Life is Not “My Best Friend’s Wedding”

When I was a teenager and adulthood was still a mess of diary entries consisting of my first name scribbled next to my crush’s last name and games of MASH I played with my girlfriends, I imagined my 26-year-old-self to have a very different life. At age 26, which seemed eons away at that point, I would be a famous writer. Or maybe an actress. No wait, a rock star. Oh, hell, who was I kidding? I was the quadruple threat: singer, dancer, actress, and writer. My name, which no one would dare mispronounce anymore, would be known in households across the world. I’d marry my soul mate. Life would be perfect.

Ah, youth, how I miss you. In less than four months, I’ll be 27. I never learned how to dance, and my last singing gig was karaoke at a local bar. Most people still mispronounce my name (or call me Mike). I haven’t exactly published any of my writing yet, and I’m not married.

The last one seems to be the kicker for most people. I’ve found the older I get, the less people know what to do with me when they find out I’m unmarried. When I’m single, they want to get me hooked up ASAP before I turn into Cat Lady (no on seems to listen when I say I hate cats). When I’m dating someone, they want to know if he is the one and if he’ll be popping the question any time soon. And all through this marriage-related game of dodgeball, my 16-year-old-self is asking me, “what the hell happened?”

Whew … that’s a lot of pressure, and, I gotta tell ya, early into 2011, I succumbed to the weight of it all and had myself a mid-twenties crisis. It suddenly dawned on me that 27 was only a few months away, bringing me a mere 3 years closer to 30. I wasn’t anywhere near accomplishing the goals my 16-year-old self outlined for me, and I was running out of time!

Woah, wait, what?? (that’s 26-year-old me calling a time-out) Since when is 30 a deadline for anything in my life? I know I’m a big believer in the whole “life is short” mantra, but it’s not that frickin’ short … right? I mean, where the hell did I get such a crazy idea?

Well, it’s not so crazy when you take a minute to consider some of the messages being harpooned at women over the last few decades. Take the title of this blog post, for example. Anyone remember the movie My Best Friend’s Wedding? Julia Roberts’ character makes a pact with her best friend agreeing that they would marry each other if neither of them had gotten married by age 28. Twenty-freaking-eight! The movie came out when I was about 14, and at the time, 28 seemed like an all-too-reasonable age to make such a pact. At 26, it’s absolutely ludicrous!

Let me give you a piece of advice that I wish I would’ve had a long time ago: People are constantly going to barrage you with the future. They want you to plan for it in minutia until all you can see when you look in the mirror is the 90-year-old you. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Plan for the future. Be prepared. Be responsible. Then set the future aside for awhile and take a look at what you’ve got today. Live it. Love it. Enjoy it. Because life is short.

But it’s not so short that you have to make rash decisions by certain landmark ages in order to consider yourself successful or even worthy of approval by the rest of society. So I’m headed into 27 not knowing if I’ll ever get married. What’s the big deal? Right now, right at this moment, I can say that I’ve achieved a lot in my mere 26 years, and I’m happy with that. And you know what? I really don’t care who “approves.”

Love and broken pacts,

Mika

Advertisements

~ by Mika Doyle on January 28, 2011.

18 Responses to “Life is Not “My Best Friend’s Wedding””

  1. I’m glad you’re happy with 26 and single. Statistically, you have a better chance of avoiding divorce and if you do get married, you will have a basic understanding of yourself; which many young brides (and grooms) miss when they move from their parent’s house over the marital threshold.

    As far as the pressure, if you get married, people will start asking when you’re going to have a kid, then another kid. It won’t stop so it seems if you have the right idea now!

    • Thanks, Eric. You make some really great points that I didn’t touch on in this post. A part of my inspiration for this post was this realization that I have so much more life to live and explore before I feel ready for the commitment of marriage, and, ultimately, I think that will make me a better spouse when I finally do take the plunge. I feel much more at peace with myself and my life now that I’ve made an agreement with myself (and no one else) not to rush certain things in my life.

      And you’re right — societal pressure never stops. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. I actually have some married friends who get really annoyed by the “kids” question. They just adopted a puppy, and that’s enough for them at this stage in their lives.

  2. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Cheers to a happy life, single or not, and living every day to the very best.

