The Demise of Singledom
The other night I attended a party for two friends. Actually, to be quite honest, they were not so much my friends as they were my 20 year-old sister’s friends. I was hands down the oldest one there. Now, usually age doesn’t bother me as much. I know I am older than most my friends; my best friend is 7 years younger than me but we get along amazingly. I think at some point in my 20’s I started hanging out with those younger than me because everyone my age grew up too fast. I think back to my early 20’s and can recall how many of my friends got married. They started their lives as wives and mothers, and at some point we drifted apart. Or more accurately, I drifted away. I just didn’t find anything in common with them anymore. It’s like they had their new lives to live, and a single girl has no place in that world.
Now, I love all my married friends. I am happy that they are happy. At some point, though, our lives became very different. They have obligations and responsibilities. Not to say that I don’t, but my life differs greatly. I can plan a night out with the only factor to consider is my work schedule, while they have to check with their spouses and line up babysitters. And even if they do end up going out, they are ready to leave before the night has begun.
Marriage changes people. Some people may think it is for the best, that their life can now truly begin. But the only thing I have ever seen is that it beats and wears down a person. All of a sudden, your life is second to your husband and kids. You think of their needs before your own. And while this selflessness can seem honorable, too often it causes resentment. You get no time to yourself. And at some point along the way, you forget who you once were.
I guess on some level, I have always resented the institution of marriage because it changes a person. A man can be perfectly wonderful, but as soon as he is a husband, he changes. When he becomes a father, he changes. A woman can be fun and outgoing, but as a wife and mother she is subdued. It could be because your single years are reserved for your fun side, while getting married is the milestone that requires you to settle down. It just amazes me how dramatically different people can become.
So, back to the party. I sat there, looking at all these young girls and wondering at what stage in life they were. Most of them were in school still, and I could tell a lot of them were still trying to figure their life out. I miss those days of trial and error, of trying to decide who I was. I wish I could have imparted some wisdom on them, but who would listen to an almost 30 year-old unmarried girl who was at a party for a 22 year-old anyways?
If I could give them advice, it would be this: Live your life. Enjoy every moment of your singledom. No matter how much we don’t want it to, marriage will change us. If I would have known that this was inevitable back when I started my search for a partner, I would have accepted those terms by now. But I lived my life thinking I could always stay the same even after marriage, and so my few attempts at a union failed partly due to the fact that I never wanted to change.
I love my freedom. A little too much. I am afraid that this is what will hold me back from ever having a husband and a family. Some may say I am not mature enough to handle the responsibility of marriage because I think this way. I like to think that I am mature enough because I realize that I think this way, and I will not subject anyone to live with it.