“Four years?!?” I exclaimed when Mr. W and I first brought up talk of moving in with each other a month or two ago. We were both too scared to even mention the “M” word, but my sister’s recent visit to introduce her fiancé had me reeling and questioning my own life. While we’ve been together for 1.5 years, Mr. W and I are in agreement that neither one of us wants to give up our homes in the now. We both love being together, and spend every weekend with each other. But we also enjoy having our own place to come home to at night. We enjoy that quiet time of not having to speak if we don’t want to. Frankly, we are still enjoying our independence way too much to combine our homes and our families. Besides, one of us (most likely me) would be moving from our home town to reside in the other’s town. That would mean uprooting the kids from their schools and their friends, and having a much longer commute every day. It’s not an easy change either of us wanted to make in the present.
But when I brought up future talk that involved moving in together, he mentioned that it most likely won’t happen until after his son graduates high school. And since his son is a freshman….
This is going to sound so silly. So please don’t think less of me. But I have been inundated with thoughts about the end of the world. And seeing the movie 2012 did not help any. In the back of my mind I am worried that in two years time, life as we know it will end. And while I know that the world has been slated to end numerous times (220 and counting), I can’t help but feel nervous about the fact that we may only have 2 more years. Is this just crazy talk? Could I be winding up my end of the world clock for nothing? I sure hope so. But with all the major earthquakes going on, the hazards over in Yellowstone, the polar ice caps melting and global warming becoming a problem, plus the fact that the date of the “end” is on the winter solstice AND the date when all of the planets become perfectly aligned… It just makes me nervous, ok? So this date stands out in my mind as the date that I better have all my ducks in a row and experience everything I want to experience in my life. And marriage is one of those experiences. By my calculations, we wouldn’t be moving in together until one year after the end of the world as we know it. And that isn’t even mentioning marriage at all.
I can only imagine what a single woman feels when her biological clock is ticking. That window of opportunity to have a child before she reaches middle age is sounding its alarm after every single bad date to the point that she becomes desperate, even mulling over the thoughts of settling for Mr. Good Enough than waiting for Mr. Perfect to come along. I already have my children, and there are no plans for any new bundles of joy to join my wild and rambunctious family. And Mr. W is in utter agreement. We have no desire to seal our love with a perfect combination of our finest qualities in the form of a child. Having my first child at 20 means that I will be enjoying my 40’s as a free woman, able to explore this world without dragging a child along beside me on a kid leash (greatest invention in the world, in my opinion, btw). So my biological clock has never sounded an alarm in my life, and I am eternally grateful for that. But all this end of the world “nonsense” is sounding a different kind of alarm. And it is spurring that desperate pull to create forever in a very short period of time.
And this goes against everything I stand for as the woman I have become in the years since my divorce. My first marriage was based on blind love. And that didn’t work out at all. Since then, I have slowly become more realistic about what a marriage entails and what I can do differently to be a part of a successful union. I have embraced my independence, and I’m proud of that. And with Mr. W, for the first time I am 100% still me as I have refused to lose myself in the name of love. And that only makes our relationship that much sweeter. But I am a romantic at heart. While I don’t have my future wedding planned out to the very last detail, I do have visions of a simple ceremony with my closest friends. And more important than the wedding, I have visions of what my marriage will look like years later. I want that marriage. If there were no time frame at all, and there very well may not be a time frame at all, I could wait forever for that dream.
And all this talk of impending doom is stifling the voice of my inner Magi and pulling out that desperate single woman complex that is afraid to end up as the crazy cat woman in my final days.
A coworker came up to me last week, and we started talking about my relationship with Mr. W. Somehow in the conversation, the topic turned to the exorbitant costs of college. Her own children were in the throes of college, and her family was now dealing with the realities of expenses from it. She had set aside a certain amount for each child, and let each one know what they were being given, and that they were responsible for the rest. As a result, they had applied for as many grants, scholarships, and loans that they could get their hands on to ensure that they could continue going when their parents’ gift of money had run out.
I don’t have that luxury of setting up a college fund. At least not right now. With my income, every single penny is going to the here and now. I just don’t have enough to plan for a future that will be here before I know it, yet still seems so very far away. My co-worker went on to talk about how she had applied each child for FAFSA, the free application for federal student aid. With her and her husband’s income, they had barely made the cut.
“Not that I want to pry,” she continued, “as I don’t know what you and Mr. W have planned for your future. But you have a real financial advantage as a single mom when your kids go to school.”
I hadn’t thought of that. Whether the world is ending or not, I still have to plan for the future of my kids. And I couldn’t let romantic hopes and dreams get in the way of that. More than marriage, traveling the world, being rich and famous, or any other dream for myself, I want my kids to be educated and have a life that is a million times easier than the path I laid out for myself. And college is the stepping stone for that reality.
So my big announcement? I am NOT getting married. Well, not now at least. And not any time in the near future. Additionally, I refuse to be burdened by an end of the world prediction that may very well be listed in the future as another silly notion by us humans that came and went without anything remarkable happening at all. Sure, my decision is hardly romantic at all. But it’s realistic, and it’s using my head.
As for the moving in thing, I think I may try and whittle those years down to maybe two years from now. Four years?!? Please.