Dear Parents and Elders,

A letter to my parents and many others in older generations

There are two phrases I know I don't say to you enough. One of said phrases is easier to speak, yet regrettably and neglectfully underused in my conversations with you. The other phrase is, well it's complicated for me to utter, so I ask for your forgiveness if I occasionally stutter through.

So… might as well say the complicated first. I’ve wracked and rewritten this little bit in my brain numerous times because I continue to find these words, not necessarily bitter to swallow. Just... although there is acknowledgement in certain shortcomings of my own devices, I don’t want it misconstrued that I am ashamed of the way my life is being written.

1) I’m Sorry

First, I acknowledge apologies need to be made. And, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, first and foremost from the deepest depths of my heart and soul, I'm sorry if you have felt a cold rift drift between us. I'm sorry if you feel that chill has formed into an icy wall. That was not nor has ever been my intention at all.

It's just I don't always know how to talk or relate to you, because as I continue watching the years pass me by, I'm finding myself and other Gen Y's facing problems beyond what you might be willing to comprehend. That's not meant to undermine your struggles. You've been busting your ass and hoping love'll overcome in the end. I'm sorry so much you held close has been upended. You've put up with so much. I mean, just growing up, you've watched President's get shot or resign, your rock idols die, horrible atrocities happen both at home and abroad; even in schools and in cults, wars on repeat in the gulf. You've seen political and religious scandals slam into news cameras in addition to trying to get a handle on the rise of all this technology. You've seen what we've seen, and then some! So it's no wonder you'd be a little jumpy at the sound of thunder or scared that at any moment a family could be torn asunder. It feels like one thing after another, from endless world wars to explosions of porn to military weaponry in the streets to corrupt police, to terrorists in planes and guns in schools and churches and at the movies. And this is on top of all the rapid changes in technology, not to mention our ability to instantly Google morsels of truth. It's a lot. You might even say it's too much to keep up with. Hell, that feeling is even creeping in on me a little bit.

I get it. And again, I'm sorry. I'm sorry it's been a rough journey for a simple, white-picket fenced life courtesy of the American dream. I'm sorry life is overwhelming. I understand you'd prefer to read simple, easily identifiable rules and see simple, identifiable boundaries sewn into the seams of this great American tapestry. You were told that all you need is just a little piece of land to own for peace of mind inside a humble home. But things kept happening you didn't expect, and I suspect it's become perplexing to continuously feel mired in choices less than ideal. It's understandable that you might feel a little afraid, and that's perfectly ok. The times, as they do, are always a changin'.

But I'm sorry that, despite what you've seen, I don't see the monsters you see.

I understand that your occasional helicopter ways came from a place of love. But let's be honest, at times it was a little messed up. That's nothing against you. We're all human, and you didn't always know what to do or say, so you came up with creative ways to explain or hide certain truths. In the beginning, we trusted you, but once we became old enough to use computers, go online &/or college and learn to find the facts then how to act on them. Once once we got degree that you told us we needed we came to see that the food for thought you fed us was rather unhealthy. Ultimately, rightly or not, we came to trust you less because in the end it just so happened that you were sharing fake news.

And I'm sorry that the institutions you helped build are leaving everyone unfulfilled. I'm sorry the food isn't what it was or for the surplus in prices going up on everything except our wages. I know back in your day you could get around with a thousand or two. It's just unfortunate that today it barely is enough for rent and food. I'm sorry it may seem like I'm not working as hard as you, in your eyes my eyes are merely glued to screens, when in reality I'm either blowing off some steam or applying for a job, indeed.

And I'm sorry if you feel offended we're not walking on the same, safe paths you paved for me. I couldn't abide taking another step. That's partially why I left to wanderlust around the world; because I felt there was more to life than college, job, home, wallet and girl. Life should be a dance, not a march.

I'm sorry. I know you worked hard, with your heart, to see me get a better start in life than you did. That's every parent's mantra for their kid, I get it. And I can never forget how you helped me grow, how you you did what was best at the time. But, after a while, the spices of life begin growing insipid when you insist that I should stay on the safe paved path, even after encouraging me to be my own person.

I'm sorry if it hurt when I decided to leave for Egypt or tango through Toronto. Please know, I'm sorry for any pain or confusion caused, not because I went. There is a difference, and sometimes it feels like you'd rather I repent instead of continuing (sharing) my adventures (with you). But honestly, we both know that's something I cannot do. And I'm sorry for that too. Look, I admit, maybe I haven't always been the most obedient and disciplined, and I am sorry I can not always take your guidance.

But I'm not sorry I try to strive for something higher than simply falling in line and living life with my head down and under the radar. I'm not sorry I decided to live a life of following my heart, and whatever dreams it seems compelled to chase! I'm not sorry I like writing poetry. I'm not sorry I decided to explore the world instead of stay boxed in to a system that doesn't fit a snowflake shape like me. I'm not sorry I don't have a lot of money.

