the nonsensical musings of a clueless twenty something

Optimism and Other Things that Change


When I was young(er) I wrote a book entitled “Sarah the Cardinal and Adam the Blue Jay (the creative part of my brain was still developing…cut me some slack).”

Sarah and Adam fell madly in love after a viewing of Aladdin at the drive-in, lived under a thousand rainbows, and reproduced copiously whilst living happily ever after in their 2-story bird mansion. It happened.

Seriously.

In my fragile, malleable little mind, this is how relationships worked. Actually, to this day, I find myself moderately surprised when they don’t end in rainbows and monogamy (blind optimism, you slay me!).

I was always told that relationships serve the purpose of finding what you can and can’t tolerate in a person (sneaky, sneaky way of convincing you that they each hold some valuable meaning and are worth the hours spent sobbing into faux-feather pillows. Disagree!).

The idea here,  is that you eventually come out with a relatively polished version of your perfect mate (and then cry yourself to sleep nightly because you realize the hybrid of Edward Cullen and Paul Walker doesn’t actually exist).

I am obsessed with relationships. And people, and the success and failure of marriage and the actions and words of people who proclaim to the mountain tops this notion of love.

And I used to believe so adamantly in it.

This is not where I throw a pity party and stab at the injustices of my past relationships.

This is where I simply inquire if love and relationships and marriage, like the rest of the world, are just not what they used to be?

Thoughts?

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This entry was published on April 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

10 thoughts on “Optimism and Other Things that Change

  1. MaryJo on said:

    I think our generation, Generation Me (a book you should totally read), falls for the fantasy of getting married. Having big extravagant weddings to focus on “me” is not what a marriage should be about. Getting engaged when you’re a freshman in college just to wait 3 more years after only one year of dating is not what marriage should be about…just so a ring is on the finger and can be paraded around. I don’t things young people take into the reality of marriage, that it’s not just lollipops and candy canes. (I don’t know where that came from:P) It’s a lot of work and it takes two people to make it work. I’m not sure I quite understand the logic behind everyone popping out babies and THEN getting married. Our generation seems a little backwards.

    • I’m with you. I think the birth of children is also what is giving people the notion that marriage is appropriate as well (even when their relationship isn’t near healthy enough to support a child and marriage).

      I’ve thought about marriage before and when I did I’m not shy to admit that I thought about the big wedding and the big ring and so on. However, after that relationship, I met someone who I assumed I would marry. And when I considered marrying him, all I could think about was life together. I wouldn’t have cared if there was scrap metal on my finger. It’s how you know the difference I suppose. I don’t know! It’s a lot to think about.

  2. This is such foreign territory to me! I’ve spent most of my life running away from relationships; it’s only recently that I’ve started trying (mostly in earnest) to make my current relationship work. I’ve never understood romance or romantic love. Only writing about a budding romance between two younguns is helping me finally see what about the experience so captivates people, but I still feel like I’m a couple decades late to catch the drift.

    Interesting reflections, and ones for which I wish I had a better response than, “Um?”

  3. I don’t draw the line between marriage and love that I think most people do. The US has created economic incentives to get married which I think (along with the Judea-Christian roots of a lot of people) makes marriage seem like something that always WILL and always SHOULD happen. If we broaden our discussion to the entire world and take a look at Sweden, most people DON’T get married. They have babies and cohabitate without legally connecting themselves explicitly because of the risk of divorce. So to me, marriage and love are two separate things. I think you can have either without the other.

    And for me, love is very simple: I love someone when I desire to be around them as much as possible despite all of the flaws they have exposed to me. If I can look past their flaws, and be myself, and have them know EVERYTHING about me, and have them feel the same way? That’s love to me.

    And finally, I think people change. No one stays the same forever, and if two people change in different ways that make it no longer desirable to be together, I think it makes a lot of sense to part ways. But I don’t think that invalidates everything that came before you know?

    Anyway I’ll stop rambling now 🙂

    • I really like the way that you separated love and marriage. I haven’t really thought about it like that before I suppose. So many people make love “conditional” instead of “unconditional.”

