SPOCK: We must have faith.
SPOCK: That the universe will unfold as it should.
Who knew that a post on being single would kick up so much dust? (Well, Steve did. That’s why he writes them all the time. :-)
In Part One, I said that I had decided that I didn’t need a husband to validate my attractiveness as a woman or to be happy. Now that may sound like a feminist axiom, but it isn’t; not the version to which I subscribe in 2005.
The feminist version of this truism is based on two very dangerous emotions: pride and anger. For me, it was anger that produced it and fed it; anger at some suitors, sure, however the fury was more primal. I was angry at my biological father, with whom I had had no contact until I was thirty-five (still haven’t met him face-to-face). I am far more blessed than many people in that two good men stepped into my sire’s place and continue to fulfill their commitment (even though one is dead). However, I’ve always been conscious of that initial rejection, merely upon speaking my own last name. It is the only thing that my father has ever given me.
Therefore, my pride kept me from being too vulnerable, too trusting.
Pride and anger carried me for quite some time and intensified to a white-hot pitch in the aftermath of my divorce. But what do you get from pride and anger? You get “depression.” You get depressed because pride and anger feed on themselves and leave the Real You out in the cold. You begin to tell yourself lies; about other people and about yourself. And--worst of the worst--you start believing your own BS. And either you become a bitter, old creature to be avoided or you succumb to one of those diseases of depression.
As Mr. Dalrymple asserts, much of what people call depression--chemical imbalances excluded--is really some shred of common sense that may exist to inform an individual of the need for change: of company, of condition, etc. You’re either making bad decisions—from incomplete information or faulty judgment--or you’re blundering through life, urges first and brains second (assuming that the latter exists). From that, it can be concluded that changes in the external need to be preceded by changes in the internal; in attitude and in perspective.
The new premise behind my embrace of the aforementioned axiom is a simple one: faith. (Now I can here all you non-Christians groaning, but, well, too bad.)
This is what Paul said about marriage:
7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.(1 Corinthians 7:7-11, KJV)
8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.
9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
Now I didn’t depart, husband did. However, what can we glean from Paul’s words? Here’s my take on it: that if God doesn’t want me to remarry, then I will be happy *not married.* Not just out of the blue, but “having faith that the universe will unfold as it should”--as God wants it to--and going forth to obtain a satisfying life from there, married or not. That means working toward the things that will make me personally happy by heeding that most prolific Fount of common sense. And having faith that he will help me not to *burn.* :-)
Sounds selfish? It is. But who can say whether pursuing my own happiness will bring happiness to others or not? Think about “unselfish” sorts like Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King. Think they were attempting to make themselves happy via their life-works—helping to forge a better existence for some group?
I hope you see my point. (Don’t worry. I’m not considering taking a vow of poverty just now.)
Possessing faith and changing what demonstrably needs to be changed; neither is as simple as they sound. But they work infinitely better than lamenting on those things that cannot be changed. The Past is primary among these.
So, when it comes to finding oneself single and childless in one’s forties, only one choice remains to be made: to *decide* whether to be happy or not. By that time, you know what will achieve happiness and what won’t (hopefully).
(Side Rant: the biological clock business really irritates me. Have a baby because time’s running out? What happened to being reasonably sure that all conditions are in play to ensure that your offspring can be brought into functioning, responsible adulthood? I’m a selfish critter to be sure, but even I can see that any woman who goes out and gets pregnant merely because time is short and she hasn’t yet present her Trophy Spawn to the world—father, temperament and financial stability be damned--is the most selfish of beings. Sorry, girls, but your DNA isn’t all that special. Neither is mine.)
I still have questions as to what will make me happy/unhappy--some answers, as well. I do know this: I ain’t takin’ “whatever washes up on the beach,” as one of Steve’s readers so eloquently put it. Why not? Because I don’t have to and it’s not because I’m “all that and a bag of chips.” No one has to. Ever.
This morning I woke up and discovered that I was happy. Of course, there are still changes to be made, but I have the power to implement them, due to the fact that I’m still breathing. And still single. And still not settling for less.
BROOKS AND RED: Get busy living or get busy dying.
(Pretty neat trick to get Star Trek dialogue, a biblical quote and a line from a Tim Robbins movie in the same post, no?)
P.S. I bought Dennis Prager’s book Happiness is a Serious Problem some months back but I haven’t opened it yet. It will be interesting to see whether his take on the subject differs significantly from mine.
UPDATE: Happy Twenty-Eighth Birthday to my "Little" sister, Sowsan (Sowsan is five-ten). I hope you get to read what's on that which passes for my mind and that it somewhat fulfills that "Big Sister" quotient to which I have been negligent.