The relationships you have in your 20s always prove to be the most interesting and formative relationships you’ll ever have.
People always look back on this time with a lovely sort of nostalgia because they realize that those were the years they could build themselves up, tear themselves down and become the people they ultimately ended up being.
No matter what others say, you can’t become the best person you could ever be on your own; it’s always the people we choose to share our experiences with that ultimately transform us.
This may all sound all good, but Gen-Y is one that's been greeted by a great deal of criticism. I mean, honestly, just take a look around you for a moment.
From the outside, we seem like self-entitled, overbearing, shallow hedonists who are more interested in getting the perfect #selfie than what is going on in the Middle East.
Our relationships seem to have this same negative aura around them. We've even been dubbed the "hook-up generation," so what do we know about genuine feelings and love?
Unfortunately, these are thoughts that go through people’s minds when thinking about Generation-Y. As a Millennial myself, I must admit it’s somewhat hurtful. I've always thought such labels were unfair to us, but nevertheless, they're inevitable. As long as there will be people, there will be labels.
This article isn't meant to be a critical study of the generation gap, however; this piece comes as a result of an observation I made a while back about the nature of romantic relationships between Millennials. I'm trying to chip away at lies behind the shiny and somewhat superficial surface.
By looking at other people’s relationships, as well as my own, I've realized that, contrary to what our seniors think about us, our affairs aren't all about sex or selfies. Actually, the basic ingredients are feelings.
On one hand, there are those who live behind what I call the “picket fence.” They're the people who seem to be in the most perfect relationship since Brad and Angelina. Everything appears to be so effortless and lacks any drama whatsoever.
They’re all about Sunday brunches, quiet family dinners, trips to the beach and movie nights snuggling on the couch. How idyllic it all sounds, right? Once you take a closer look behind the picket fence, however, you undoubtedly see all the tiny cracks.
The truth of the matter is that the picket fence covers a certain amount of fear: fear of getting hurt, fear of the unknown, fear of being judged and tainting one’s image. This fear is overwhelming and it ends up covering us like a transparent shroud until it becomes a permanent cover.
Now, I’m not trying to say love doesn't exist and it's just an emotional scam. Some may want nothing more than a clean-cut, uncomplicated relationship from life.
I’m talking about those of us (like some of my friends) who still have that small yearning in their souls for something else and who don’t allow themselves full happiness because they are afraid of the toll it may take on their emotions.
On the other hand, there are those who live behind the “electric fence.” These are, as you might have guessed, the opposite of those behind the picket fence. They are the ones who take chances with relationships and who allow themselves to be hurt in order to feel.
They're the couple who is always fighting and at each others’ throats, and they seem like their lives would be so much better apart, yet they stay together. The question we all ask is, “Why put yourself through this? Why not make it so much easier?”
The answer might baffle you: All of these relationships, no matter how destructive, are more often than not based on a very strong and genuine feeling. I wouldn't call it love at first sight; it’s more along the lines of fascination, curiosity and fearlessness.
It’s that moment when you know that sooner or later, your feelings will be hurt, but you are ready to take that risk because you know that the pain will be worthwhile. Those behind the electric fence are ready to open themselves up in order to evolve.
When the going gets tough, the only reason we don’t give up is because we remember that first time we kissed, where it was like an electrical current just went through our entire body. It’s something that you feel you wouldn't trade for all the certainty in the world. It's like when Van Gogh said,
I would rather die of passion than of boredom.
It is inevitable to leap from one side of the fence to another throughout your 20s. To be fair, that’s how you learn. Personally, I've been behind the electric fence for a while now, and as much as those close to me have suggested the contrary, I regret nothing because it’s made me who I am today.
It’s offered me the opportunity to travel and find interesting people who have left their mark on me, and I can say I've left my mark on them. At the end of the day, I think our goal is to inspire people and to let others know who we were, what we did and hopefully be remembered when we’re gone.
Some do so by attempting perfection, while others do it through controlled chaos. Either way, we wish to inspire. Neither path is easier than the other; each one has its compromises and takes a lot of energy to complete.
My advice is, take a moment, breathe, live and love independently and everything will turn out just fine.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It