Recently, I ran into a friend’s mother. She asked if I was married, and if I had children.
“No,” I told her, and her voice took on something that sounded like pity.
“Ohh, that’s OK,” she said. “It’ll happen someday.”
I’ve accomplished many things in my 39 years.
I lived in New York. I drove around the country by myself. I’ve eaten an entire ribeye at Bob’s Steak and Chophouse, and then ordered the brownie sundae. And yet, she felt sorry for me, because I had yet to achieve what women in her generation saw as fundamental to a good life.
But we live in a time when our ideas about marriage are changing.
Gay couples can get hitched, and women like me can enjoy decades of full passports and satisfying romance without ever needing a marriage license.
Many of my friends are married. Many are divorced. Some of them twice. And what we have in common is that we struggle, not because we made the wrong choices, but because life demands occasional struggling.
Just like finishing the ribeye at Bob’s, greatness requires work.
For the record, I actually would like to get married and have a family one day. But I don’t feel an ounce of queasiness about waiting til it’s right.
What I think we all need to remember is that fulfillment is not a universal prescription. It is as individual as our fingerprint. Some women take the highway to a domestic life. Some women prefer to roam the scenic backroads in a beat-up Honda.
I know what my friend’s mother was trying to say: "I want you to be happy." And all I’m trying to say is that I already am.