‘Love’ seems to be the word of the hour, after all it is Valentine’s Day. In the spirit of things, the Good City crew takes you into the world of love in the time of the millennials.
We, the millenials, are a strange generation...we've been exposed to an array of innovations and situations - perhaps too much too soon?
We grew up watching Cartoon Network on the idiot box and then transitioned to a cluster of apps on our mobiles. From Mahabharat to Game of Thrones, SMS to Whatsapp, visiting friends to Skyping with them - we have seen and done it all.
Thanks to these transitions, our ideologies of love have also undergone a radical change. Love - a Utopian world of rainbows, unicorns, and gushing about someone “being the one!” - seems to be locked away in a dusty, rarely visited corner of our hearts. There is no one ‘tall, dark and handsome’ to sweep you off your feet, nor is there a ‘damsel in distress’ to be rescued anymore.
This evolution has seen people of earlier generations severely criticising us and our approach to life...to them, we have been reduced to a bunch of self-absorbed individuals who have a dearth of compassion; a quality essential for any relationship to work. The millennials, according to them, are a sad bunch; we’re a people of broken smiles and broken hearts.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter - the always accessible and so impersonal social media forms the backbone of our age. Parents tend to believe that social media is the nemesis of our selfie-crazy generation, and that our over-indulgence of it is the primary source of our lonesomeness.
And what about love? Ask them and they’ll likely tell you that in today’s world, love in its truest sense has lost its meaning.
Gone are the days when an exchange of letters would have butterflies fluttering in tummies. The matchmakers have been replaced by Tinder. It is our mind (not the heart) that screens a person in three seconds and decides whether or not we want to hook up (catch our parents using a phrase like “hook up”!). That “yes or no” waiting game that could last days has been reduced to a single swipe to the left or right.
“The online world is turning human beings into commodities; love is becoming transactional”; it’s a common sentiment today, one we’ve all heard. Being a member of the millennial clan myself, I would beg to differ with this generic opinion.
I think the key perspective here is that maybe love is not what it was because we are not who they were!
Change is the only constant and a lot has changed over the last decade. The millennials have seen and absorbed more than our parents ever did or could. We’ve realised that blindness in love is not a boon, it’s a curse! A healthy relationship is backed by rationality; compatibility is important to see things past at least a six-month mark!. Love is definitely not a bed of roses and we understand the hard work needed to make a relationship work. After all, the heart cannot think, so sooner or later, the brain does need to kick in.
We’re not escapists and we’re not only looking for convenience when it comes to sex (still such a taboo idea!). When we opt for an open relationship, it’s because we are not sure of the other person. Tinder is a viable option because we look at sex as a need and we have no qualms with fulfilling it; we’ve stopped romanticising it.
Rather than immersing ourselves in a sea of expectations and disappointments, we opt for convenience. No strings attached is not something we frown at.
The millennials have grown up to be a very accepting and non-judgmental generation. Looking at love as a feeling and choice that binds two people together, we have a liberal outlook on two people who decide to be together. Caste, creed, race, sexual orientation - nothing is a barrier to us.
There is no shortage of empathy or compromise, but we don’t believe in meaningless sacrifice. The alpha female is making her mark in every profession and getting her due share of credit. Financial stability or good looks are not a primary concern in finding a suitable partner anymore. We don’t believe in staying in cracked glass houses and spending the rest of our lives trying to fix it...we don’t want to tell our children that we stayed in hell for them, or teach them to do it in their own turn. We have the courage to walk away from unsolvable issues, even if it results in temporary solitude and loneliness.
We are all in search of our ‘happy place’; that person who will accept us for who we are. The person who gives us peace and contentment after a tiresome day of restless competition. We don’t need anybody to fulfill our dreams for us; we’re ready to be our own heroes.
We want someone to share our dreams with. The millennials are essentially on the quest for a companion on the same wavelength. A confidante, a friend...hopefully our best friend. And love, for us, has become the act of having the deepest conversations with our best friend at 3 AM.
There is equality and individuality in a relationship today; we are driven by logic but our hearts are still beating and feeling as much as it should. The lyrics of one of my favourite songs still make perfect sense amidst all the hollowness that people claim we’re filled with : ‘When we're hungry, love will keep us alive’.
Text by Ankita Sarkar
*The Good City does not claim any copyright over the images used; they have been sourced from the internet for illustration purposes only.*