Thursday 5 February 2015

Never Settle For Less Than Special

My parents have always been traditional in their husband/wife duties. Dad would go to work, mum would stay home and keep the house tidy or whatever, then dote on my brother and I when we eventually came along.

By society's standards they got started late in life. They were both in their late 20's when they got married and early 30's when I was born. Most people had settled down in their early-mid 20's and already had a kid or two under their belt by then.

For me, the whole notion of finding a stable job, a nice husband and creating a family together wasn't all that appealing.

Mum has always been a dedicated housewife and mother. On the occasions where I'd help her clean up, she'd compliment me by saying I'd make a good housewife one day. It wasn't the most inspiring thing to be told.

Although I've been dreaming about getting married and what my wedding would be like, since I was about 11, life has changed significantly since then and the whole idea of getting married now scares me a little.

I wanted to get married and have kids as early as a possibly could, but that was more to do with my love for children and the whole fairy-tale of the wedding, rather than the reality of marriage and the level of commitment it really requires.

As I grew up and witnessed my parents marriage, I liked the idea of it less and less. I could convince myself quite easily that my story would be different, but from what I'd seen, heard and read, most marriages turn out like the parents marriages before then. Ultimately, things change as people change.

After I moved out of home, my dad started confiding in me more about what marriage was like in the years before my brother and I came along. The biggest impression I got from him is that marriage changes everything. It's a whole new set of rules that you need to play by and takes a lot of effort to maintain it.

In discussions with my boss, he said a similar thing to me as to why his marriage didn't work out, although he and his ex-wife are quite good friends if only for the sake of their daughter.

Looking back to the person I was in high school compared to the person I am now, there is a tremendous difference! I wondered about all the people I'd grown up with and gone to school with who had mostly all settled down with a few kids now. While I still hope to do that one day, it's not really something I ever fully aspired to.

I was talking to a friend of mine from a youth arts group that I volunteer with for the first quarter of the year. She was telling me about a reunion she had with some of the girls she went to school with and that out of about 40 people invited, all except for her and maybe 2 or 3 others were married with kids. She's about 10 years older than me and someone who I've personally come to look up to, not just because she's a completely awesome person. She knows who she is, what she likes and what she doesn't, she also knows what she's willing to take from others and what she just won't allow. Granted that's something that presumably comes with age and life experience, but she does it with such artistic flair it's hard not to be impressed.

I got to telling her about some of the extremely hard times I had back in high school and how I'd found the idea of just settling down and having kids not something I was ready for until I was in my 30's at this stage. She told me that anyone can settle down and have kids, there's not really much to it, but because I'm a creative person, I need a lot more from life and that kind of life just wouldn't cut it for me.

I let her words sit with me for a while and thought back to all the people I'd gone to school with, everyone who was excited about going to church camps, meeting cute guys and whatever else. None of that really mattered to me when I was younger and still doesn't really. My concerns lay with music, pop-culture, being a super-fabulous person and pursuing every dream I could possibly conceive, any less just wouldn't work for me.

One of my teachers from high school who I have a mother-daughter relationship with always tells me whenever I see her how well I've done for myself. I have a successful and incredibly flexible part-time job, I'm a uni student (despite how badly I did in school), I share a lovely unit in a great area with my cousin, I have an ever-improving relationship with my family, I'm writing my first book and I'm just happy in general. Being single and childless is a non-issue for me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not slamming people who have settled down with kids and genuinely enjoy it. It works for some people and that's awesome, I just couldn't see myself picking a guy who seems like a decent life partner and deciding that's it for me. I couldn't imagine anything more boring that the life my mother leads, even though she's convinced that she enjoys it.

For me, special is finding someone who complements you as a person, doesn't hinder you or your ambitions, that appreciates and loves (or is in love with) you for who you are. They allow you to maintain your independence whilst always being there to support and uplift you, and vice versa. I could never be just a housewife with a 9-5 job, nor could I just settle for someone because I wasn't getting any younger and society decided it was time to start a family even if I'm not ready.

Don't let anyone or anything tell you what's right for you. Find your special and never settle for anything less!  

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