Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Millennials and their lone-star state of Textus

Ah, yet another article by a millennial alleging that millennials suck. With so many of these floating about, it’s a wonder millennials are stereotyped as the entitled generation. If anything, they’re the self-flagellating generation, at times sounding identical in their self-analysis to the smuggest, crankiest 70-something.

“Yes, us kids and our textbooking! Here’s 1,000 words about what’s wrong with us.”

“True, but I’m lazy and I need to get back to texting.”
“Yes, sir. It is a very nice lawn.”
“I could do that too if I got off my duff.”

It’s as if many millennials don’t realize there’s such a thing as the generation gap — the eternal friction between the older generation that sees the younger generation as hopeless and incapable children, and has the younger generation seeing its elders as unfair judges operating on stale cultural mores. Instead, the millennials skipped straight to the older role before there’s any future generation to judge. Instant gratification, indeed.

(Yes, I realize this probably doesn’t describe most millennials. Just all of the writers, apparently.)

OK, to get this blog started …

I am annoyed by people who bemoan how we can’t handle marriage anymore. I don’t think that’s true, but even if it was, so what? What’s wrong with leaving marriage to the people who can handle it? Marriage is not for everyone, and in recent decades, we’ve become more comfortable with this fact. Why is that a bad thing?

As I said recently, a truly worthwhile marriage is hard to pull off. Too many marriages happen for the wrong reasons, and too many become prisoners to the vows. (By that I mean, it’s true that a lifelong companionship takes work, and shouldn’t be abandoned at the first obstacle. But if a marriage is a genuine failure, there’s abuse, etc., then personal peace should take precedence over allegiance to words. Anytime the ideal exceeds the reality, it’s time to call it quits. Life’s too short to live a lie.)

That was true before texting and it’s still true.

(Side note: “Because texting” is the new weak fallback argument. It’s being blamed for everything from bad marriages to the smaller number of teens getting driver’s licenses. In my experience, texting hasn’t kept anyone from driving — not nearly as much as it should. Mostly, the texting argument is shorthand for how (not) seriously you should take an opinion.)

Chances are, if someone is so distracted by technology that they have intimacy issues, then they probably already had intimacy issues. I love the Internet as much as anybody, but if there’s someone around me to love, that’s an easy decision. (Not the technology, if the all-caps old man quoted above is reading this.)

The role of technology, as it is with everything, is incidental. You will always have both embracers and people who think it marks the downfall of civilization. They say that about smartphones now. Some almost certainly thought the same about newspapers or wireless radio. Like the generation gap, that will always be with us.

As will character. There will be always be people with it and people without it. No generation has the lock on either group.

I think millennials are as capable of enjoying solid marriages as anyone. The reason old people seem to be married longer is because they’ve been around long enough to be married for that long. That isn’t rocket science. I’m sure many millennials will eventually be married for 50 years, but you can probably ascertain the missing ingredient needed for that to currently be the case (hint: it’s not character issues).

Whether it’s marriage, mastering the technology-life balance or just getting by, millennials are going to be just fine.

Text that to the bank.

1 comment:

KBliss said...

I actually really liked this article. The title is misleading, making it sounds like ALL millennials are failures at marriage.

The point I got from it though, was that millennials can make it last, as long as they do things the right way. (Just like even those of other generations).

Sometimes technology can get in the way more than it should (for anyone, not just people in our age group). Financial stress can cause stress on a marriage which is worsened by seeing all your friends on Facebook taking great vacations you never get.

So on so forth. I think it's just a good reminder to take time for the little things that add up to the big picture, even when sometimes other things (like technology) can get in the way.