It’s Not So Bad Being Selfish
Dear High School Yearmates,
It’s been about five years since we’ve left Sixth Form, and in that time I have had exactly one steady boyfriend, completed two tertiary degrees, and spent part of my summers on holiday in the Poconos and The Hamptons. Some of you, on the other hand, have not only made advances in your education, but managed to find the loves of your life, had babies, and in some cases gotten divorced (ouch!).
I can’t say that every time I see a new photo of you all pop up on my social media homepage that I don’t feel a twinge of jealousy, but surprisingly the most overwhelming emotion is relief that it’s not me, proudly declaring that “after x years together, he’s finally asked and I have the privilege of declaring YES!”.
With each post I am confronted with a basic fact.
I am selfish.
In previous discussions and observations with ladies of the older generations, women who professed that they had no desire to get married or have children were immediately – and harshly – branded as selfish, and I never fully grasped the rationale behind it, until now.
Seeing you all proudly declare your status as ‘wifey’, ‘Mrs. So & So’, ‘Fiancée’ and ‘Mum (to be)’, let me know that I am not only wholly unprepared for any of those titles, but I have no desire to put anyone before myself right now.
I don’t want to have to consider someone else’s feeling about what to have for dinner tonight, contemplate how on Earth someone can grow out of their school uniform in six months, or prioritise lunch money and life insurance over my desire to own a deliciously gorgeous handbag I spotted in the shopping centre last weekend. And I am more than OK with that.
There are a lot of things I want to accomplish on my own before deciding to settle down; there are still so many aspects of my personality that I need to explore before committing to another human being… or several, as the case maybe! It would in no way be fair to fasten myself to the role of wife and mother before I’ve even fully accepted myself.
Not to mention, at this age there is still so much of the world to see and explore, and I love the fact that I have the option to spontaneously decide to teach English in Japan, South Korea or France, or that a plate of authentic Pad Thai or Som Tam is only a few plane rides away. Now, there is no guarantee that I will definitely do either of those things anytime soon, but idealistically they are as good a plan as any: the possibilities are infinite.
Now, I know that we are no longer living in an age where a woman is completely beholden to her father, then husband and children and by virtue of being married is figuratively limited to the five kilometre radius of her kitchen stove. I have witnessed several happily married women going after their dreams whether it took them across the country or on the other side of the world, with the love and support of their husbands, and that is truly beautiful, but I have no doubt that the story that is not being told by those encouraging Facebook posts or stunning Instagram photos is that it is exceedingly difficult to be away from your spouse. That is another emotional dilemma and level of sacrifice that I am not prepared to make.
I like the flow of my life right now, not having to worry about how any decision I make will impact anyone but my mum and dad, at the most. I like having the time to do whatever is I want. I like having no clue where I could possibly be next.
So cheers, girls, I will no doubt be inquiring to mutual friends about your hen nights, stalking your wedding albums, liking your sonograms and commenting that your baby is ‘soooo cute!’, and while you are living your lives of domestic bliss (which you deserve!), I will be having a lie in this weekend, making impromptu brunch plans, and planning my next holiday.