Today, women are also scared to talk about wanting conventionality.
I helped to end a relationship by choosing career, moving for my own dream and not confining to his dreams and career. Forty plus years ago, societal standards would have looked down upon this. It wasn’t really done. Now, people do it everyday.
Little did I know it at the time, but I gave up a wonderful, strong, intelligent, handsome, successful man to move away (literally, West of him), start my own career path, be independent and follow a dream I wanted. A year later you know what, I am my happiness, he wasn’t my only happiness. And now, here, I am happy and fulfilled, single.
In terms of career, I don’t doubt I will be a woman who will surpass many men and create my own success. I thank the powerful women (and men) in my life for that inspiration. I’m not worried. If it’s something I want, I will go get it.
At the same time, I have no problem admitting that I’m also a woman of tradition and I am excited to marry one day and have a family. Marriage doesn’t sit on a pedestal for me, it’s not my only desire, and I also don’t think it belittles my ability in the office, my ideas or even my independence.
Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr Good Enough inversely writes, “My dream, like that of my mother and her mother, was to fall in love, get married and live happily ever after. Of course, women are loth to admit it in this day and age, but ask any soul-baring 40-year-old single heterosexual woman what she most longs for in life, and she probably won’t tell you it’s a better career or a smaller waistline or a bigger apartment. Most likely, she’ll say that what she really wants is a husband (and, by extension, a child).”
Why fret? In the past, a woman who was unmarried at age 35 or 40 was unlikely to ever marry. Today, 15 percent of all women who are unmarried at age 40 will marry in the next 10 years.
I know I can’t have it all. I look forward to enriching my career, by learning to balance a family and creating a new generation of parenting, being a career-woman and a mother. When my longtime married friends with children explain the “You can’t have it all,” to me, I see how they filter out their dreams, in turn for their children and largely, their family. That I understand. My point is, let me filter it out. Don’t tell me what I should believe or expect.
Gottlieb asserts, “What makes for a good marriage isn’t necessarily what makes for a good romantic relationship. Marriage isn’t a passion-fest; it’s a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane and often boring non-profit business. And I mean this in a good way.”
I’m willing to go through the struggle, trying to find a balance and find someone to deal with my shit and not walk away. I will be patient, giving and deal with his shit. Life is messy, but we follow our own timeline, needs and experiences as they come. Right now, I am working out my dreams and in the future, I will undoubtedly recreate new ones with my family and partner, unselfishly.
I’m sick and tired of hearing how you can have one or the other, you have to settle, or you can be a wonderful stay-at-home mother, but then you lose out by following your passion and building a career. The passion-less and mundane marriage that Gottlieb speaks of may be exclusive to her experience. And who knows, I could experience what she’s talking about. But I will not settle. It’s not in my bones. It’s not something I’ve ever done. If anything, I will filter, mold and be flexible. That’s different than settling. Maybe I will quit my job and spend time with my children, to raise them. On the flipside, I was raised with parents who have been married for 30 years and mundane would never describe their love, partnership, friendship and romance. I don’t know yet what will happen – that’s okay.
There are stepping stones in life and right now, I’m having the career, I’m traveling, I do what I want every day and I drink champagne in the morning with breakfast. In ten years, get back to me.
Elizabeth Gilbert of “Eat, Pray, Love” and more recently, “Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage,” writes that women lose in the exchange of vows and that marriage doesn’t enable happiness. I know this. I’m not planning on getting married anytime soon, but I do not lose sight of a vision that I’m creating now and will filter through to create when someday, I find a partner, a family, a different chapter in life that won’t be mundane and passionless. When that eventually happens, next, I will write a post on having children and then grandchildren.
I will figure and filter it all out. I will choose my own ideas, my own path and my partner. You will too.
Do you resonate with the progressive mindset or do you cringe at the thought of conventional wisdom? What do you filter in your career, life and romantic dreams?