"This is bizarre considering that, as we hit 40, many of my single friends seem much happier and fulfilled than most of my married friends. Many (not all) of my married friends, gay and straight, seem like they are stuck in a script they had to follow. Many seem to feel regret or wonder about what might have been.
This isn’t true for most of my single friends or me. We are largely still seeking and exploring (and often improvising) what the story of the script is. Opportunity still feels before us. We get to discover new authors and look at new art. And when Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter or Hurricane Sandy relief or the Trump resistance need our help, we have more space to dedicate to loving one another, ourselves and our community than many of my married friends.
This freedom can create a sense of being unmoored, but it contains great potential. We get to dream big, radical political dreams and work toward making them real without worrying about a mortgage. We get to risk loving in many ways, getting hurt and loving again."I actually do still have a dad, and I hope he's around for many more years. But I also just turned 43, and I keep waiting for some deeply visceral feeling in my gut to shout out for me to finally get married and have some kids. And as I get older, I realize that feeling was either going to manifest itself in my 30's or never at all.
For some background though, I have to admit that my marriage "role models" have been absolute shit. One of my earliest memories is that of my mom's father leaving my grandmother, recently diagnosed with cancer, for another woman across the country. My father's parents? I never even met them, although I know they had a very ugly divorce. My own parents? As ugly as it can get when I was in middle school.
Hell, my beloved dad managed to get divorced three times overall.
The point being, I've grown up with the mental category of marriage as something loving adults do that will ultimately end in disaster. No doubt that's part of the reason I'm still single. At the same time, I'm happy to encourage and support others to get married and start families (Weddings are fun! Your kids are super-cute, as long as they aren't having tantrums!) as long as they respect decisions I've made, quite consciously as a matter of fact.
It's all complicated I guess. I blame millennials. (Not really.)
Also, the argument that "not having children is selfish" positively mystifies me. What could possibly be more selfish than having kids when you don't really want them, let alone can't afford them?
Also, obligatory blog post title inspiration -- Philip Larkin, "This Be The Verse."