Saturday, November 05, 2005

Single is saddening?

A friend emailed me yesterday. She had recently got engaged to some guy after having given the nod based on two telephone conversations - both of which, I am fairly sure, were the "lets see how much we can impress each other" kind. And here I am, paranoid about the eventual yes I might have to give some guy after my alloted 6-months to assess our compatibility. To satiate your curiosity about the "6-month ultimatum": it was a compromise between my hypothesis that you should live with someone for a while to be anywhere close to "assessing" compatibilities with them(which I did not dare to voice out loud using these exact words and when I tried a subtler, less forbidden version it came out sounding a soap-opera-ish "It takes a long time to really get to know someone") and the general parental 3-step strategy of 'look at resume - talk once - walk once'. We finally reached upon the 6-month-concensus after I convinced them that I will conform to their norms - just that the walk would be a long one. And they gave in, fearing that if they dint, the walk would turn into a run, and the run, into a run-away. While that sure was nostalgic to many, funny to a few, and insipid to the rest, the purpose of this entry is to disorient you in other ways. But I promise to chew on this topic some other day.

Reverting back to my friend, she and her fiance are now in the "getting to know each other" mode. And she is thoroughly enjoying having someone to fuss over her - quite fair: what more can one ask for than dedicated servicing? In her email to me, she had written "I hope you find your guy soon too - so that you can enjoy like I am enjoying." I was aghast. When did a single life become so agonizing that finding a partner was like the ultimate salvation from the excruciating pain? This is not a sole instance. After congratulating him on his new job, my college-mate's professor told him "Now, in a few months, I am sure you will want to be married". If he was prophesizing, wow, that is something; but if he was voicing his vote for escaping from single life, man, he should read this blog entry!

I am sure it cant get better than having a loving, committed partner to enjoy the bounties of life with. But being single does not mean you are down in the depressed dumps either.

Being single and independent is a liberating feeling. 1) While it is definitely relieving to have someone to descend all your worries upon and lay-back in the comfort that there is someone to divide your agony in half, it is bliss to grab it in full, solve it in solitary, and lay-back in the pride of achievement. 2) As cheesy as it may sound - you have a soul-mate in you who loves you exactly the way you love yourself - isnt this also what you look for in a third-party life-partner who lives in a different (and if you are lucky, a Brad-Pitt-ish looking :p) body? So how bad can it be to live for and live by yourself for a little bit of your life? [3) And then of course, you have all the time in the world to write desultory blogs on obscure topics to be read by other singles.]

Apart from those vaguely convincing set of reasons, I have my personal favourite. I want to establish a "me" before becoming a "we". There are things that I want to and need to learn by myself before I can do a combined-studies with my life-partner - there are things that one cannot learn once bonded in a life-long hookup (and maybe that is for the good, you think?). I have nothing against marriage - its a lovely institution and one that I will gladly be a part of pretty soon. But being single is an institution too - if you can call anything that teaches you, an institution.

"Sure thing!", I wrote, when I replied to her email, "I'm next in line :)"


Morris said...

Being single is okay. It reduces the complexity in your life, and definately makes things much more simple because you don't have to fuss with birth control and worry about getting knocked up.

Mr. Morris
Ask Morris

Guhan said...

"Being a single and independent is a liberating feeling"

Question to be asked is ... Is there an upper limit to that feeling of liberation ? Does it get mundane in course of time ? Maybe the whole thing is just a process of growing up and becoming mature. Depends totally on the individual when that happens in life.

Interesting topic. And very nice photo blog too !

Found your blog link via Orkut. You from ASU ???

Harini Sridharan said...

Hi Guhan,

Thanks for the comment.

I agree. As the blog also pronounces, my voice is against the proclaims that single life is a drudgery from which marriage is a redemption rather than against the niceties of having a life partner. Thatz about it.

And about the 'life getting mundane' issue you bring up, life, both single or married, has an equal probability of becoming mundane - and either way it lies in you to keep up the joie de vivre :)

An alumni of ASU. Now in the bay area.

Guhan said...

absolutely true. it is just upto the individual to keep things interesting :-)

even i got my MS from ASU. now doing my phd at ohio state. what do u do in CA ?

when u find time, do check out my blog.

Soham said...

Well said. Unless and until you don't come to know yourself well, it is near impossible to judge your partner-expectations well.

It is still ok if you get married before you embark on this un-initiated journey of personal discovery (I mean age 20-22), but once the quest is kicked off, its best to wait until it reaches a 'milestone'.

Definition of this 'milestone' is what is important. True, it's very subjective, but one can't wait too long for it, because adjustability (a key ingredient in relationships) is a decreasing function of age.

From what you write, it looks like you have reached your milestone - and thats why you are receptive to your parents requests - which is a good thing. I wish you all the best in your journey :-)

deepak said...

great post.. especially the 'me' to 'we' statement.

"we are born dependent, and have to become independent *before* commiting to an interdependent life"

[fyi, deepak/asu/malaysia trip]

Harini Sridharan said...

Thanks, all :)

Sripathi said...

You are ready for marriage when you ready to graduate from independence to interdependence. Most people never get to the independence stage. They just hop from being dependent on their parents/friends to spouse.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, key is to get married before 28 for guys and 24 for gals. Not good to be single and independent for long in USA.


Anonymous said...

"lets see how much we can impress each other" kind is way too true with most of the pairs these days and each one's identity is lost in the process and tend to be opposite after the marriage...

Kiran said...

that was well said. I always feel being Independent and single is when you realize what you have and what you want. Of course the "want / should " is always influenced by practicality. I want a Ferrari but i should rather settle for... :)
This also guides you with how you layout your partner expectations.
"lets see how much we can impress each other"
as somebody who has started on the journey towards marriage i keep telling my folk this same exact words when they ask me to speak to someone. but i always believe in the fact "Better to be hated for who you are than loved for someone you are not."
Just stumbled across your blog when reading some random things yesterday night.
Good luck with everything and hope you find a partner as independent thinking as you and as happy as you are.


Harini Sridharan said...

Thanks, Kiran :)