      Maybe instead of knocking my belief in it I should just change my perspective, eh?

      Who knows…I feel like I’ve got a lot of time to figure it out.

      • MaryJo on said:

        I like that you mentioned people making love conditional instead of unconditional. I came across a quote once that said something like “A person should never say ‘I love you, but…’ Love should be unconditional. I definitely agree with Kate’s definition of love. After dealing with BS from boys over the years and the lessons I have learned, I think I have a clearer view of what love is. Yes, love is blind and you can’t help who you fall in love with, but as long as both people accept each other on their good and bad days, does the rest really matter?

        That’s why I think it is crazy for all the people I see getting married soon after they graduate to people they’ve known for less than a year and have not lived with. You learn EVERYTHING about someone when you live with them. That’s why so many 20-somethings end marriages only after a year or two because they see living habits that they can’t deal with or change. I think in today’s world, you have to be smart about marriage. Sure, some our parents married young and probably didn’t know each other longer than two years before getting married. Some are still together, but most are not. It just depends. I just can’t imagine myself getting married, right now, at age 22.

      • And I think that’s key… it’s whatever you define love as 🙂 And yeah you have time to figure out what’s going to make you happy! A lot of the time I think people just meet someone and at some point look up and realize they couldn’t picture their lives without that person. That’s what I define as love, and the rest is just icing (on the wedding cake ;))

  4. jgavinallan on said:

    I love what Mary Jo pointed out concerning conditional love. There is no such animal. I also understand those who feel a certain age is not an age to marry. To those people; what if you find the right person at 20, or even 25? Remember the poem, “The Road not Taken.” A failed marriage is a horrendous experience, but living in regret is no bargain either.
    Maybe that is why all my stories are sad?

    Nice sight. I like the way you write

  5. nata_says_so on said:

    Well, as a married person I am obviously pro-marriage, but under a strict set of circumstances.

    First, no one should need to talk their partner into it. Mutual desire=win, proding + poking + giving in= sinking ship. Second, you need a while together before the ring is on the finger or the vows are spoken. My husband and I were dating for six years before we got engaged, and seven before the wedding day. Yes this was in part due to us meeting at such a young age, but if we had met five years later and still have married at the same time, we’d be doneskies already. Waiting a long time meant that we knew each other reeeeeeeeeaaaaally well before we committed, and it also meant that we could see whether we were a couple who grow together or grow apart. Which is my third requirement to determine whether marriage is on the cards.

    You HAVE to be together long enough to have experienced some significant personal development, and still be able to look carefully at your relationship and say ‘yeah, this feels right’ or ‘we’re actually better together now than we used to be, cool!’ (without it being that you or he have stripped yourself down and become a totally different person in order to fit what the other person wants/demands…there’s a difference between personal development and you and your partner teaming up to demolish and rebuild you).

    Marriage isn’t what it used to be because it used to be something everybody aimed for without question and just lived in misery if it was a mistake. Now more people choose to stay unmarried or end up divorced when it was a mistake, but at least we’re choosing happiness as the ultimate goal instead of looking good in front of everybody. Pride and protection of pride seemed to be the goal for most, and marriages lasted for all the wrong reason as a result.

    Today, marriage could be a great thing if people weren’t choosing to either hate it or run at it full tilt. These decisions are important and no amount of euphoric love drugs should make anyone jump into it too soon. I don’t care if he is perfect and you are amazing together and all of your friends seem to be doing it, take your frigging time, don’t bug him about it, don’t focus on the ring or the day (personally at the end of my wedding day I turned to my husband and said ‘well that was a great day, it all went really well and I’m so happy…but let’s never do that again, mkay?’ and he was like ‘yeah, I’m glad we did it, but thank God that’s over’. I suppose that shows we weren’t about the wedding, we were about the marriage.), and take it slooooowwwwww.

    I don’t think love or marriage ever were like the disney princesses experience, but I think when it’s done right its just as good as it always was.

    Wow, shut me up, right?

    You are awesome and I love your thought-provoking posts.

    -nata

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