Now we can add "quarter-life crisis" to a list of millennial complaints that would have sounded unintelligible to every generation before ours.This phrase has been around for a couple of decades now, at least. But OK.
It seems that a lot of people my age are feeling lost, confused, stagnate, bewildered. They are unsatisfied with their lives and unsure of how they might find satisfaction. They have spent their young adulthood pursuing their own interests and pleasures and now they have little to show for it. They don't know what they can or should do to find fulfillment.I didn't have these problems. My life was pretty good before I got married.
May I make a suggestion?
Get married and have kids.
Dr. Laura is correct when she advises people not marry until their late 20s.
My generation has unfortunately bought into the lie that young adulthood should be a time of intense self-centeredness.Is there a better time for that?
We believe that the best strategy is to whittle away our young and energetic (and fertile, by the way) years, pursuing only what immediately pleases us.I was working my rear off, literally, during those years. And guess what, Walsh? Most people shouldn't have kids, but if they are going to take on parenting, one child is enough. Certainly three is. And most people can easily have three children in their 30s.
We've decided that our twenties are a time for relaxation, vacation, and recreation.Right. You're not going to be doing a lot of that once you marry and have children.
But this is the lifestyle of the old and the dying, not the young and the vibrant.Uh, no. It is much harder to relax, vacation, and enjoy recreation when you're in constant pain and have failing joints and organs.
We want to live like we're retired before we actually have anything to retire from.You write that like these people will be retiring. A lot of them won't. I know I'm going to have to work a lot later in my life because I married and had children.
We are immature and narcissistic, so the idea of "wasting" our youth on a family is repulsive to us. We'd rather waste it on "fun."Darn you people who want to have fun! You should spend your time changing dirty diapers. It's so fulfilling!
Then out of nowhere a decade passes and the fun isn't so fun anymore.Many people would disagree. People usually find different ways of having fun, new friends, more places to travel, more activities to try, etc., and they can if they don't have to defer to a nagging, demanding spouse and a school schedule.
We haven't grown at all.What does this even mean?
We are still living like teenagers but we do not look like teenagers.You'll look at lot younger than someone who's dealing with a shrew and little hellions.
We have dedicated our lives to empty things and now we feel empty.Walsh wants you to believe that being a free man is "empty". The only way you can be "full" is to be an indentured servant. It's a mere assertion. Many people experience differently.
Maybe Walsh has no imagination and can't think of what he's be doing if he didn't have an endless list of demands from a wife, but other people have plenty to do without having to attend school fundraisers. Most men shouldn't marry.
We have been treading water, afraid to actually swim in one direction or another, and now we are tired and there is no land in sight.There's plenty of direction, and plenty of people heading in directions, other than signing a bad legal contract with a woman and popping out copies.
But there is good news. We are not in the position of many Baby Boomers who have lived shallow lives for 65 years, and today look around to find themselves alone and miserable and nearing death.
We are still young and there is time to correct our course.The correct course, for most men at least, is to remain free.
We can finally enter the next stage of human life, put the ways of childhood behind, and find our purpose in giving rather than taking.You've got to be kidding me. I was able to give far more before I married. There's plenty of purpose to be found that doesn't involve an aging shrew or difficult kids.
That's what marriage and family life does for a person.That's what it might do for some people.
It forces you to revolve your life around someone else's needs and interests for a change.Yes, indeed, it forces.
Your life must be centered around the Other, not around the Self. And in the process you discover a deeper joy and meaning in life; a joy and meaning that comes from loving something beyond yourself.Sure, Jan.
Of course, it's true that a person can get married and have kids and still be selfish and immature.But other people should have to be punished with that because you want them to marry and pop out babies.
Most of those miserable and lonely Baby Boomers had kids and spouses.Like I said.
But they were never able to come out of themselves and focus on anyone else's needs but their own, so their marriages fell apart and their kids learned to resent them.Ah yes... guys, if a woman screwed you over, aided and abetted by the family laws and courts and general misandry, it must have been because you were selfish! There can't be any other explanation! I sure hope Walsh's wife never leaves him.
I grew up with many kids whose parents were like this — materialistic, self-obsessed, manipulative — and now those kids are grown and want nothing to do with their parents. Many of them want nothing to do with marriage at all, because the only example ever provided to them was disastrous.Most marriages are failures.
That's one thing missing from the discussion about the millennial generation: they are afraid of adulthood because, in many cases, their parents were so unbelievably terrible at it.Recognizing a bad deal isn't the same as being afraid. Adulthood can be mastered without marriage or parenthood.
Even if they never learned how to be mature and generous people, that doesn't mean you can't learn. And learning, for many of us, must involve marriage.For almost none of them must it involve marriage.
There is this idea that a person should become completely mature first, and then move forward with starting a family.Generally, the best chance of a marriage lasting is when it is entered into later than the mid-20s.
But I'm not aware of a single person who ever did it that way.You're very sheltered.
Talk to anyone who has been married for several years. They will all say that they were immature and clueless when they first walked down the aisle.I wasn't immature. I was clueless in that I had no idea I was being subjected to a huge fraud. Getting married was the biggest mistake of my life.
They had so much to learn about being an adult, and they learned it through marriage and parenthood. They could not really have learned it any other way.
This is the great Catch-22. You cannot become the sort of person suited for marriage until you have married.This is ridiculous. This is the kind of thinking that leads people to marry someone who won't be a good spouse or parent and justify it with "I thought they would change and step up to the plate!"
When you start a family, you are faced with a choice: either embrace the fact that your whole life must now be lived in service to your spouse and children, or refuse to embrace it and hold tightly onto your old way of doing things.Translation: You can either spend your live doing things other people want you to do, or do things you want to do. Gee, what a tough choice!
Choose the latter and everything will soon explode in a ball of flames, and you'll certainly be a lot more miserable than you were before.This is hysterical! He either doesn't believe there are free men out there who are happy, or he doesn't want you to believe there are.
But choose the former and you will be nothing less than transformed.Oh, I've been transformed all right. I have less financial stability, my faith life is suffering, my friendships and family connections have been severely limited, I'm not nearly as good in my profession as I used to be, I'm far less healthy.
I realize that not everyone is called to marriage.
Some are called to ministries that preclude family life.Catholic, I'm sure.
There are responsible young adults, even deeply religious, who either do not feel compelled to marry or recognize that they are not prepared to be a good spouse. Saying "Oh, you'll grow to become a good spouse!" is like saying "Oh, go ahead and jump off of the diving board. The pool isn't full now, but we'll add water before you land." NO THANKS!!! Many of these people are dealing with student debts, difficulty in completing their education, a lack of housing they can afford that's close to school or where they can get a good job, and a workplace that is undergoing disruption. Unless you want them to be government-dependent for most of their life, it's a bad idea to tell them to get married and start reproducing.
Walsh, if you're truly happily married and in fatherhood, good for you. I hope it stays that way. And good for you for making it at a commentator. Relatively few people can make a living, much less support a family, writing columns or doing podcasts. If you stay gainfully employed and happily married, you're going to be in a minority that will get much smaller over the next couple of decades. And for most people who are in the same position, it isn't simply a matter of getting married and having children.
Most men should aspire to being a responsible free man.