So much ado about nothing…
Check out this article about the fight against bachelorhood. Could you get more hysterical? Actually, hysterical in all meanings of the word. My God! The “matchmaking commandos” who are going to “storm every neighborhood in Israel.” The parents with insomnia, rabbis in a state of shock by this “urgent problem.” It really is quite appalling!
I have actually taken to the street as I eagerly wait to see us all die simultaneously of singlehood and, while we’re at it, global warming, too.
Needless to say, I am absolutely sick of being called a crisis. Yes, there is a “bachelorhood phenomenon,” and there are crises within the phenomenon (which I’ll expand on in a second) but the phenomenon itself seems more like a healthy reaction to certain changes in our society than anything else.
What type of changes? Well, for example, a very obvious one is unhappy marriages!
Worried we're contagious?
I actually think that people waiting to get married to the “right one,” even if it’s at a relatively much older age than was once accepted, is a healthy reaction to seeing close up and personally how miserable marriage can be with the wrong person (and attitude, of course).
I’m quite sure that it is much lonelier to be in an unhappy marriage than to be single. To pressure anyone into marriage is totally irresponsible. Pressure me to try a piece of the cake you just baked? Fine. But pressure me to get married? I really don’t see how anyone could pressure anyone else into such a serious constitution.
But I thought we do want to get married!
So, you might ask, what about the fact that many of us singles do want to get married? Does that not make it a “crisis,” the fact that we’re not succeeding in this task?
First of all, no, it doesn’t necessarily make it a crisis. People want all kinds of things and the lack of that thing, even for a large number of people, doesn’t mean it’s a crisis.
And what about the fact that so many people are honestly unhappy being single? They are sad and lonely being alone. And they yearn to be part of a couple, part of a family unit, sharing intimacy with someone, poppin’ out the babies, staying up all night, being exhausted…
Oh, I digress.
Both those points are totally legitimate. They are more legitimate than anything any “professional” or parent will say about the situation. A person’s preference to something, a person’s personal happiness – these are important things.
But I really wonder how much of a single person’s misery is their own and how much of it is based on the belief that their lives are just plain wrong and they don’t really deserve to be happy until they are responsible and right enough to get hitched. How much of singles’ misery is based on the fact that instead of living life to the fullest, as much as is ever possible (and it’s never totally possible so don’t idealize marriage too much), they are putting their lives on hold because they’re single?
I think it is a sin – a plain ol’ sin – to put your life on hold because you’re single. We do not know when things will happen (including death, btw, in case you didn’t think about that) and the fact that we all expect something to happen within a certain time frame when it isn’t something we totally control, is most probably slightly insane (to put it lightly).
We should be living our lives! Doing fun things. Studying, if we want. Travelling, if we want. Doing things that make us happy. Not feeling pressured to do things that make us miserable just to prove we’re being “responsible, one-track-minded singles.”
And that brings me to the true crises.
#1 People not being nice
Like anything in life, bachelorhood and specifically dating, are great opportunities to work on ourselves. The fact that there are so many stories of people not treating each other properly is absolutely terrible. Forget trying to get us married, dear professionals. How about focusing on something we all need – hitched and unhitched alike – and that is some good beatings for not treating each other kindly and respectfully. This is crisis #1 and I only wish that people would pay more attention to it.
#2 Unhappy marriages
Without a doubt, unhappy marriages is a much bigger, more devastating problem, than singlehood. The poor unhappy, lonely and trapped souls. I cannot imagine the anguish of being in an unhappy, or teetering marriage. Not to mention the heart-break and deep pain surrounding divorce. And, with so many unhappy marriages happening as we speak, you prefer to try to push more people into marriage (yes, push, by using fear tactics, among other things)?
As I said before, I think that hesitating before marrying is a pretty smart thing. And only in quite a few more years will we see really how many people never ended up getting married. Meanwhile, I will mention that I am surrounded by “older singles” getting engaged. They waited till they met someone with whom it feels right. And, as one groom-to-be said to me, “I think our generation is incapable of compromising on who we choose to marry.”
Why is that a bad thing?
#3 Unhappy people
All the shoulds in people’s lives are leading to so much unhappiness! I should date. I should get married. I should feel badly about not being married. I should worry about my biological clock. I should go to the singles event. I should go on that date. I shouldn’t buy a couch because I’m single….
It is a sickness. I know so many people who broke away from the shoulds of religion and then returned to religion in a much happier and healthier way. I wish people would do that with their singlehood. Ask themselves what is true about their shoulds and leave behind whatever isn’t (no matter what their rabbi says).
Put them all together and you’ve got…
I truly believe that if focus were given towards #1 working on ourselves as humans, #2 working on ourselves as couples and #3 trying to feel fulfilled and happy with whatever we have right now, more singles would find their besherts and be able to move onto the next stage of their lives with a much higher percentage of happiness after tying the knot.
It is not that I’m saying we shouldn’t be trying to get married. I myself don’t cease to make an effort to meet my beloved. Because that is what I want. But I don’t believe that wanting something very badly needs to make me feel like there is something wrong with me just because I don’t have it.
I don’t feel like a crisis and I wish people would stop freaking out about me and find something else to freak out about (global warming is all the rave, maybe you could check it out).
Look, as always when I rant, I feel badly to seem unappreciative of all these people’s efforts. But I think I have a right to be sick of being called a crisis and I think it’s OK that I can’t somehow find it in my heart to appreciate those who are pointing their crisis fingers straight at me. If you’re worried about the community, miserable marriages (and, God forbid miserable children) are way more detrimental than any happy or unhappy single. You might want to take a good look at that problem before you tackle me.
P.S. The name of this post is inspired by Benji Lovitt whose blog about Israel is called “What War Zone?“
Photo by ralphrepo on flickr.