I'm not sorry I am not only living for me. By this I mean that I've learned from your pasts; the lapsed dreams and burning passions extinguished drives me even more to yearn of another path. So, sorry not sorry I'm living for a still born older brother who never experienced a single breath outside. I'm sorry not sorry I'm also living for a mother who was told she couldn't do anything with an art therapy degree. I'm sorry not sorry I'm living for my father, whose youth was a revolving door of different schools, yet nearly robbed by an abusive father and then later Scientology. I'm not sorry I'm living life for those who would rather walk a precious paved path, yet dream of feeling the grass beneath their feet.

I'm not sorry my stories and words might be heard by others who may also feel like leaving the confines of your paved path where everyone repeats the false mantra of "everything is fine." Many of us in Generation Y just can't confine ourselves to such a lifestyle. We've tried.

This doesn't mean we won't ever be back, just that we're now old and bold enough to chart our own dirt roads. I'm sorry if in our haste to create we smudged your rose colored glasses or left a bitter taste in your mouth. I regret if you've felt neglected. Again, there is no disrespect, it's just we have to be a bit more selective in the times we can opine with you about the past due to all the things we're moving through, not to mention managing our own complicated lives.

But I sometimes get the sense that life has incensed a frustration within you, which to an extent, I can see why. While many may feel it is my weirdo millennial generation and I that are entitled, I find there are times when you might feel we are obligated to love and communicate with you in specific ways. But I want you to know I don’t feel like we owe you anything. Yes, you gave us life, but respect, trust and presence are earned, not obliged or entitled. We talk when we can. It might not always feel like enough but we’ll be damned if we don’t try.

2) You Are Loved

Having said all this, it’s important for you to know that I love you. It should go without saying. Yet, I know I haven’t told you enough. And I know of your love for me too. It’s here, please, where at least we can start from a heart shaped place of recognition. You know my face; an amalgam of your genetic algorithms.

Above anything else, I want you to know that I am grateful that you have had a hand in raising me. People seem to believe that I am a fine young man, and, I try my best to treat most people with respect, which is more than I can say for some people, like the 45th president. Now, I know, I know… you have your reasons for supporting him. I don’t want to get into speculation or lecturing mode because I know that isn’t gonna change your thoughts at the polls. It’s just one of those things where... I don’t know… something about him feels wrong, feels off. And I wonder if it’s because you feel lost or are simply exhausted over lifetimes of promises tossed away, therefore glossing over unflattering aspects of this president. I get he makes you feel loved, feel important in the way he purports to care about the country and working class first.

It’s just, to us it feels like all he’s saying are empty words, and we’d hate to see your bubble burst like it did back in 2007–2008.

It’s no secret that our generations don’t always see eye to eye, but despite my generations knack for killing industries and yours for killing lots of trees... I know that, and I hope you do too, that we will always, most assuredly love you, no matter what. But, that doesn’t mean we won’t push back if we feel there’s a lack of understanding, empathy, respect or compassion. Love is a two way street, and it doesn’t mean we always have to agree on everything or else we’re the enemy. But let’s at least be real, it’s hard to hear or heal when we’re the first generation to be worse for the wear than our parents. Again, we know you care, it’s just sometimes there’s this Christmas vacation bumbling fix-it clown aspect that we abjectly object, since it’s not helping anyone when shit’s got to get done.

I’m sorry we haven’t stepped up to fix up the one industry that seems to scare you the most; death. I’m sorry many advertisers don’t view you as a viable demographic, not that it matters, but still I recognize our culture doesn’t roll out the red carpet for the old.

We love you, truly and wholly we do, it’s just ... sometimes love involves telling the absolute truth. And there are some paths we refuse to go down with you. There are some roads we know will lead to ruin and perdition! And we would hate to see you keep truckin' down those same roads when we know there’s one of those dramatic cliffs that leads to an endless pit for all to fall into.

Like I said, we don’t want that for you. But, if you feel that strongly about following your own paved path into that ... whatever is at the end, then we kindly ask you to stop feeling offended when we decline your invitation to continue. Again, we will still and always love you, but we’re old enough to move in a different direction. Perhaps, in your minds that path we continue to pave leads to a similar place we feel you might be headed.

While nobody for sure can say where these two divergent roads could go, it seems as though it may be time for both sides to say goodbye and find out what lies on each perspective’s side. While it would be nice to come to some compromise, it feels as though there is a widening divide between the priorities and goals of your generation and mine. It might be for the best before there is much unrest and things are said either side might regret.

Again, this does not mean we do not love and/or respect the choices you’ve made that brought us here thus far. But, I think it’s time we started following our heart on our path. Our memories and our love for you will always last. Maybe someday again we can have a few drinks, have a few laughs. But in order for us to live happy and healthy lives like you wanted since we were but twinkles in your eyes, I think sometimes we have to let the past die and allow our paths to diverge for a while.

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