As a twenty-two year old millennial there are a lot of things I am tired of being told and called. I’m bored of the lazy and entitled trope that has become so overused that it is almost ironic. I am done with the social media bashing. I am over the abstract molds we’re suppose to fit within, and finished with the overgeneralizing and the stereotyping. I’m tired of being a millennial, not because I believe I was born in the wrong era–which I do but that’s for another time–but because I’m tired of being told I’m doing it wrong.
And in particular, I am tired of being told I am wrong about love. I am twenty-two and I am in a truly wonderful relationship with a man whom I couldn’t adore more. And if someone isn’t telling me that I am too young to be in love and that your twenties aren’t the time for a relationship and that I need to give myself a chance to meet other people, then they are nodding their heads silently and thinking it.
More often than not, someone who knows neither myself nor my boyfriend well, let alone our relationship, has told me upon finding out my current relationship status that I shouldn’t be in a relationship right now-–that I am too young and have too much to experience in the way of new people and places.
Putting aside the fact that they are suggesting that my path toward self-actualization and maturation is at all associated with how many people I’ve been with romantically, and that in order to experiences new places that I must be unattached and single, they are making a generalization about what is probably the most personal and unique feeling that humans have the capacity for: love.
I have been with my boyfriend for almost two years now. The way he never forgets to take my earrings out before I fall asleep, and brings over a new book when I’ve had a horrible day, or shares his hash browns after I insisted on substituting mine with tomatoes, or drafts countless cover letters with me at 3 in the morning, or calls my mom on her birthday and just to say hi, or who reads over every article I write, or who makes me laugh without words and dance without music, and who really truly understands my particular brand of crazy–that all feels a lot like love to me.
And let’s be honest–being twenty-two isn’t exactly easy. So why would anyone want to end something that not only makes the banalities of day-to-day life tolerable, but enjoyable? Like the age-old adage goes: if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. And my relationship is not broken, so why would I would change or fix it? He makes me inexorably happy and that alone is enough to convince me that we are partaking in a good thing.
I am not saying that I personally am ready to tie the metaphorical knot, but let me be the last to judge someone at any age who is ready. Love looks, feels, acts, functions, and appears differently to everyone. And I strongly believe that love doesn’t become any more or less legitimate or real at a certain age. Sure, it grows and evolves and is strengthened with time, but there is no minimum age from which it can begin.
Right now, I couldn’t be happier with where I am in love. My boyfriend challenges me everyday to be the best iteration of myself, and he is my champion when being my best self is trying. He supports my ambition to be a writer, appreciates my hopes to move to Paris, understands my unstable odd demeanor, and accepts all my anxieties and idiosyncrasies. And so far, going through the ups and downs has taught me more about life than a million dates with a million different men in, yes, a million different places.
And at twenty-two who could ask for more? But that’s my experience and my relationship, as aforementioned I understand that mine is wildly different from those of others. I am merely defending the young love as I’ve come to know it.