Friday, June 8, 2012

Settling Down

"What did happen to me at 30 was that I gradually started to settle down, though not in the traditional sense of the term—by becoming pregnant or putting a down payment on a mortgage or even getting married. For me, settling down is located in my head (for the Buddhists among you, this is called mindfulness). It meant realizing that I wanted to share my days with my long-distance boyfriend without Skype as an intermediary; that I wanted to stop responding so impulsively to everything."


This didn't happen to me specifically at 30. There wasn't a switch; I've never been one to casually date: Either the relationship was on some level serious, or I didn't want to bother with it. I had enough friends; I never wanted that in-between relatioship. If the relationship was a good one, I was happy, but I was equally happy being alone.

And to be honest, I never felt lonely when I was single; I relished being alone. Often in relationships I felt lonelier than if I were single, I knew something tangible was missing, which is why I knew pretty early on that the relationship wouldn't last. I often felt lonelier in the relationship than when I was single, so I never felt a strong compulsion or urge to get married and have kids; I never felt a "ticking biological clock." (This might be in part because I've known for many years that I can't biologically have my own children. Sometimes I'm saddened that being pregnant is an experience I'll never  go through, but I don't dwell on those moments, and I don't find it catastrophic.) I always figured that if I got married, great; if not, so what? If I met someone and we got married and were able to adopt, great; if not, well, I hardly think that falling to pieces is a good way to go about things.

(I'm guessing that one of the reasons people want children is that they want someone to nurture and watch grow. I'm incredibly lucky because I get to do that for a living. I don't feel I'm missing out on that part of life. And one can nurture one's spouse, one's friends, and the children of one's friends as well.)

The men I had dated previously were lovely, intelligent, kind men, one of whom did want to marry me, but I knew that marrying him would have been the wrong decision. I married Ed because I could see that he was someone with whom I could be happy, someone with whom I could spend my life; I hadn't met anyone up until that point about whom I could say that. I met someone who was worth sharing my days with.

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