My cousin, Henry, is getting married this weekend. If his sister, Holly, marries her boyfriend after him, then we’ll be going in birth order of the cousins. First my sister, then Henry, then Holly, and that leaves me before my younger cousins, Andrew [fifteen] and William [ten]. At least I have a few years.
Anyway, this wedding has got me thinking, mostly about being the free agent in a mass of couples. It’s not as much of an enviable position as you would think, despite that they are all gracious in sharing their lives with me, and willing to include me in their day-to-day.
I don’t have a vast and sprawling group of friends, but it isn’t small, and it is certainly varied. And despite the different lives everyone is walking, I still manage to be The Single Friend [or Cousin…]. For everyone. No, really. Even if my friends are not romantically attached to each other, they are still paired off into their own functional units, whether it be with their roommates or neighbors or bff’s.
Because I am now coming to be Of An Age where it’s the natural way of my peers to pair off and settle down. Now is the time of weddings and babies and christenings. People I went to high-school with have families of their own.
So, I’m often at odds with myself. I savor my independence [such that it is owning a dog] and take great pleasure in answering only to myself. More and more often lately I’ve been wanting to strike off on my own [again] and find myself a little cabin in the woods that I can set up a forge next to and make metal things and write stories and have chickens running around in the yard. And maybe a goat. I’m flexible on the goat part.
But, I want babies. And an adult to cook for, and someone to be part of my functional unit, and romance and stupid, giddy love. So, where is my piece of the puzzle?
And yet, here I am. Thinking. There was an e-mail going around a couple of years ago that talked about the quarter life crisis. Among other things, it highlights the battle of ennui and enthusiasm that we all feel when we’re in our twenties. Snapping between wild confidence and crippling anxiety and the constant conflicting questions. What Next? What am I doing with myself? Who cares what I do? What will people think of what I do? I don’t want to do anything with myself. I want to change the world. What the hell is wrong with me?
It’s exhausting, and it’s precisely the reason that I spend as much time as I do in my own head. Why I read constantly, or write this blog.
We don’t want to inflict ourselves on the world, but at the same time, we’re aching for it.
Or maybe it’s just me.