Are You There, Values? It’s Me, Millennial

Someone much wiser than me once told me that I should look for a partner who shares my values, and I thought yes of course…and then I panicked.

What are my values?

I’ve never been particularly religious; I believe in being kind to others, but I’ve never formally taken up a cause; and the last thing I felt strongly about was how woefully uninformed the public seems to be about MSG (it occurs naturally in tomatoes!). What I’m trying to say is, I’m not sure if there are any principles or beliefs that I truly hold sacred.

Like so many other moments of clarity throughout my 20’s, my first thought was, “Maybe it’s a millennial thing!” Meaning, perhaps I’m not the first under-35 year old to have a crisis of conscience over this issue. (See, the great thing about our generation is that we have an uncanny ability to share issues and hang ups). I know, I hate the M-word too, but it’s a question worth considering: Are millennials, or Gen-Xers for that matter, less value-oriented?

According to the Pew Research Center, our generation is self-expressive and less likely to be religious. We have tattoos, piercings and our Twitter profiles are set to “private.” Oh, and we’re educated, too.

Could this confluence of feeling-all-the-feelings expression and higher education have contributed to a generation of value-starved individuals?

This is of course a gross exaggeration, as I’m sure there are plenty of 25 year olds out there who would stick-to-their-guns over some very big, important issues. But let’s talk about those of us who are still deciding which values to swipe right on, so to speak.

Once I started reading and thinking about values, I realized I may actually have a few of my own. For example, one of the things that’s very important to me is the pursuit of a purpose-driven, challenge-filled life. Which may explain how I went from dreaming of being a reporter, to attending culinary school, to working in public relations. Each of these things, at one point in time, filled me with passion, drive and…purpose. Maybe that’s a value that’s important to me, and, perhaps I should be dating more men who fill their lives with purpose.

What a great exercise – to consider what’s truly important to oneself. Another much wiser person (read: Dad) once told me that self-awareness is one of the most important qualities a person can have. He constantly encouraged me to look within, to check in on myself – Am I happy? Am I challenged? Am I “planing up”?

We could all afford to look inwards a little more often, don’t you think? TC mark


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