Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stop Making Sense

Brian was once my best friend, when I was in the 9th grade and he in the 8th. We live wildly different lives these days – he of the married variety and with four or five kids to his name – but he still manages to do the periodic checkup on me. Which means I no longer get the “gimme a diversion while I’m stuck in my daily commute” call. What I get instead is a standard call that I can now recite by memory. The questions are always the same. He’ll start by asking how my job is going, might ask a bit about the family, then ends it with whether or not I’m dating anybody. Typically the answer is no, to which he rants and raves about for his final 5-10 minutes, calling me out as the pickiest guy he knows. Why I couldn't just pick one after a few weeks and marry her already is simply beyond him. After all, it’s how his marriage worked and it ought to work for everybody the same way.

It was on one of these calls not too long ago that he yelled out, “I know why you’ll never get married! It’s because you like being single too much!” I’m not sure if it hit him like a bolt of truth lightning at the exact moment he said it or if he’d planned all along to pass that along. But I agreed with him. I’ve lived the single life longer than he has the husband-wife one. Dating is still as mysterious and thrilling as it is a chore and an aggravation. Nevertheless, I like to live in my head and enjoy the solitude living alone offers me. I don’t think he expected to hear my honesty, but it did shut him up. These are things I think about often. He probably didn’t expect that, either.

The mini-revelation I had today goes right along with that way of thinking: Being single forever and ever amen isn’t the worst way to go. This goes beyond just not preferring to get married, either. For years upon years, I didn’t much want to do it and passed it by the wayside. I didn’t even date, lest I accidentally trip and wind up in suburbia with a “Mr.” in front of my name. Now, remaining single seems more likely to be my turn of events. And I’m comforted by that possible future. I date now and again, but relationships are fewer and further between. I suppose I’m slowing down in that realm and becoming happier in my own skin. And that’s going to be all right.

There are women all around me who are anxious to begin a family and I commend that. But I’m not going to be talked into the idea just because I am the male part of that equation. This is no act of quiet defiance, just one of acceptance. If things happen, I will follow suit. But if they don’t – if I continue to live out my years with little or no marital changes – then that’s okay for this cowboy. I am happy getting along and learning and living. And no vows are going to change that.

This is not the popular stance to take, it’s true, but there it is regardless.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

ok, then. may not be popular but what you're preaching is valid advice for all, yeah? married, single and everything in between.

Rae said...

De-lurking for 2 quick thoughts....

1-You're right. Getting married isn't going to make a person more comfortable in their own skin. They gotta do that on their own. (hopefully before they drag someone else to the alter)

2- Eternity is too long a time to be stuck with someone you settled for.

sarahbellum said...

this really hit home. i think being single is quite rewarding. no remote control sharing required, and no one to hog the covers.

it's a good life.

Sherpa said...

A couple of days ago I found out a guy I've been dating on and off (I finally called it off for good about 4 months ago) for two years is seriously dating someone. I wondered about the path not taken, and then realized that I won't settle and thats why I stopped dating him in the first place. I'd rather be single than settle.

k8 said...

amen sherpa.

my mission president's marriage advice was "this is one decision you can be totally selfish about". i really believe that, no reason to just separate one from the herd and marry him when being single really isn't such a bad way to live.

aisy said...

i agree with so much of this post and the comments. there are some great things about being single...

but in those quiet moments of serious reflection i also believe that deep, intimate relationships can bring a greater understanding of ourself. i also think humans are relational beings... so while i am not actively seeking out a relationship (like you), i also think that i will miss out on something if i remain single my entire life.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to hear all this "I like being single bullsh*t" when Holiday time rolls around and there's no one to massage your feet after you come home from family Christmas dinner and tell you everything's okay because you can start your own family.

amelia said...

you know, i couldn't agree more with the being comfortable in your own skin, etc., etc., etc. i would *never* marry just to marry. and i'd rather gnaw off my own right arm than settle.

but really. being single is rewarding cause you don't have to share? or cause you can live in your head and enjoy your solitude (slightly better than not sharing the remote, but still essentially selfish)? marriage and family does not have to be death to reflection and solitude. nor does it have to be a sentence to suburban mr.-hood.

there is a reason that mormons believe marriage is a saving ordinance. and i think it has to do with learning to love others as you love yourself. something i personally believe one cannot completely do without marrying and having children. you can make a nice big start on it without those things. and you're right--there are much worse ways to go than being single. but the idea is not complacency. nor is the idea self-gratification. the idea is progressin, becoming god-like.

plus, i'm with cindy. there are just some things in life that are better when they're shared with someone you love.

end of rant.

Dainon said...

Thanks for all your thoughts, everybody. I didn't expect people to side one way or the other on this, but obviously it's a sensitive area for some. I was just glad that I finally felt like I'd reached the point I could get along on my own, end of story. It may or not always be that way, but for me personally? I'll get by splendidly, one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

I put my quotes around the wrong words in my comment.

Anonymous said...

I'm a huge advocate for being picky about the person you choose as a spouse. Of course, you can't expect a flawless spouse, but that's not the point. Being in a marriage that isn't working is horribly painful... far more painful than being single and looking.