Saturday, February 28, 2009

Settling Down

Not sure what it is that has posessed me to do this, and hopefully James won't mind, but for whatever reason I feel the need to repost one of his writings from a few years back. Something I think that is worth reposting:

I’m at that age where a lot of the people that I know have either gotten married or are getting married. I look at some of the couples, and see how some of them will work, how some will fall apart (either amicably or explosively), and how some will feel obligated to stay with each other for the rest of their lives because they said “I do” for the wrong reasons. The funny thing is that people are starting to look at me and ask when I am going to do the same.

Are you seeing anyone? Is it serious (which always sounds like they’re discussing a disease that you are afflicted by. He has what? Is it serious?)? When are you going to settle down?

I take offense at this. The very notion of “settling down” annoys me.

Let’s think about this on a word by word basis.

First off, I don’t want to settle for anything relationship-wise. I want to be in a serious relationship because I feel passionately about the person. Saying I have settled is downright insulting both to myself and the person, if any, I choose to marry. It implies that I’ve chosen to spend my life with that person because I can’t do any better or that I can’t get what I want.

Settling is what you tell yourself that you’re doing when what you have isn’t really what you want; when what you have doesn’t make you happy but is somewhat tolerable.

I refuse to do that. I would rather spend my life alone or simply having short relationships rather than settling on something I don’t want for the rest of my life. I was very close to marrying someone I loved very much several years ago, and I can guarantee you that I wasn’t settling for anything.

The person I marry will be someone that I want to see when I first wake up in the morning and the last thing I see when I go to sleep. This isn’t to say that I want to spend every waking moment with that person, because I don’t. I enjoy my time alone, and I would hope that she would too.

I want to be with someone who stand with me and whom I can stand with. I don’t want to be with someone who uses me as a crutch in order to prop themselves up for whatever reason.

I want to be with someone who has opinions and a mind of her own; someone I find attractive not only physically but intellectually and in other manners that aren’t as easy to quantify.

If I ever meet anyone that makes me feel that passionately again, then we’ll talk about my getting married. Until then, I’m going to enjoy life for the sake of life; not for what other people think I should do.

Let’s face it: I’m 25. It’s been a long and interesting trip so far, but I have, in theory at any rate, many years ahead of me on the path that I walk. To spend them with someone that I don’t truly love is just wrong in my opinion, and it amazes and insults me that my family seems to think that I should find my identity in someone else.

Now, for the second part – down.

As if settling for something that you don’t want isn’t bad enough, settling down is worse. It says that you are not only willing to spend your life with someone you don’t really want to, but that you are willing to spend your life with someone so far below what you want that it’s not even funny.

That, to me, is one of the worst things I can think of doing not only to myself but to the other person as well. It’s insulting to think that I would be happy “settling down” or that the other person would be happy either considering that the way I felt would affect our relationship.

Let’s face it. Nobody else can make you happy. You have to be happy with yourself or you’ll never be happy at all. To look to a relationship for validation or happiness is just insulting to everyone involved.

Learn to love yourself first for both your accomplishments and your faults. Look at yourself realistically but also with a humble pride (for lack of a better word at the moment), knowing both what you see as positive and negative about yourself. Accept yourself for who you are. If there is something you don’t like about yourself, think about why it bothers you. If the reason it bothers you is good, then work on changing whatever it is that bothers you about yourself.

It’s not easy, but things which are worthwhile rarely are.

Once you get to that point, you probably won’t want to “settle down” either.

When I first read it, it was definitely a glimpse into the type of man I was starting to fall for... the man I now love more deeply than I knew possible. Even then, in what I suppose is typical girlish fashion, I was both intimidated by what I thought I had to live up to, and warmed by the prospect that if someday he ever did ask, that would mean I am all those things.

The world has changed so much in those 3 1/2 years or so... and in true fashion to how so much of my life has worked, much of the changes have come all at once, in little floods where suddenly everything's turned on its side and the view is completely different than before.

It's strange, reading it again now...

I'm not so intimidated anymore.

Then again, I think I've gotten a bit better at enjoying things for what they are, instead of obsessing over what they could be. Fussing over what wasn't happened yet. Not that I never think about the what-ifs, think of what could be, but everyone does that to a certain degree.

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