We are now back home, under a grey sky and comfy blankets. I can’t stop recalling the moments spent with my family over the weekend. L met all my relatives and managed to stay calm, happy and smiley, which was quite impressive. I somehow tried to schedule appointments with other friends but only succeeded in saying hello to a couple of them because time flies when you go back home for only three days. We ate lots of good food, drank very good wine and spent nights talking to my sisters before going to bed. I’ll try to forget I went to the dentist and it hurt.
Now we are back to our British routine. I am the kind of person who needs a routine, that’s why I usually struggle during the first few months in a new city. I am now settling down: doing the same things over and over again gives me time to breathe, to concentrate on each one and to get through the day being more grateful. Part of our routine is to spend our Sunday mornings in the beautiful park you see in the pictures.
Now though, I will have to add an extra element to my routine. Let me start from the beginning.
My sister M is finally getting married. We knew it was going to happen eventually, we just didn’t know when. Now they have an official date, which means that proper wedding talks have begun. In a family where 5 out of 6 siblings are girls, marriage has always been part of the daily chats in a more or less subtle way. My mom hopes we will marry well in the same way Mrs Bennet did, and my dad pretends not to care but doesn’t miss a word of our wedding-related chats. I myself have always had mixed feelings about the topic, marriage is a complex world that shouldn’t be treated lightly. I was never sure it was the thing for me.
On the one side, I have many friends who are having kids without being married or simply having long lasting relationships without any sort of official commitment. I can see that they are perfectly happy even without rings on their fingers, their point being that they appreciate more their partner is not leaving them even when they could, rather than because they can’t by law. Some or just happy the way they are, or don’t believe in the institution of marriage as the guardian angel of a love.
To be honest, I understand both ways of living a relationship. Marriage is a h u g e commitment, therefore I appreciate those who stand up to it and decide not to keep their options open. There’s also the point of view of research, which being a research-lover I always take into consideration. As stated in The paradox of choice (which I talked about here), married couples make a bigger effort to stay together even when everything is going wrong – because it will, eventually – then those who are not married. Knowing that if you fail, you’ll have to face a strong social reaction together with the expenses of a divorce is a great deterrent.
Furthermore, in the culture I grew up in weddings are still part of a wider tradition that celebrates family as the building unit of society and I have to admit that I myself feel that social pressure. The ghost of my old self getting old alone, in a dirty place, without anyone who used to know me to talk to, hunts my long term plans and is already making me feel depressed as I’m writing.
On the other hand, weddings are impossibly expensive and if a couple is lucky enough to be blessed by true love, then they should be able to stay together no matter what, ring or no ring. Now that the spiritual side of the religious celebration is fading, why should we go to a church we don’t really belong to anymore to celebrate love in front of a God we are not so sure will understand us? I meditate almost every morning and I try to cultivate a spiritual life, though it is as hard as it could possibly be.
And yet, research is showing us that we are human. Humans need rules, to-do lists, alarm clocks and agendas to keep their lives under control, to achieve goals and be successful. We need constraints to perform better. Plus, do I prefer a man who is willing to throw away the key of his Singledom to chaise the waives of life with me or would I rather choose someone who keeps the key in the safe but claims he won’t use it? I know he will sometimes think about that key and what would happen if he used it. We all do, it’s normal: when things go wrong we always consider the easiest option. I know I’m about to suggest a very stupid comparison, but if I have to follow a diet I would rather not buy the chocolate at the supermarket than buy it anyway and then claim I’ll resist to temptation – everybody who knows me well enough knows that I’d eat the bar in less than a week anyway.
That is why I think my final decision would be to have a man who is sure enough of his commitment to me to throw his singleness away for me. It’s true, divorce rates are high and a marriage is not an insurance against broken hearts, but to me it is a step in the direction I want a love story to take. That’s why I said.. yes. (And now, if you look closer, you’ll appreciate the photos a bit more).
That was quite a difficult post to write, thank you for those who took the time to read it all.