All my single ladies! Get a dog.
Good morning world.
It's 1:15 am and I have insomnia. This does not happen often, so I thought I would take advantage of it and write. (please ignore delirium).
A short list of things that you do when you can't sleep:
1. toss and turn
2. keep taking sips of water
3. check facebook, instagram, vine, etc.
4. google sci fi theories about the moon
5. google your ex boyfriend and find pictures of his new kid & wife
6. google yourself
7. hate yourself
8. take a melatonin
Number 5 and 9 are linked because I'm going to take this opportunity to discuss a very cliche, yet very real experience. Here are a few facts you need to digest first:
1. I'm single
2. I'm turning 32 in about a week
3. I have either attended, contributed to or witnessed the marriage of almost all of my best and single friends within the last 3 years. (3 of them in the last month!)
This trifecta of life circumstance is creating an odd head space for me. Add to it one failed relationship that ended a few weeks ago, and you have the perfect stew for single lady in her 30s self pity. Picture Renee Zellweger in the opening scene of "Bridget Jones Diary" drinking wine, eating ice cream out of the carton and sing/crying "All By Myself" in her lonely London flat.
Now, I'm not quite that pathetic. I have a life and a lot of stuff going on most of the time that I enjoy very much! (see websites and songs and vocal studio, etc.) But...there is always this mild undercurrent of worry and self pity there. Like I've failed. Failure to launch, I guess they say. If I lived in a Jane Austen book, they would have given up on me by now. I would be an old spinster who they gossiped about and pitied at the garden parties.
But this is freaking 2013. Is there still a stigma on single women in their 30s? Didn't "Sex in the City" break down some of these stereotypes and make it less pathetic and more chic? Didn't everyone want to somehow emulate single Carrie Bradshaw bashing about NYC in her 30s and 40s? . .. I guess.
So why do I have this feeling that I'm not "keeping up with Joneses"? I guess it's because, statisticially, I'm not! 9 out of 10 of my friends are married.
So what does that mean? Does it need to mean anything? Is every phase in life just a phase that comes before the next one? Is any accomplishment or milestone really a measure of how awesome or happy your life is? Or is your happiness quotient actually just measured by contentedness with your state in life IN THE MOMENT. Wouldn't it be possible to be married with kids and feel as if you were somehow missing the mark - somehow less of a parent, or missing out on your career, or just sucking at life in general?
I think the answer is yes. We all take different paths in life. And no matter what those paths look like, our quality of life is based on our ability to be grateful and accept the choices we have made, to enjoy the moments we have.
32 year old ladies with hubbies or kids or careers or kitties or dogs or houses or apartments or crushes - all have the ability to be miserable or happy. It's a choice. And rather than sit around and wonder why our lives look the way they do - and wishing we might have checked off some of the boxes that other people checked off, we might as well try to enjoy what we've got.
We can't live the lives we didn't live. We have to live THIS one.
Also, just for the record - Just because someone is married or has a great job does not mean they are winning. It doesn't mean they are better or hotter or funnier. It just means they met someone they liked enough to keep hanging out with. Or found a job they liked enough to keep doing. Accomplishments to not equal worth! They just represent tenacity, hard work and a little bit of luck.
Ok, so that being said. This is for the single ladies, or men reading this.
GET A DOG.
Now, I know this seems like a total rebound, temporary, materialistic solution to a spiritual and mental perception problem. But I have most definitely decided that that is BULLSHIT! Dogs are love. Dog spelled backwards is God. And you know what, if you are single and lonely, get a pet! You know why you need a pet? Because you have a human need for unconditional love and affection. And that is what dogs do. That is their whole thing in life! They bond with you, become completely loyal to you, and unconditionally love you for the rest of their days. They are also easy for YOU to love. Not to mention the fact that they are warm, soft, funny, joyful, smart, and dependable.
Basically dogs represent every trait that we are searching for in a partner that we can't find. And BONUS, they're not going to break up with you.
Dogs are also an amazing way to practice that big C word that most single peeps in their 30s are afraid of...COMMITMENT. Taking care of a living being is not easy. It requires sacrifice and changing your life around, coming home when you don't want to, waking up earlier than you'd like to, and thinking about, picking up and smelling poop WAY more than you would like to. It teaches you to stick with something even if it's hard, because you love it.
So, I got a dog. And his name is Mr. Knightley. I adopted him at the Animal welfare society in Kennebunk, Maine. He is a little, spunky Jack Russel Terrier mix - with a long, short dachshund body. We fell in love at first sight. When I sing, he howls. When I sleep, he cuddles up next to me. And when I'm lonely, he's always there, looking up at me with love and affection.
I may not be a candidate for one of the Joneses. I can't check off a lot of those boxes that my peers have. But I love my career, and I love my family, and I love my dog. And that is a trifecta of life circumstances that make me want to celebrate!