Last night was yet another amazing evening spent with my new beau. I was recounting some of the night to a close friend of mine, telling her about how happy I was, how a meteor could fall on my head right now and I’d still have a smile on my face, but inevitably “the future” came back to haunt me.
“Don’t hate me,” she began, “But what does this mean for the future?”
I get it. I understand the path we are taught to take always ends in marriage and kids and this one doesn’t. But why is that so scary?
“Uh, lots of hot sex with someone who adores me as much as I adore him?” I responded.
But of course it’s more than that. Of course I’m emotionally invested (meaningless sex really does it get me off, but power to the folks it does!) in this relationship, non-tradition though it may be. And of course a relationship has to go somewhere. Even if the habits stay the same, even if one doesn’t progress towards marriage or living together, being together for a long time will inevitably lead to a deeper connection– and that, admittedly, is something I do desire.
But let’s pretend, for argument’s sake, that he were single and monogamous. It really wouldn’t change where we are right now: enjoying each other’s company, figuring out each other’s quirks. We’re still new to each other, and at this stage, we’re having fun and learning. All relationships start this way, regardless of where they end up.
So I can’t help but wonder, what’s the rush? What’s the rush to see it “evolve”? And why does evolution only look one way (i.e. marriage)? I think Darwin would be disappointed by the suggestion. Yes, my options would be different, but so what? Even if I had options like marriage and kids and living together, is that something I even want? Right now I can definitely say, “Hell no!”
“Wouldn’t you eventually want to live with your partner?” asks my concerned friend. “Not necessarily,” is the answer, but more the point, who says I couldn’t? I’ve seen some very creative polyamorous households, for the record. But really, I don’t know. I’ve never actually lived with a partner (unless you count that semester from hell back in college, I don’t) and I don’t know that I’d want to. I very much enjoy having my own living space, and even if I did agree to move in with someone, it would be with the caveat that I had at least a room that was all my own space. A place to escape to, in case of emergency.
“But don’t you get jealous?” she asks. A fair question, and I tell her honestly, “Yes, sometimes. But actually it’s good for me to get confronted with my jealously. When I stop to think about it, I realize there’s really nothing to be jealous of. When I’m with him I feel loved and sexy and desirable and heck, even important. Each relationship is unique, and when I’m aware of this comparison begins to seem so foolish!”
I really appreciate how open my friend is being, I know it’s hard for her to think I could be happy without getting married. “When you do believe that marriage and babies is the path that people take and the structure you believe in, its scary when people you love step outside of that.”
“I guess it’s just dawning on me now, truly, that marriage isn’t the ONLY path to happiness, to family, to love. It’s disorienting, to be sure, but freeing too.”
But really, what I can’t get over is what’s the rush? Honestly, what is it? Is it that my biological clock is ticking? Don’t worry, my ovaries never let me forget. Is it that everybody else is doing it (I’m at that age, I’m going to at least a wedding a year)? Or is it that life is short?
Well that’s the irony, I suppose. It’s because life is short that I DON’T see the rush. Why am I going to plan for 5 or 10 years down the road when, in reality, the world could explode this evening? I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I could win the lottery, I could get hit by a bus, I could find a baby goat on my doorstep and be tasked with raising him to be a proud, badass adult goat. I don’t know! And that’s the beauty of it.
So yes, I’m staying in the here and the now as much as possible. I’m focusing on all the amazing things happening in my life right at this very moment– the future will come soon enough no matter how (un)prepared I am. So why concern myself with the amorphous FUTURE, when I can spend my time being grateful for everything already present in my life?
THE FUTURE, as far as I can tell, has already arrived.