Thoughts

Are Millennials Falling Out of Love With Love?

Are millennials, people who, as well as Instagramming their mother’s lasagne and exhibiting entrepreneurial streaks not seen before in any other generation, falling out of love with love? It’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot since learning that 64% of millennials happen to be single and I have a few thoughts as to why that might be the case.

First things first, I’m not an effervescent City broker working 15-hour-days trading stocks and entertaining Japanese clients until I pass out on my bedroom floor only to do it again 3 hours later. Neither am I an app developer forgoing a social life to become the next Zuckerberg.

But I am single and work long (ish) hours as a content writer, often writing 3,000 words a day before using the evenings and weekends to make edits or write new passages for my upcoming book. Not that writers, bankers and coders are a special species of grafters.

Indeed, I defy any generation to tell a working millennial they have it easy. Even if you happen to find yourself working behind a bar or waiting tables to ungrateful Yummy Mummies, not only are you earning peanuts, but you’re probably facing the added indignity of being told to wash your hands before dinner when you get home. And who wants that?

So, of course, with little time or money to see friends let alone go out and talk to someone you like at God forbid… a bar, most turn to paradoxical dating apps that promise a litany of potential partners when in reality you probably won’t meet 1% of your matches.

Instead, dating apps are used as ephemeral time-wasters that rarely lead to anything meaningful because even if you do have the good fortune of matching with someone and convincing them you’re worthy of their time, chances are you’ll probably be too busy to sustain anything beyond the initial bonding phase. Or if you do they’ll likely work 13-hour-days and then entertain their friends on weekends leaving you all but redundant barring the odd booty call.

That said, the saying goes you make time for someone you want to see, and that’s somewhat true because if presidents and C.E.Os can structure their professional lives around family and friends then why can’t you?

Well, you probably can’t because you haven’t got much money, you don’t know where you’re going in life, or if you do know or happen to have the good fortune of already being there, how do you convince yourself to slow down for a romantic liaison that could or couldn’t lead somewhere?

I guess we are all at different stages, though whether that means we are falling out of love with love itself is hard to quantify. Perhaps my generation has simply fallen privy to a more ruthless and self-seeking capitalist economy flexing its muscles? Or let the looks of Instagram models subconsciously trick us into thinking that potential partners need flawless jawlines similar to theirs? Heck, even the ‘feel good’ film La La Land told us that, you, too, could lead a life like the stars if you had the willpower to say no to Ryan Gosling.

Whatever the reasons, I believe most millennials still want to find love and enjoy all that it encompasses, but the idea of finding it in an era where one’s lifestyle moves at a faster pace than a Jamaican relay team’s has many throwing in the towel at the first hurdle, because, let’s face it: We’ve become better equipped at being on our own.

And quite frankly; I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

Thoughts

Tales From My Grandfather

After visiting my grandfather this week in the beautiful surroundings of the Suffolk countryside, part of me saw it as a duty to go. After all, I hadn’t seen him in nine months. So off I went, departing from the hustle and bustle of London Liverpool Street, eventually arriving in the small picturesque market town of Hadleigh some two hours later.

The moment I opened the door, the joy on his face was priceless. What struck me most was the sheer happiness that not just my grandfather showed, but elderly people in general experience when around young people. It was as if he had turned the clock back 40 years, putting the pain of his polio to one side as he recited his days as an Army General in Kenya and journeys to the wilderness of Papua New Guinea. I was hooked and had a childlike excitement I often experienced when being read to as a child.

And the stories only got better.

One particular story centred on his days working as a publisher overseeing the works of great thinkers such as the philosopher Bertrand Rusell. He even recalled a telephone call with the world famous writer J.R.R. Tolkien. As a journalist, the stories he recited was music to my ears, with one fascinating story after the other rolling off his wise tongue.

Later that night, with jazz music roaring loudly in the background and already on my fifth glass of wine, he told me of his encounter with Margaret Thatcher and Sir Dennis at the Ritz. The Ritz is famous for playing live Jazz music in the main tea hall, much to the pleasure of its customers. However, to my grandfather’s annoyance, the music suddenly stopped. “Why was that?” I asked. “The musician told me that Lady Thatcher does not like the sound when she dines here. So after drinking a few glasses, I went over to their table and told Sir Denis that it was rather rude of her to do that. He seemed shocked,” said my granddad, hysterically laughing.

Who knew a night in with an 87-year-old could be so entertaining?

Did I mention that he recently returned from New York after visiting his good friend, who just happened to be the head of Penguin Books? Or the time he attended the funeral of a chief in the remote New Guinea jungle?

Considering I have been alive for a paltry 25 years, it was incredible to find out about his rich past. It was also a lesson in how we can learn from others. My granddad achieved a lot in his time, and still does as much as he can, both for himself and the local community. And I discovered this because I eventually took an interest in his life. Every person at a certain age has lived. Everyone has a story.

My only hope is that when I gaze towards my departure from life, I, too, can tell myself I lived a life as rich, exciting and fulfilling as the one he did.