    And cheers to hating cats. 🙂
    -Caitlin

  3. Agreed, agreed, agreed! I’d rather be happy by myself than miserable with someone else, just so I can have that plus one. Great post!

  4. Hi Mika

    I’d agree- don’t run your life by other people’s schedule.

    I didn’t get married until I was 31. And, while it’s been hard work at certain points,our marriage is still going strong, while most of the folks around us are divirced and on their 2nd or 3rd marriage.

    Don’t get married or have a baby because the clock is ticking. Do it because you love that person, because it’s the right choice at the right time, no matter what other people think.

    I’d also, though, revisit your 16 yo’s goals and decide if they still apply to you. It’s as easy to get trapped in outmoded goals as it is in the expectations of others…

    Catherine
    Foresight

    • “I’d also, though, revisit your 16 yo’s goals and decide if they still apply to you. It’s as easy to get trapped in outmoded goals as it is in the expectations of others…”

      What great advice, Catherine. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the big dreams we had as kids that we don’t really see how successful we are as adults. Over the years, I’ve realized “success” is defined differently for each person and that it’s important for me to define and redefine what I think makes me successful. Thanks for the insightful comment!

  5. That movie ruined so many lives. That and “Father of the Bride.” Life is too short to worry about measuring up to the standards and expectations of others. What really matters is that you’re satisfied with who you are and how you spend your time. Still, nobody’s perfect. I have to remind myself each day that I can’t do anything great until I’ve gained enough experience. Without rookie mistakes and nurtured youthful enthusiasm, it’s hard to produce anything of worth.

    Deadlines are good motivators, but only if they’re reasonable. Mike – I mean – Mika, I’ve always admired the way you express yourself. You are honest, straight-forward, and engaging. I have no doubt that, if you choose to write, you will publish something extraordinary. Keep that chin up!

    • haha thanks, Ashley! It’s so great to hear from you :). I really appreciate you taking the time to read my stuff.

  6. As you know, I’ve always hated romantic comedies. And it’s all for reasons like this – they make you doubt your success, think you’re “behind,” and create unreachable fantasies.

    Now, it’s possible that sometimes a girl does end up marrying the guy with whom she had a talk at TGIFriday’s at 17 about just getting married if they make it to 30 and are still single. It’s possible, but there’s gotta be more to that story than meets the eye, too, and it ain’t always pretty. Or, so I would guess…

    Fairytales are just that – and none of us is living one! And the future comes, no matter how hard we dig in our heels and often in spite of our planning for it. Such is life.

    Also, people mess up my name all the time, too. You’re not alone! 🙂

    • I now understand your abhorrence of romantic comedies, Andrea, er, Athena, er, Anthea! 😛 I actually never thought of it that way. Until now, I always saw them as escapist movie-going. Oh how wrong I was!

      • Well, sometimes romantic comedies are problematic because they set up unrealistic expectations; but soemtimes they’re not.

        Look at all the Katherine Hepburn screwball romantic comedies, where the guy finds out that he’s in love with the girl who’s interesting, as opposed to the “perfect one” who meets standard societal expectations. Or the ones she did with Spencer Tracey, where the right guy’s not the fashion plate, but the guy with common sense and the heart of gold

        There’s something wise in there

        As for me, I married my best friend, which is a classic romantic comedy theme. And 21 years later, it’s still working for us 🙂 …

        Catherine
        Foresight

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bobby Mesa, Bobby Mesa. Bobby Mesa said: New Blog Post! Life is Not "My Best Friend's Wedding" – When I was a teenager and adulthood was still a mess of diar… http://ow.ly/1b51ZS […]

  8. Wait ’til you’re 51! People REALLY don’t know what to do with the unmarried then!

    And why isn’t it “un-single”?

    • I think that depends on the kind of people you chose to hang out with.

      Standard society can find that awkward. On the other hand, I spend time with such communities as the renaissance faire circuit, medieval reenactors, writers, and the science fiction fantasy fandom community, and all of them seem far less likely to be expect everyone to “go in two-by-two” and embarassed if they’re not. I’m sure that there’s quite a number of societal subsets that don’t put them emphasis on whether you’ve paired off or not.

      And I think that communities that accept you as you are, as opposed to how they want you to be are excellant

      Catherine

      Foresight

    • “Un-single” — Love it! We have a great way of using language to be judgemental without even meaning to be.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: