacking. Most of us put off finding someone to love until after we get the rest of our life together. Not sure why no one realizes finding a partner is the most important piece of the puzzle.
10. Most of us are really bad at loving.
Love is confusing. It has layers and is mutable, changing over time and changing with each new partner we let into our lives. Love is so incredibly complex that most people simply haven't been able to get a grasp of it.
It's nothing to be ashamed of, but it is reason to worry. The real question is: Are we getting better or worse at loving? That's a question I'm not able to answer, but I fear it maybe the latter.
Of course, each individual is different in his or her understanding, but most people seem to be incredibly lost. The issue is if we don't come to understand love better -- its purpose, its boundaries and its shortcomings -- we will never be happy.
That's nothing short of fact.