A Generation of Closet Romantics

From the eyes of a reluctant Millennial

Pop culture has a difficult time defining my generation, too young to be part of Generation X, but not quite Generation Y (or a Millennial). Born in the 80s, but grew up in the 90s: I had missed disco by a couple decades, too young to have watched Degrassi Junior High before it went into syndication, and too old to appreciate the rise of commercially-made child pop stars such as Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber.

I am the generation of cynicism, the era of Nirvana and Alanis Morrissette in the 90s, the generation of Beverly Hills 90210 (before the remake) and the frail sarcasm and skepticism that makes us love geeky Seth in The O.C., bumbling J.D. in Scrubs, and even Screech in Saved by the Bell.

My generation of thirty-somethings uses cynicism like a foil, to hide the hope that lies beneath.

My generation did not have a chance at idealism unachieved, nor were we forced to forsake our idealism like our parents’ generation.

No, my generation is nostalgic and sentimental, and secretly romantic. My generation is quirky and desperate, using our cynicism to mask our deeper fears. We are far more hopeful than we’re willing to admit, and like lovable Jay in Kevin Smith’s films, we’re all closet romantics.

Rising from the rubble of our parents’ failed marriages, overdosed with consumerism, my generation of current 30-somethings continue to sprinkle sarcasm to cloak the fear of questions without easy answers. As some of us, parents today, look upon our children and wonder about their future, hoping desperately to prolong the notion of “growing up” for another moment, we find solace in navigating the same ambiguity of our history. And those of us, still finding our place of belonging, looking backwards to our hedonistic pasts, we bury deeper into our self-made armour — because acting like we’re bulletproof is the only way we know how to survive.

An easily amused writer. Fond of notebooks. Loves a good cup of tea. Musing about life, lessons, poetry, culture and leadership. https://campsite.bio/karenlam

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