in someone else’s life

So on my trip to work this morning, I picked up a copy of our local free newspaper, Red Eye, and found myself reading this article.  I didn’t finish it before I got to work due mostly to the need to walk without running into things (a daily challenge), but it’s been a very slow day, so I got to finish it this afternoon.  It’s a quick read and pretty well-written, so feel free to check it out.  But there was something in that article that really, really bothered me.

The first woman interviewed, a 25-year old wife and mother of three, is quoted as saying the following:  ‘I love my life.  I love my kids.  I love living like a grown-up.’

Well.

As I’ve written before, I know a lot of people in my age group who are getting married and having kids (not necessarily in that order or related to one another).  And, honestly?  That’s fine.  It’s your life, do what you want to with it.  Personally, I am WAY too young to get married and nowhere near a point in my life where I have any interest in procreation.  My cousin has a nine-month-old Winston Churchill impersonator and I am currently scheduled to attend five weddings this year.  I don’t need to go do this myself; there’s just not enough time.  But if you are in a time and place in your life where you believe you should get married and have kids, that’s just great.  Please don’t think this is me taking an issue with marriage.  I’m much less opposed to the idea now that I’m not anyone’s maid-of-honour.

Rather, what I take issue with is this woman’s assertion that her way of life is the ‘grown-up’ way.  A ring, children, and a house payment are what constitute adulthood.  I’m calling bull-hockey.

Let me tell you something, chick from newspaper article.

I could have gotten married right out of high school.  It’s true.  My high school girlfriend was planning on proposing to me.  And if I had known about this, I would’ve said yes because of the fact that I cared about her and wanted to make her happy.  I didn’t know about her proposal because, as fate would have it, I broke up with her a few days before she was planning to do the deed.  She was shocked to say the least.

Since that ill-fated almost-proposal six years ago, there have been a lot of things that have happened to me.  I moved away from home.  I got two BAs in four years.  I went into therapy…three times.  I got my heart broken five times.  I held my mother’s hand while she cried.  I picked up and moved to a city I couldn’t afford with little more than a suitcase full of clothes.  I lost two jobs and kept going, finally landing something full-time.  I talked a friend through another’s suicide.  I counselled marriages.  I saw concerts and world-premiere plays.  I risked things.  I figured stuff out.

I pay my own rent.  I buy my own groceries.  I support myself, albeit barely.  I donate to charities.  I help people out.  I do the best I can.

How is your life more ‘grown-up’ than mine?

Everyone’s path is different.  You can plan and scheme and do whatever you can to make life go the way you want it to, but you will never succeed.  You got engaged when you were nineteen.  At nineteen I was studying Medieval German.  No one’s accomplishments are better or more ‘adult’:  they’re just different. 

I used to judge people my age who got married.  I think I was just angered by the undeserved superiority — by the assumption that I wasn’t ready to grow up because I didn’t have a long-term boyfriend or girlfriend and I didn’t see this as a problem; that my lack of interest in buying a home was because I didn’t want to commit; I didn’t want to take care of anything other than myself.  I’ve made a commitment not to judge your life and your choices.  How dare you judge mine?

I really do want to get married someday.  I want to own my own place.  Probably not a house; they’re too expensive in the city.  But I’d like a condo at least, something with a lot of windows and its own washer and dryer.  I’d like to grow old with someone and get sick of them sometimes and tell them all of my secrets.  Maybe I’ll even have kids.  Who knows?  I’ve got most of 75 years to figure that stuff out.  But I’m not there yet.  And there is nothing wrong with that.

So you can keep your house in the suburbs, your husband, your two-and-a-half kids.  You can keep the Labrador Retriever that I’m sure you plan to have.  And your opinions of how I choose to be an adult?  You can keep those to yourself.

 

life’s like a movie:  write your own ending/keep believing, keep pretending/we’ve done just what we set out to do

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