A friend told me that engagements are similar to the stomach virus that has been floating around our dorm. When you first heard about it, you thought “aw” and feelings were mustered inside of you. Now, you think “sick, vomit is disgusting.”
I agree. Engagement fever has swept over the campus, infecting numerous couples. In the beginning, I felt a little tinge of joy for them and I enjoyed celebrating the magic of marriage with them. But now, when I hear their engagement story I think “I could have done a better proposal” or “holy crap, you are going to be so poor.” My response has made me wonder if I am bitter. I look at the facts:
1. I am alone.
2. My crystal ball shows me cooking dinner alone in my house listening to smooth jazz after I graduate.
3. All my friends have someone they love, you know, in that special way. Love mixed with the desire to have sex with their partner.
4. I would love to shoot all the people with rings on their fingers.
I think I’m bitter. But, why? Should I be getting married simply because everyone else is? Does my singlehood somehow reflect on my worth as a person? Does the fact that plenty of people love me but none want to sleep with me indicate my physical attractiveness?
I say this to myself, “Rob, stop being bitter.” Because, if I am ugly than I certainly don’t need to be bitter as well.
Well, that’s not my only reason. It is a big one, but it isn’t the only one. I also think it is absurd to assume that I should be on the same schedule as those around me. I don’t need to get married when I graduate. I need to get a job, not a family. Also, marriage isn’t the only form of fruitful commitment. What about commitment to a cause? I want to change things and do good for the world. Isn’t that a commitment that brings with it some sort of value. I think so. In order to create an environment where single people don’t feel like ugly pieces of crap, we must value all forms of commitment that will enhance people’s lives.
Another reason to fight the engagement induced bitterness is the desire to be able to whole-heartedly celebrate the love of my friends who are taking that huge leap into family life. If I truly believe that it is best for me to not marry immediately out of college than couldn’t it be true that for these other people, it is best for them to marry immediately after college. If so, than shouldn’t I celebrate with them as I expect them to celebrate with me.
Being married is surely a beautiful thing and those who are engaged, I think, appear to entirely ready. They have either matured more than me or get paid more than 5.50 and hour, but no matter what the reason, I need to acknowledge that they are embarking on an adventure with just as much worth as the adventure I will soon embark upon.
So, I say to all of us who are alone: It’s not only ok, it’s good and right. Celebrate your singleness and enjoy the freedom that comes with not having a family. Harness that for the good of the world and see the value in yourself. But also, celebrate the love of those and see the good in marriage. I’m not ugly or unmarryable; I’m me. And, I don’t need to get married.