Friday, February 11, 2011

Single in America

I've got a lot of blog posts simmering on the back burner right now. Tonight's topic: Valentine's Day. Have to go for this one while the time is right.

I'm single. Most of you knew that, but for any potential new readers out there, that's my current status. Single. Not married. Never been married. Never had a relationship for more than 4 months. Nothing that can be described as anything other than "casual."

Normally, my single status doesn't bug me. I date every once in a while. That's fine. It's fun, I enjoy it. But I also have a strong support system of family and friends. They keep me sane.

A friend and I were emailing today about marriage. She's not married, either, but she is in a solid, committed relationship and has been since college. They like where they are, and they feel no need to be married. That's fine. I get it. I think it would be weird if they got married - it's just who they are.

But the conversation got me thinking. I'm 30 years old. Single. Never been married.

And, somehow, these two simple facts - age 30 and never married - made me feel inadequate. No, it's more than that. I feel like I have somehow failed in life because I'm not married. I look at the important people in my life, and I realize that a large percentage of them are now, or have been, married. My mom and dad are both remarried after their divorce (which is an impressive feat for my lesbian mother). My grandmother on my dad's side has been married forever, and my grandmother on my mom's side has been twice widowed, now on her third husband. The majority of my family, in fact (with the exception of a couple siblings and some cousins), is married, or at least has been married at some point in their lives. Even my best friend has been married.

So what's wrong with me? Why haven't I been married? Nobody has even been in a position to ask me to marry him. And, somehow, this is my problem.

It's our society. Our culture dictates that there is a certain order to things in life. You grow up. You go to college (or you don't). You graduate, and you get a job. You meet a nice boy or a nice girl. You fall in love, and maybe even move in together. You get married, you buy a house, you pop out babies, then you watch those babies go through the same thing. The cycle continues until you die.

Have you ever noticed how incredibly difficult it is to be single in America?

Everything we do is designed for couples or families. Tables at restaurants have a minimum of two chairs. Tickets for events are commonly sold in pairs (and if you win them on the radio or something, it's ALWAYS a pair). Traveling? Try paying cab fare without having a partner to share the cost. Living by yourself is difficult, too, as everything in our culture is designed for a double income. Without roommates, paying for all the costs of living is astronomical. I can't afford to live by myself, even though it's what I really want to be doing right now. As it is, I can't afford a car because the expense of that on top of everything else is too great. I don't have a family plan for my phone because I don't have a family. I think the only thing where it benefits me to be single is my health insurance.

Being single is expensive.

And, of course, there are things like Valentine's Day. Yes, it's the day where all the advertisements tell you that it's the day to be with your special someone, to tell them how much you love them - hey, maybe it's a good time to buy her a ring and get married. Because that's what you're supposed to do.

It's things like this that just perpetuate the concept that marriage is a natural part of life, and that it's expected of everyone. And if you don't get married, you're going to end up being the crazy cat lady.

So, in honor of that, I leave you with a loving picture of my valentine this year:

4 comments:

  1. I love you Becks!

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  2. I can't tell you how many people I know who married for the first time at 35 or 40 or even later. 30 is just a number! Love your valentine!

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  3. OH MY GOD I AM SO RIGHT THERE WITH YOU!!! Email me if you don't have my blog address, because I just posted my latest "SO DONE" post about dating.

    AND, you should visit quirkyalone.net. The Quirkyalone movement is basically for people who would rather be happy single than miserable in a relationship. It doesn't mean we are anti-relationship; just that we don't think our lives should be defined solely by the presence or absence of a romantic partner. I don't love everything they do, but I like a lot of it, and it's nice not to feel like you're the only one.

    And try to remember...you're not. I'm 33!

    Happy International Quirkyalone Day!

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