What do you get when you take a romantic idealist, extraordinary circumstances and a series of disappointments?
Over the past few years, I have come to the resolution that waiting for someone to be my better half is not only futile but foolish. It is absurd for me to sit around expecting someone to walk into my life and deliver a fresh bouquet of happiness. Everything that comes in a bouquet always dies, no matter what kind of pruning and watering you do to it. And while this may seem like the words of a pessimist or a cynic, these are also the words of someone who can turn this entire situation into something positive.
But before I explain that, let me start from the beginning.
All of our lives, we are inundated with the idea of love and marriage. From fairy tales, television/movies and literature. Even the medium of the internet is being exploited by sites like eHarmony and match.com, urging people to become members in order to find love. But the concept of marrying for love is a relatively new development in human history. Until recently, marriages were motivated by politics and business. Make no mistake, I’m not making an argument for arranged marriages but statistics and studies show that the love-based marriages that all Americans are rooting for are not better, and in some cases, they may be worse. Nowadays, getting married comes with the given understanding that there’s a 50% chance that it will end in divorce. I don’t know about you but that is a huge risk to take.
Now, at this point, some of you may be going “life is about risks” or “have a little faith” or even “you can always get a divorce.” That’s just not good enough for me. If I am to get married, it will most certainly not be a risk; it will definitely be a sure thing; and divorce will never be an option. Why enter into such a serious commitment knowing that you have doubts or if you have an exit strategy? That is not a marriage; that’s something with which you are passing the time until something else better comes along.
So I bet I am sounding more and more like a cynic. On the contrary, I am a romantic. Like other people, I get that warmth in my chest when I think of growing old with someone but that’s just it: I want to grow old with someone; I don’t want to gamble. As much as I like to think that I’m Serena van der Woodsen, with her preppy yet hippie chic tendencies, I’m not. Serena has Dan who, despite a number of break-ups, always comes back. That is definitely not me. While in circumstance, I might be more like Vanessa, the free spirit born outside of Upper East Side society, my Nate may never come. And every minute I spend waiting for him is a roll of the dice that always comes out snake eyes and I’ve got more than my money to lose.
So this is how it becomes positive: I grow up. I outgrow all of this romantic idealist conditioning that we all experience from infancy and come to terms with the idea that I am my own person and I make myself happy. No other person can give that to me and I should not expect anyone to. I am forced to look at my life and decide for myself what makes me happy: my spiritual journey, my family and friends and understanding who I really am.
Now am I being negative or a defeatist? Surely, those faux-romantics may read this and think that it may be too much of a hassle to get involved with me. To this I say, whatever happened to “take a risk” or “have a little faith”? I’m not completely dismissing the possibility of finding someone. I am merely saying that it is not my life’s purpose to do that. Simply put, if it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, it doesnt. I’m devoting my life to those who are already around me. Rather than trying to see that particular societal ideal be reflected in me, I am choosing to break the mirror and instead, I am putting myself together. And that is definitely not a gamble.