Millennials Can Do It All... Except Dating
My dearest Gen-Y homies,
I love you. I love us.
I love that I can tell you I spent my Saturday watching "Stranger Things" while eating cheese cubes and evoke envy from you.
I love that we've concluded that foosball tables in the breakroom helps promote work-life balance.
I love that we communicate through open letters! We are collectively taking down the US Postal System, and I am all about process improvement.
I admire your dedication to education, your fearlessness of authority, your autonomy, your acceptance, your propensity for change. I am with you, I am you, I love you.
So when I say what I'm about to say, know that I am speaking as someone in your shoes. I am Ryan Lochte swapping stories with Brian Williams. I am Brendan Dassey shooting the breeze with Adnan Sayed. I am Taylor Switft removing herself from the narrative of which I am a very much a part of.
Squad, we have to get over ourselves.
We also have a lot of catch phrases. Our eyebrows are on fleek. Our night was turnt. The "Lego Movie" was lit.
You know what else we say? “I put up walls.” “I've been hurt.” “I can't be vulnerable.” “I have trust issues.”
And the kicker, “I'm not ready for a relationship.”
I get it, we're fragile.
But here's the thing: Who are we saying these things to? Our platonic friends?
We might mumble something to them about how we're going to be single forever between bites of our gluten-free brunch. They might kind of listen, they might offer advice. But, home girl lives with her boyfriend and the other one just got 250 likes on her engagement pic. They don't know your struggle!
They aren't who we really want to understand these things, anyway. We know this is just the practice round for our real audience: the person we're dating.
We say these things, these canned phrases about being closed off and unavailable, when we're starting to date someone. We say them when we want them to understand why we're falling short of their expectations. They are justifications for us to treat the person as less than they deserve.
And listen, I get it. I get the feeling, the list of excuses, the motivation behind it.
We're a generation with an affinity for upgrades. The next best thing is always around the corner. The next tablet will always be thinner. The next social media platform will always be more engaging. The next iPhone's headphones… well, let's not use that example.
We do not take the time to mourn the past. We embrace change in a moment's notice, because we haven't really held onto anything forever. And we are dating people our age, who have grown up with this same mentality.
We put the trust of our forlorn Tamagotchi in people who we see a future with, and in the blink of an eye it ends, and their future is on facebook with someone else. We are forgotten. We are insignificant and outdated. We are the flip phone in their bottom dresser drawer.
We're a little broken.
That's painful to experience. Of course we're a little broken, but that does not give us an excuse to break others.
We are scared and we are hurt, and instead of sacking up and overcoming it on our own, we half-heartedly enter a relationship because we think we're resilient. We think we have to always be moving forward in order to keep up.
Except unlike the Walkman buried in the archive of your youth, unlike your deleted Myspace profile, we are receptive, dynamic, live beings.
When someone leaves us, we need time to heal. When we leave someone, we need time to acknowledge that that door has closed. But instead of taking time, we sprint out and claim our upgrade... before we give a disclaimer of why we aren't ready. (But we don't want to lose them, so they should just, like, chill and wait for us to come around.)
Our Instagrams are the most glamorous and our Snapchats are the funniest and our world is seen through our lens, but it is so much bigger than us. Our actions transcend beyond us.
Our refusal to meet someone halfway -- our projection of our past onto our present -- extends beyond us. We are doing these things to an individual, and it impacts, hurts and changes that person.
We are perpetuating this feeling of inadequacy and disposability that has become too familiar to us already, because we refuse to see ourselves as anything other than the victim. We refuse own our struggles on our own.
Take a moment to remind yourself that you are better than whoever or whatever hurt you. Let that moment be a month, six months, a year if it needs to be. And once you believe that, once you can accept that you are still whole and worthy and able to give, then go. Go to your vulnerable, wall-free love shack.
We are a lot of great things. We are not disposable. We are worth loving. We are a bomb generation; we just need to remember that, when dealing with ourselves and each other.
Stay lit, fam.
Sincerely, Another millennial with an opinion