If you don’t recall those words, they are part of a famous line from a Vice Presidential debate where Admiral Stockdale, then the running mate with presidential candidate Ross Perot, found himself suddenly on the national stage and in the spotlight.
Sometimes I too look around and say, “Wow. How did I get here?” I have no kids. I have never been married. I came close. Twice. But I just couldn’t take the leap. I, like my grandmother and my mother, found that I too had grown up and gotten single.
Why didn’t I marry when I had the chance? Well, I guess the truth is I have not found the person that I wanted to grow old with. Probably sounds a bit arrogant to some, but in my heart, that is the honest truth. And too, perhaps I had that feeling deep down inside that I had something to accomplish in life and I just wasn’t ready to marry the men in my life that were interested in walking down the aisle with me at those specific times. (They were great guys by the way. And they were gorgeous. I know. What was I thinking!) I wasn’t proud of that fact. It wasn’t how I wanted it or planned it to be, but it was in my gut. It was a feeling. And I went with it. I just couldn’t lie to the men who loved me and pretend that the nagging “There’s something down the road waiting for me, calling me”, feeling wasn’t there. The last thing I ever wanted in my life was to marry a man, make him miserable, find out that I was miserable, and get a divorce. I just couldn’t do it. Growing up, I kept waiting for the perfect time and place and spouse but I just never really felt I found the man that I knew I could wake up to for the rest of my life.
Ironicallly, whether I realized it or not, I grew up learning to be single. As you learned in my previos blog, I was in training from the get go. Remember, I had a grandmother who had it thrust upon her at a young age, and a mother who inherited the single situation as well. If you think about it, all I really knew and understood was the single life. My grandmother had been single all of my life, and I was raised by a single mother. Interestingly, they never expected me to be single. It never crossed their minds. Personally, I love that.
I only lived in a house with parents for 8 years of my life. And I don’t remember much. I do remember their fights. They really upset me. But you really aren’t that much in tune at that young age to the relationship thing I mean. You think mom and dad will always be there. At least I did. So, I didn’t take notes.
I learned growing up what it meant to have to mow the lawn, manage the finances, do the check book, deal with the car when it broke down, prune the fruit trees, hang the Christmas lights on the house, shop for, drag in, and put up the tree, you know – life stuff.
There was never a man around to do anything, so having one around was not an option. It was a luxury. The men that were in our lives had their own families and problems. And I am sure their wives had well monitored honey- do lists waiting for them at home. And too, they probably did not appreciate their men taking time away from those necessary to-dos in order to dote on us. I don’t blame them. I am just making point.
So, there you have it. I guess without knowing it, I learned how to grow up and get single. But I can hear you thinking from here.
Don’t you want to get married? I love that question. Let’s talk about that tomorrow. Shall we?