A few days ago, I dreamt I was getting married. It was a nightmare.
In my dream, I stood in front of a mirror in a tight-fitting white gown, feeling a swell of panic flood me. It wasn't me. It wasn't what I wanted. I felt trapped. I had to get out. But it was the day of the wedding, all the preparations were made, all the money spent. How could I wriggle my way out of the situation without disappointing everyone around me?
I've never had much of a desire to get married or settle down, and sometimes I wonder if that means there's something wrong with me. Am I immature? Am I selfish? Am I missing out on life? When every song on the radio extolls the importance of falling in love, I wonder what it means that I don't really care to. I'm content to have my dream, my friends and family, and my nice sunny strolls around the park, where I can see flowers bloom in February and listen to birds sing.
Attitudes are changing about single-dom, but it seems that if you are single, you need to be "independent." You need to have the car, the house, the money in the bank. And if you don't? Well, then you're just pathetic. Like one of those basement dwellers the parents yearn to kick out. You're useless, you're lazy, you're a burden to society.
Sometimes I think, if I had a spouse and a family, at least then I could take comfort in that partial success. If I live with my aunt and uncle rent-free, pay for groceries, plan and cook meals five night a week, keep the house relatively clean, work a part-time job, volunteer at the library, and write novels in my spare time--well, clearly, I'm a parasite. But if I were married and did the same thing, I'd be a housewife and that's acceptable.
These are just my own thoughts, my own internalization of what I think society expects from me and the ways (I fail) to measure up. I have to constantly remind myself that I can define success and happiness for myself, that I don't need to live up to some vague, idealized, and ultimately superficial notion of success. Life is more than having all the things people think you should have. Including a relationship.