The word “commitment” does not belong to this generation. We no longer know what the word means. Why should we? We can order up a date like we would order sushi. If a date doesn’t work out on Friday, we can swipe left instead of right and try again on Saturday night, with no harm, no foul. We no longer know intimacy because we no longer make an effort to know the people we spend time with. And just like the video killed the radio star… the Internet killed romance (well… the Internet or Disney… take your pick).

If and when we do choose to be with someone… to make an effort… we still find ourselves scanning the crowd… the lineup… the bar… for another option. This is what we are all about… OPTIONS. Instant gratification. We think having OPTIONS is a good thing.  Never before have we been more knowledgeable, more aware of the world around us, more capable of doing the things we need to do… but really… our choices are killing us. Choices my loverlies… are giving us a watered down reality, and like a beautiful abstract painting… the lines between reality and fantasy are so blurred we can’t tell them apart. We no longer notice what is sitting or standing right beside us… we pass over what might be the perfect option – because there are so many other options… we are afraid we might miss a better one.

Everything has become disposable. If it is difficult, hard, stressful, work… we discard it. Why shouldn’t we… when there has to be an option out there that is less difficult, or hard? There is nothing that teaches us perseverance anymore. Why work at something? There will always be someone or something else is calling out to us that they are the easier… better… faster… prettier model?  We sit on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and see the life we COULD have. See the places we are not traveling too. See the lives we aren’t living. See the people we aren’t dating. Our brains and hearts are bombarded with input, false expectations, and instant gratification – that is naïve and false and dangerous.  Then we wonder why we are dissatisfied; with ourselves and with the people we consider dating. This generation no longer has the capacity to see what is right in front of them, just what isn’t.

The inability to commitment is leaving us hopeless. Even if we find love… even if we find that person who loves us, and we love in return… the moment we say I love you…. we begin living the “I love you” for others. We tell people we are in a relationship on Facebook. We throw up our #coupled up #selfies on Twitter feeds and Instagram. We start “#weeingalloverourselves“, and begin living our relationship for everyone else.7 We make it shiny and happy and glittery, like a highlight reel is supposed to be. We make sure we don’t write about the fights, or the tears or the pain, that love can cause. This is not what we share. Glam pics, happy couple, love and life is perfect. And as we post our own highlights, we watch the highlights of other couples and because of our human nature… we begin to compare. Do we measure up? Are we good enough? Are we the best? Are we living the best life possible for everyone to see? We calculate, and observe and soon enough we are living in despair because our expectations are impossible, because the life we think people live outside of social media is in fact IMPOSSIBLE. We will never be good enough, because perfect social media life… simply doesn’t exist. These relationships aren’t real…. We know it in our mortal souls and yet we can’t believe it because we can see it! And we want it!  And we all know that we want what we can’t have and we will make ourselves hopelessly miserable until we get it. Sadly, this is just one of this generations many flaws alongside absolute faith in the media… giving celebrities god-like status and a warped sense of expectation and self entitlement.

Our relationship never measures up… and so we end it. We aren’t what we thought we were going to be. We are living with a stranger because we thought we knew everything about the person from a profile page, and when it came time to learn the real them, we were already exploring other options. OPTIONS. And the cycle begins again…. Swipe… swipe… swipe… order sushi to our door… good morning… couple selfie… shiny… happy… couple… compare… compare… compare… The inevitable creeping in of latent, subtle dissatisfaction… the arguments…. the fights… the isolation… “Something is wrong, but I don’t know what it is”. “This isn’t working”. “I need something more”. Finished. Another love is lost… another graveyard of shiny happy selfies.

On to the next. Chasing that elusive perfection… searching for the “ungettable get”. The next fix. The next gratification, which fills that empty void that might actually be where your mortal soul should be… but instead we think it is void because we haven’t found that perfect person yet. Living our lives in 140 characters… 5 second snaps… frozen filtered images… attention here… getting attention there… We are an illusion.  Even to ourselves. We worry about settling… that anything less then the shiny, happy filtered life we have become accustomed to, is settling. What is settling? We don’t know… but we don’t want people to perceive we are doing it.  We don’t fucking want it. If your relationship isn’t perfect… you are settling… if it isn’t glittery love… it is settling. If it isn’t an epic adventure of travel… new places… new things… high mountains… deep ravines and things that score us a 100 likes in a photo-by-photo finish… we simply do not want it.

For those hippy, granola types that aren’t tapped into the needs created by social media, you think you are immune.  You are not.  Indeed, the wants and needs of this 9generation have been ruined by the Internet… but more then that, they have been ruined by the fact that we have been raised to believe that we can do anything we want to do.  Go anywhere we want to go.  Be anything we to be… etc, etc. This ridiculous culture driven biased, has led us to believe in unthinkable heights – and with it comes the pre-conditioning that we are “never there yet”. So don’t worry gypsy kings, who think you are going untouched… are not cliché… are not about the hype…  surprise!  You are living right there in the moment with the rest of us. Only instead of chasing social status… you call it being “restless”… in need of a “walkabout” … feeling “suffocated”… Name it what you want… at the end of the day we are all saddled with the inability to see what is right in front of us.  We must have, OPTIONS.

As we get older, as we spend more time alone, or more time with the wrong person – looking for the right one; we begin to realize that this MORE we are craving is a generational lie. As humans, what we really desire, what we really need in order to have fulfillment is face time, touching, intimacy, and simplicity.  It is not the more… but the less that we need.  This crazy life validation we chase, of likes… swipes… favorites and comments, is impossible and lonely… and false. Our generation has no clue what a simple connection is anymore.  Although this generation has been raised without the moral guides and compasses of our grandparents… that need still exists… because true companionship is what separates us from the rest of the mammals on this planet. It is what makes us human. We want a love that builds, not a life that gets discarded because the OPTIONS seem greener… brighter… or more beautiful. We want to walk a path with someone, we want to live our lives with SOMEONE… someone who knows us inside and out… someone who sees the flaws not just the profile picture… and is still willing to lay their head down on a pillow with us and call us home. At the end of the day we want someone to wrap their arms around us, and share the comfort that comes from body to body contact that isn’t a one night stand… or that won’t be compared to a movie… a moment on Facebook or a poster seen on a wall. We want trust and acceptance. This is what we want even if we don’t know it. This is what we NEED, even if we can’t show it… This is our human nature.

Working hard at being human,

Franki Figgs

~All artwork owned and distributed by Zac Retz