Our previous generations were raised by humans. Their intellectual and emotional mass got cultivated by those breathing, thinking people — in person — who themselves had pre-established limits for everything in their worlds. Dreams, ambitions, hopes, aspirations — all fragments of their lives grew inside restricting — or perhaps, simpler — cocoons. They walked on the walked paths. Finding one partner and spending lives together was also all they knew about love.
With us, we were raised more by devices than by our parents. We found bigger, glitzier worlds on phones and computers than our parents could ever offer. We began feeling differently from them and the generations that have come before because the internet nurtured a different universe for us — with different landscapes and different skies. Suddenly, our experiments with vastness became a function of a few clicks and taps. Possibilities mirrored endlessness, and we realised we could do anything in this alien, unfathomable space.
Then, no subject was ever forbidden online. Sex, love, dating, relationships — the internet shattered societal façades by fetching answers to our questions (and of those unasked), gave flight to our whims, got us giddy. There were more people online than those around. We could pick our ‘selection of people’ and talk to several of them at once, hide behind the screens when we wanted to, and they could only know what they were told. Our thoughts, too, began wandering to that ‘possibly better’ who could be right around — for whom we readily abandoned the ‘good’ we had.
While we built our new, juxtaposing reality, we learnt how even in our most intimate decisions, choices were unlimited. We learnt we had ‘options’ — so many that they became disorienting, instilling deeper insecurities more effectively. Being the first internet generation, the newfound perpetuity of alternatives wobbled us off our feet, and we spiralled down the labyrinths of confusion without the maps curated by history. With so much to take from, we took nothing. The ants of loneliness smelled us from afar and crept up our bodies, shaking us with fear and panic. Ours were the first fingerprints on the new glass sheet of the universe — evidence of a new kind of loneliness.
Options distorted our worths in our own eyes. When encountered with love, our bodies’ defence systems spewed suspicion and alarm. Knifed esteem can force love to disguise as pity. We then began running away, too afraid to confront the consequent hopelessness. Eventually, running tired us. So, we caged ourselves in infinity.
We weep for love and yet refuse to unlock the doors when it is right outside. Its mere presence fills our hearts. As long as it is there, outside — knocking, waiting — we feel safe. When it stops, we crumble — because the choice to hide from love is snatched and tossed away from us.
We are an unfortunate generation of lonely people disabled by choices, gulping down anxieties every minute, who find it hard to find love, be in love.