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Photo by Tanja Heffner on Unsplash

I feel for this generation.

I come from a much cuddlier world, really. Gen X loves sex, especially now that many of us are approaching menopause — less pregnancy risk, bigger societal okays to do whatever (like marry my wife, so in my case NO pregnancy risk, hehehe), and most of us have already done our rounds with antidepressants (my brief experiences were with Prozac, which made me manic and was quit after a month of heavy drinking and sleeping around, and with LexaPro, which never had an effect on me in the slightest). These days yoga, decent food, sunlight and exercise work best for me, and believe me, I stress all the time. While millennials maybe walking around having identity crises and feeling like they’ll never move out of their parents’ basement unless they work so hard they don’t have time to live, I’m over here just trying to make sure we’ll figure out a way to grow old with a roof over our heads. In the meantime, this current generation is so starved for love, they pay people to cuddle with them. This is the world we live in.

Swiping people off a screen.

The concept of “dating” has changed, too. Online dating came about during my generation and while, if you have the time, it can be fun to go on what are essentially blind dates with people who may share a common interest, Tinder, we often find, is kind of a joke.

Self Esteem

As we get older, we’re a little less self-conscious about some wrinkles, some gray, some extra lumps, whatnot. I’ve got a great and regular yoga practice and exercise regularly, but things just aren’t, and won’t ever be the same after pregnancy, breastfeeding, and a some hormone changes as my body prepares to give up the idea of babies for good (thank you, body! been there, done that, all good). At a certain point when dogs, kids, and living in the woods enter the picture, for example, you just kind of have to give up on the whole sterile, whitewashed “perfect photographic life” portrayed on Instagram. Filters, people, filters. Filters hide the zits of reality.

Spiritual Practice

My generation is absolutely about the soul. We had time to experience some profound wildness and exploration before the need for every action of our lives to be commercially viable kicked in. We no longer feel so immortal. Some of our friends are seeing the onset of more serious health issues at this stage of our lives, and so we’re also seeing what real partnership can offer; “in sickness and in health” takes on a lot more meaning when you’re living the first part together. So does cleaning out the storage unit, or dealing with the incontinent, now-old dog you got together when you were young and living in sin. Living in a phenomenally-overpriced 400 square foot studio apartment alone might be appealing while you’re busy chasing a career and forgetting about life, but eventually, the whole concept of growing old, alone, while staring at four walls, can be enough to drive someone to antidepressants. Okay, I get that. This is where spiritual practice comes in.

Unawareness of Bliss

I had my daughter with a young man who offered me his seed to do so (yes, this happens), and I married for the first and only time, at 43. Having lived an incredibly different and independent life for so long, it’s been an adjustment, to be sure — but it turns out that sex with someone you really, really love, and who really, really knows how your body works, and who is really, really down for trying out new things, is way better than anything I ever found on Tinder or at a bar, and the constant work and maintenance of the commitment we have made to each other, yeah — what a royal pain in the ass, to be sure, but… on the other hand, we grow together, and we find profound healing in revealing to each other those things we’ve kept hidden. The vulnerability found in that process is what really deepens a relationship, but yeah, it’s scary as shit getting there.

Compulsive storyteller. Ada Comstock Scholar at Smith College.

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