Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Whose Vows Are These, Anyway?

For some reason, by the age of five, girls are already planning their weddings. The idea of the event at that age usually involves nothing more than a fluffy white dress and the presence of some faceless groom. By the age of twelve we are beginning to put a face on that groom and it is usually that of our newest, most exciting crush. By fifteen we’re probably discussing with friends our time frame for marriage and childbearing. For me, it was married by 24, first child by 26. Seeing as how my 24th birthday is a mere two months away and one of the farthest things from my mind is a committed relationship, much less marriage, I’m going to go ahead and admit that my predictions were a little inaccurate.

My predicted time frame is becoming less common as women continue to gain power positions in their chosen professions, but it still exists for many young women, or as I continue to refer to myself and those my age, girls. It didn’t occur to me however, how off I really was until I turned 22 and realized that the best part about my life was how single I was. I say it like that because there are certainly degrees of being single and I was most definitely the most single a girl could be. Doing what I wanted, when I wanted, with whom I wanted and there was no one at the other end of a text message wondering about any of those W’s. I knew I was happy to be single, but it was a temporary situation and when the right guy came along surely things would change.

It wasn’t until my next birthday that I began to have the thought that blew my mind. It blew my mind more than any thought I had had before because it wasn’t so much a realization of the world around me, as it was a realization of myself and the possible outcomes of my own life. It’s like reading a choose your own adventure book and thinking you chose exactly the right path to end up with all the gold at the end only to find as you turn the last page that you made a fatal mistake on page 9 that inevitably landed you in the tar pit. I realized that while it was possible that marriage would not occur until later in my life, it was also just as possible that marriage not occur at all. What if I never marry?

Perhaps this thought had never crossed my mind because society likes to lead us into monogamous lifelong partnership, but most likely it was due to the fact that I was the product of a highly successful marriage which resulted in a happy, functional family. A rare thing these days, admittedly, but so strong in my life that I had never imagined my own family would turn out any other way. Everyone talks about the times in their lives when they realized that they were adults and their parents were simply other adults coexisting in the adult world. For me, this was it. Yes, it was true that my parents had chosen the path of a wonderfully healthy nuclear family with a mom and a dad and two kids. But they were just people, like me. Not necessarily predictions of how my own life would turn out. And it was possible that I, as an adult, would choose my own path different from my parents’ choice.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t bitter. This was not a decision that I made at 23, choosing to remain single. But the mere thought that it was a possibility turned my world upside down. All of a sudden it was as if the pressure was off. I was going to be a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding in a few short months (a cousin who had shared my marital musings as a child), a position I had been promised some time in high school when we were planning out the next ten years of our love lives. She managed to stick to her plan. I realized my need for revisions. There was something about that realization that, for the first time, was miraculously okay.

Now here I am a year later, about to turn the age at which I’m supposed to wed (according to my sophomoric self), nowhere near where I thought I’d be. But after a year of telling myself that it’s possible I won’t wed at all, the pressure’s off. And that lack of pressure seems to have led me to have one of the most enjoyable first dates I’ve ever had.

So where’s that fluffy white dress?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Being 24 means drinking Bloody Mary’s.

Being 24 means drinking bloody Mary’s on the flight home for your mom’s birthday.  
Being 24 means you can’t afford the second single shot of Sky Vodka but the flight attendant recognizes a sweet smile and friendly face and gives it to you anyway, wishing you a happy birthday.  
Being 24 means you look at the nutrition facts, get excited that a serving size of Mr. and Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mix is only 70 calories and that serving size is ONE WHOLE CAN!   
Being 24 means you are no longer 5, 10, 13, 16, 18, or 21 and selfishness is an extremely unattractive character trait.   
Being 24 means you sleep with someone, they ditch you the next day, and you move on.   
Being 24 means you know who holds weight in your life; those who don’t, you give 12-48 hours of your attention and expect nothing more and nothing less from them.   
Being 24 means you are one step closer to 25 but it doesn’t fucking matter because a number is a number is a number and in the end that number is just a convention.   
Being 24 means you have no idea what this life has to offer, no clue which road to take, no beginning, middle or end in sight, but try to accept the vastness with an open heart and mind. 
Being 24 means I am in charge of my own destiny and it’s going to be a good one.     
Being 24 means....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Standard

In relationships, we must all find a way to get what we want but continue to be accommodating enough to be able to compromise with our partner. We must decide what is most important to us, what cannot be changed, and in which areas we are willing to meet half-way. For instance, although I am a social person and feel more comfortable around others than alone, if my partner prefers to fly solo to social events in his circle, or needs to be apart most nights of the week, I am happy to accommodate. However, if his need to be alone turns into a suspicious guessing game of his whereabouts, I’m out. Donezos. I don’t tolerate lying (and yes, to all you infidels, omitting the truth is a form of lying), but I am happy to adjust my social rhythms in order to ease the comfort of my significant other.

Over the years, through various failed relationships, or what I like to call learning experiences, I have discovered a number of things about myself, including what my needs are. I have learned what I absolutely can’t live without (or with). And, most importantly, I have learned which of my own habits and expectations are absurd and would drive anyone up a wall or just simply away. Learning experiences are important. They allow us not to make the same mistake twice and when we see an all too familiar situation coming our way we can dodge it like WeHo boys dodge balls (in the WeHo dodgeball league, that is ). It is from our learning experiences that we are able to set our standards.

I’ve heard tell that once a single lady hits her 30s and starts to hear her biological clock ticking (if that is a clock she cares about) her standards may start to relax as she realizes she has built her “Mr. Right” into a Mr. Doesn’t-Exist-Anywhere-But-In-Her-Head-And-In-The-Movies. However, I’m NOT 30. I’m not even half a decade away from 30. And yet, I have begun to wonder, are my standards too high? This question used to pertain solely to romantic relationships, but more often these days I am caused to wonder if my standards for all people are too high? Am I expecting something no one is able to give? Am I actually treating people the same way they treat me and just not realizing it? Why has it become the norm to blow people off?

Just a couple weeks ago, my fellow Bell shared with you the evening she was forced to replace her booty call with a bottle of wine. As we sat together yesterday contemplating our past and current endeavors in love and friendship, we nearly simultaneously realized that very currently, we were being blown off. No call, no show. In the professional world, a “no call/no show” equals no job. So giving my personal life as much weight as a minimum wage job (which I think is more than fair) a no call/no show should equal a “no time for you” dismissal. But were I to stick to that rule consistently throughout my life, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have any friends left. Or maybe I’d have five. Not enough to count on two hands, that’s for sure.

I once thought that perhaps I needed to tare my personal scale of acceptance and expectation in order for my love life to be more successful. I have recently realized, however, that my love life is not the only thing out of whack. My entire social life is a series of let-downs and frustrations and because I am not pushing 30, I refuse to believe it is a sign that I need to lower my standards.

For now, I maintain that my desire for communication and mutual respect is not asking too much, so I will leave this one open for discussion. When my boss has gone through 27 employees in 3 months, my roommate has been used and abused by consecutive love interests and I can’t even get an hour long time commitment from a dear old friend, I have to wonder: is it just me, or are social behavioral standards lowering at an exponential rate?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's all just a big ole chess board.

I can't say I know how to play chess.

But I think if I was told the rules I’d be a damn fine player.