Marriage on my mind
This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the wedding of my friends Matt and Hilarie in lovely Scranton, Pennsylvania. While this trip will be fodder for many a blog post, I first want to comment on how apparently everyone I know is getting married, and how this is freaking me out.
I’m 27 years old, so this is the age I should have been expecting to attend more and more weddings. I’ve been to three this year, and I already have four scheduled for 2008, two of which are good friends who got engaged (to different people) on the same day last week. To top this off, my younger brother and sister are both in long-term relationships; barring an unforeseen break-up, they’ll most likely be heading to the altar before me as well.
Now the freak out is due to two consequences that result from this matrimonial explosion. The first is that marriage leads to children, which leads to a complete lifestyle change for a couple, a change that usually involves me seeing them dramatically less often. Contrary to what I believed earlier in my life, marriage doesn’t really change my interactions with a couple per se. A childless couple will still tend to live in the city, go out to weekends, and show up at parties. Sure, they’ll go home earlier and not show up to every social event they once did, but for the most part my interaction with them remains unchanged.
Children change all of that. The couple stops going out unless the event is child-friendly and/or planned well in advance. They move to the suburbs beyond anything I can reach by Metro. If they didn’t already live in the Washington area, then it’s most likely they’re never going to again, and that they’ll live where they live now for the rest of their lives. Their focus is wholly on their progeny, which of course is as it should be. But couples with children enter into this completely different culture of play dates, preschools, and parenting that I can’t be a part of. Until I also reach that life-changing point, my relationship with them is fundamentally altered, usually to the detriment of my ability to regularly see them.
The second factor to my freak out is how friends’ marriages have been great fodder for my own inadequacies. I wonder if I’ll ever get married, whether I’ll ever meet that woman I’ll want to spend the rest of my life with. I fret that I’m nowhere near settling down when many in my life have already done so. I don’t currently have a girlfriend, and no relationship I’ve ever had has lasted more than four months, with one exception. I’m certainly not getting any better looking, and I don’t want to be that creepy 40-something guy hitting on the 22 year olds at the bar on a Friday night. In short, I worry that I’m close to missing out on my best chance to find love, and this drives me absolutely insane.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely happy for my friends and family who are married or engaged, and those who have children have beautiful, wonderful kids. I wish them all only the best, and I feel nothing but joy that they have found happiness. And I know that most of my worries are irrational and overblown, and that I’m very happy with my single urban life. I just wish I could be happy for my friends without having an existential crisis every time they tie the knot, it would do wonders for my mental health.