Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop #4: Single White Female

It's been a while since I've participated in Mama Kat's writing challenge, but I really liked her prompts for this week.

The prompt that most spoke to me was:
2.) A list of things you no longer have in common with your married/child bearing friends…and why you love them anyways.

Oooooh boy, I could write a novel about this (but I won't). It's very interesting - there was a shift about a year or two ago and all of a sudden everyone I know was either living with a significant other, engaged or pregnant. As someone who was not even contemplating any of these things, this "shift" was completely baffling to me.

I mean I was (and still am) very happy for these friends, of course, and excited for them to be entering a new stage in life. But on the other hand, it made me think to myself: "We're only 23/24?! We're not adults yet!! When did this happen?!". Now I'm very mature for my age and always have been, so being afraid of "growing up" shouldn't really be an issue for me (I grew up a long time ago in actuality), but for some reason things like moving in, getting married and having kids were very "adult" things in my mind and so it was hard to reconcile that my friends, who were younger than me and still (like me) figuring out who they were, were all of a sudden being "adults".

When this shift happened, I felt like there was something wrong with me, like if everyone else is doing these things than I should be too and WHY aren't I?! It can be very lonely when everyone you are close to has a companion to go take trips with and a date for Christmas parties. I'm one of the only ones in my core group of friends who is single and also lives alone, so there's no way avoiding at least occasionally feeling like a 3rd or 5th wheel. That's not fun.

But for the most part, I love my single life. I love having complete freedom and independence, and to be able to go where I want, when I want and not have to answer to or consult anyone. I could take off for another country tomorrow if I wanted to and I wouldn't have to worry about cutting attached strings, and that's a wonderful thing.
 
However, it's very frustrating not being able to relate to my friends like I used to. Not only are most of them attached, but they all want to get married and start having kids before 30 (if they haven't done this already); they want to settle down and buy a house in the suburbs and have a regular 9-5 existence. They want to stay in and have games nights instead of going out dancing or to concerts. Sure, they can remember what it's like to deal with "single issues", but they have enough distance from them that they don't really understand those issues. It's hard to talk to someone about being single when they can't really relate to what that means.
 
This is fine, by the way - everyone's personality and life goals are different and there is nothing wrong with that - it's just tough to talk to them about the future when our visions of it are completely different (and talking about the future is nice to do with friends). I'm not saying I never want to get married or have kids, but I'm undecided; I want to be 100% sure about those things before doing them and I'm just not there yet, and I don't see myself being sure by the time I'm 30. Who knows, perhaps I'll change my mind in a few years, but overall I feel that I just have different priorities for my life - I want to establish a fun, rewarding career that gives me freedom and mobility, I want to travel, I want to live in other places, etc, etc. There are things I want to do and see and the fact is it's much harder to accomplish this once you are saddled with kids and a mortgage so I'm in no rush to procure either of these.
 
I feel that some people are meant to contribute to the world by building families, and others are not, and I just don't think I'm a part of the former group. I'm just not sure I'm meant to settle down in the traditional sense.
 
In any case, even though my friends have different lifestyles and goals than I do, they are still really sweet, fun, intelligent people and I plan on having many more good times with them. Life changes; people change. That's the only guarantee in life (aside from death and taxes), and that's ok. You keep the good friends you have, go out and make new friends that fit your current lifestyle and outlook, and you move on. We sure would be a boring species if we never evolved our characters and way of life! Who knows who (or what) I will become by the time I reach my 30's (and when it comes right down to it, as long as I'm not working at McDonald's or have giant fake boobs, I'll be pretty happy).

What about you? Are you single or married? Do you have kids? Do you want to do these things? Do your friends have similar lifestyles to you or no? Have you noticed changes in how you relate to one another over time?

4 comments:

Emily said...

I think in the northeastern part of the United States it is pretty common to get married in your late 20s/early 30s. However, when it started happening for my friends I wasn't anywhere near that stage. But unlike you, I really wanted to be so I was very miserable and my hormones raged angrily.

Good for you about being happy where you are with your life.

BTW, I did get married at 33 and had a son at age 36. I am glad I dated for a while as when I got engaged I had been there/done that and knew I was really ready.

Kim Humes said...

Thanks for your comment Emily! To each his own, but it seems anyone I've talked to that has waited to get married and have kids a little older is very happy with the decision. My mom didn't have me until she was 38 - mind you she had 3 kids before me, her first when she was 17 (and this was in the 60's so she had no choice but to get married at that time), so she's drilled into my head to wait to settle down and have my own life before doing the same thing. I know I sure as hell don't know enough about myself or what I want yet to settle down, and that's important! I wouldn't be a good life partner for someone quite yet.

Kim Humes said...

Thanks for your comment Emily! To each his own, but it seems anyone I've talked to that has waited to get married and have kids a little older is very happy with the decision. My mom didn't have me until she was 38 - mind you she had 3 kids before me, her first when she was 17 (and this was in the 60's so she had no choice but to get married at that time), so she's drilled into my head to wait to settle down and have my own life before doing the same thing. I know I sure as hell don't know enough about myself or what I want yet to settle down, and that's important! I wouldn't be a good life partner for someone quite yet.

Emily said...

I think in the northeastern part of the United States it is pretty common to get married in your late 20s/early 30s. However, when it started happening for my friends I wasn't anywhere near that stage. But unlike you, I really wanted to be so I was very miserable and my hormones raged angrily.

Good for you about being happy where you are with your life.

BTW, I did get married at 33 and had a son at age 36. I am glad I dated for a while as when I got engaged I had been there/done that and knew I was really ready.

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