The Single Narrative.

Vipassana MeditationI was at a meeting, an informal year end meeting, and someone asked me how my Christmas was shaping up.

I responded, “Quiet.”

“How are you going to spend it?”

“Quietly. Maybe make a ham, a few friends might stop by.”

A woman interjects, “What about your wife, your children?”

“I don’t have those.”

“He’s a loner”, someone says quietly.

“That’s sad”, she continues, and I look at her – she immediately regrets saying it, I see, but I respond.

“Is it? I’ve not found a woman who I can stand, or who can stand me. There are women I like, who I have liked, but no one that I could stand or who could stand me. Yet there’s nothing wrong with me, I am whole, no parts are missing. And I am not sad, I am not lonely, and I’m not a victim of society’s narrative where people must get married, must have children…”

The table is silent, I realize I need to cut this short. Yet I see nods of quiet assent, even from a few married people at the table.

“Why lose serenity by chasing happiness?”

Single.

MarriedSillyInvariably, I run into people who are surprised I’m not married or don’t have children. This is largely because I typically don’t run into people unless I choose to.

The answers I give vary. They’re quick, sometimes witty, and always as incomplete as a person who thinks that they need someone else to complete you.

But today, for lack of anything better to write about, I’ll tackle this subject. About why I’m not married, why I don’t have children, and why I don’t see it as important.

The whole thing is silly to me. That’s what it boils down to. That, though, is hardly a good answer for people – what I mean when I say that is that there’s nothing wrong with being an evolutionary cul-de-sac, and that I find most people regretfully boring. Those I do not find boring I rarely find a romantic connection with. It has happened. It may happen again. It’s just not something that I find motivational.

whynowI had a few of my paternal uncles try to encourage me down a path of marriage and children. One tried to be sly about it:
“I want you to settle down.”
“What do you mean, ‘settle down’?”
“Get married, have children…”
“You have someone in mind?”
“No… but I could look for you…”
“Sure. As long as you understand that I take a car for a test drive before I buy it.”

That conversation was never revisited.

Society was designed a certain way, and that way remains – as antiquated as it is. Young people are expected to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives even before high school these days. That’s folly. So how on earth would they know who they would want to be with for the rest of their lives at a young age? That seems like folly too. Toss in some religion, some parental pressure about grandchildren (how sad that is), and the notoriety of being single as you grow older.

societies shameSociety simply doesn’t know how to deal with people who don’t get married – exerting enough pressure to drive people into marriages that end a bit before, “until death”. Divorce. Children of divorce – of which I am one. My mother married 3 times, my father 2, and they didn’t stay married. And society, in it’s own way, has attempted to shame divorcees even as it shamed them into marriages.

What, exactly, is the point of that? Well, we could invoke some deity or the other, but I’ll invoke common sense: Continuity. The reason sex is such a pleasure – and I do meanĀ such a pleasure – has allowed the population of humans on Earth to become what talking trees might call an infestation. The climate change debate? Less humans, less of a problem.

keeponpollutingThat some of us have figured out birth control is probably a good thing. But, by all means, keep polluting.

After all, society tells you what to do. Society tells you how to treat people. Society makes you feel like you are of value, even when that value works against a species.

No, you should probably thank us single people with no children for helping the planet lastĀ just a little bit longer.

Plus, we don’t have to deal with raising small humans, and we don’t stand the risk of being bad parents. Instead, we can help them enter a society and understand that they aren’t stuck doing and thinking as their parents and society dictate.

Live think dare different

The Rolling Stone

Woman and BuoyThey say things. They don’t mean them as they are heard, but they scrape across a heart like fingernails on a blackboard.

That scraping sound you can feel in your bones.

They say, “One day, when you find a woman…” as if you’ve never loved a woman, or had a woman love you, or had the pure luck to have both at the same time. As if they know some secret that they will only hint at, that they cannot explain.

They act as if marriage saved them, sitting next to me telling me how a wife will keep you healthy – as if men need mothers as they grow older, as if men are incapable of taking care of themselves.

They say that you’ll never be complete, unless… or they’ll say that you’re still living your life as an explanation for how someone can live without the bindings that they live in.

And it’s all bullshit. All of it.

You can love and be loved – and you can have that more than once, misfortunes be damned. Maybe one will die in an accident. Maybe one will take her own life. Maybe one will simply grow in a different direction. All of these things and more are skipped over by those who choose the mundane life, defending it as if under attack – they feel besieged by those who can live outside of it. It is beyond them that the world could contain people who live differently, that implicitly something is wrong with someone because they are single. And sometimes they cling to their own partner even in the worst of circumstances.

Being alone doesn’t mean being incomplete. A single man or woman may have drank deeply of a partner, may have almost drowned in it and lived to tell the tale.

Single people are not broken, and while a rolling stone gathers no moss, one has to question whether moss is a goal worth achieving.