Jodi and I went to Grumpys tonight after a somewhat successful (read: successful for her, total failure for me) workshop on Loft teaching proposals. The purpose was to discuss life, celebrate birthdays, eat tots, and, most importantly, drink beer.
Jodi and I are each other's only single friend. So, the talk inevitably turns to something of that subject--either how happy we are to be single, how sick we are of our married friends feeling sorry that we're single, or comparing various "singleton" habits. Once in awhile we chuckle over the idea of us living with any other human being.
Tonight we covered all of those subjects and more. And, from our conversation came two insights: one, that I have virtually everything I would need to survive nuclear warfare within arm's reach of my "spot" on the couch. Two, that it's possible, just *possible* that we don't actually want to get married.
The topic got started because Jodi was lamenting about the latest barrage of questions on her singleness. She said she's not sure she wants to get married but doesn't know if that's her "real answer" or a defense mechanism. I said I thought that we're at the age where the dream needs to become a reality or we switch the dream to one we can achieve (I said it neither that poetically or that sappily, by the way), and likened it to a novel. "Like when people ask me if I want to publish a novel," I said. "Sure, I say, if I've written one!" "Yes!" Jodi said, "It's exactly like that!" And we decided that, as thirtysomethings, we needed concrete dreams. It's not enough to say "Yes, I want to get married." Rather, it needs to be "I want to be married to _____."
Jodi then asked the million dollar question: "Have you ever not gotten something that you really wanted?" And I paused, swilled some of my Miller Lite, and realized that, no, I have never NOT gotten something that I REALLY wanted. Bing! Grumpy's lit up enough for me to see the smoke ring shadows on the walls from yesteryear. She went on to say, "Don't you think that if we really wanted to be married we would be? Why would that be the one thing we wanted and didn't get?"
And it's true....from the time I was little I have led a very blessed, very fulfilled life. I can honestly say I want for nothing. And yeah, I complain a lot, but when the end of the day rolls around and I crawl into my bed with a full belly and a roof over my head and my beloved Gatsby curled up next to me, my complaints always seem to fade away. I wanted to go to St. Olaf. Got it. I wanted to become a teacher. Got it. I wanted to, more recently, go to Belize to the writer's conference. Got it. I wanted to teach yoga. Done. I wanted to be published. Yep, got that too.
Of course my wants have changed over the years, and there are things that I probably wanted at one time and didn't get so my wants changed. I think marriage is in that category, but I'm not sure. In my 20s I wanted to get married because that's what you're supposed to want in your twenties. But now? Do I want to get married? Sure. Why not? But do I WANT to get married? Not enough to work for it. Not like I work to write, or work to educate myself, or work at yoga. If I meet an awesome guy? Sure, it could change.
There really is nothing in this world quite like getting together with someone who understands exactly where you're coming from with myriad life elements relating to singlehood. We single gals are few and far between--and far more similar than I think even we realize.