BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY WAS SO DANG GOOD! I need to re-read it. What reminded me of it? The term SMUG MARRIED that’s been dancing at the back of my newly-coupled brain. (And no I am not married yet … but that will change soon enough. Also, I’ll be skipping the new Helen Fielding book cause it doesn’t sound like any fun to me.) But back to my point: I’ll be damned if I ever become a SMUG MARRIED. I may become married and I may be smug — but not in relationship to each other. I will not forget what it was like to be single in NYC for over a decade, living and working, loving and growing. I will not think my life is more important/fulfilled/mature/serious/secure/valuable [insert your own smug adjective here] than anyone else’s now that I am domesticated.
Despite being a part of a partnership now, I still deeply identify with my prior life. And I will continue to do so, in the same way that I still identify with aspects of my childhood, teen, college, early adult selves. Before I met my match at age 37, I was independent, happy and successful for 16 years (if you start counting at 21 when I graduated from undergrad and got cut off from the parental gravy train). I did so much. Traveled, ran marathons, put myself through graduate school, supported myself in New York City for 13 years without outside assistance. Based on merit alone, got myself great jobs and advanced in them. Completed 5+ years of therapy and helped get my family through my Dad’s horrible battle with addiction and cancer. Took up Yoga, deepened my practice. Became a pet owner. Was a good friend, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, neighbor, coworker. Learned the patience required to root for every one else’s “life events” while my existence was often marginalized and/or misunderstood.
Some wondered what was “wrong” with me that I wasn’t dating much … was I “too picky?” “too career focused” “too independent?” One ‘friend’ even asked if I was gay but just couldn’t face it. (Some people are such assholes!). The answer was I had little interest in dating as sport, and I didn’t care if “most” people were married and popping out babies BY MY AGE. I am so proud of the life I’ve lived. There’s nothing about it that I wanted to “escape” from. I loved it while I was living it (and no, not without the occasional bout of depression, self-doubt/self-pity cause I’m a human Goddamned being!) … and I love it in retrospect too. The lessons I learned have prepared me for the next chapter. There is nothing I wanted to try but didn’t. There’s no question that I can take care of myself and others in very challenging circumstances and find the positives. I’m running towards a man and life I love — not away from anything that I fear (like being alone) or hate (like being deemed “unfinished” by a society that irrationally worships partnering despite the 50% divorce rate and twisted desire to see celebrity marriages implode).
For single friends out there #SOLIDARITY! Keep working on yourself and forget about trying to satisfy others’ bullshit expectations. Your current life is not a “condition to be fixed.” It’s your actual, real life! Being coupled doesn’t magically erase people’s shit and make them better people. People need to work that stuff out — themselves. And even after they’re coupled up they STILL have to work on it! We are all works in progress, from the moment we’re born until we die. There’s no avoiding it. But it IS easy enough to avoid smug marrieds and anyone who makes you feel bad about your life. They are usually the most miserable folks of all!