Thursday, June 30, 2011

weddings as happy days as the culmination of a series of choices

I have been very pleased to have been able to attend a couple weddings of friends of mine both recently and about 6 months ago. Furthermore, my schedule should hold up well enough for me to attend another one in August. This is in stark contrast to much of last year when I missed three weddings while I was mired in Africa. These next couple years look to be the ones where many more friends will get married. Weddings are fun and pleasantly low stress for non-participants. Actual participants have a fair bit of work to do but for everyone else it’s a party and everyone likes a party except for maybe this guy. Offbeat generational film references aside, everyone is presumably there by choice and gathered to celebrate something that is, simply put, positive.

If you’re concerned this is heading towards something that belongs on Lifetime, fret not, as we will venture back to the titular topic of choices. There is a feeling I want to convey about seeing so many friends in long-term relationships and either married or rapidly moving that direction. It is the classic 'what if' feeling of wondering how my life might have gone differently with a different set of choices. I don't want to project a sense of envy or jealousy onto my friends as they are my friends so of course I want them to be happy and have good lives but there is no doubt that I look and see something different than what I have. The counterpoint is that for all I know, people look at my life and think I am living some life of adventure, travel and have become an international playboy/spy (maybe?) and wonder what they are missing out on. The answer is airline miles. That is what you are missing out on. I can assure the CIA that I am not a spy (yet and thus theoretically employable) and assure my friends that I am not living the high life of decadent luxury and meaningless sex. I am living a life. I am living the end result of a series of choices I have made including choices of both action and inaction. In that same vein, we don't get to live out every possible scenario of our lives that presents itself. Well, at least not in the particular dimension that you are aware of. We make choices and the different branches of opportunity are winnowed down. However, over time, new and different branches appear.

(Other than airline miles, you are missing out on the travel and the culture and what is generally a very exciting life that I think I do an amazing job of making it sound quite boring. While I may think 'what if' at times I also think that the apartment/condo/house and couple-hood and suburbia or gentrified urban living is so mundane. This isn't embedded reporter status in Afghanistan, but it's no Pleasantville either.)

Back on our starting topic, relationships are the result of choices. People do not apathize their way into a long-term relationship and expect to be happy about it. (You say that apathize isn't a word? It is now!) And long-term ones require many active choices that I have elected to not make for quite some time and that speaks to my own priorities, regardless of whether or not I have even been fully aware of them. My friends did not just wake up one day and find themselves in five-year relationships. (If anyone did, you should probably see a doctor.) For every one of my friends who is already married or soon-to-be married or not-soon-to-be married-but-already-dating-the-last-person-you-will-ever-date, I extend my congratulations. A long series of choices has resulted in something positive that you must now keep making good choices about to keep. Meanwhile, I will make my choices over here. I think there is a BBQ in the grotto tomorrow.

1 comment:

happily... said...

Why get married? To get divorce later...