“I’m gonna be just like you. The job, the family, the fucking big television. The washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electric tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisure wear, luggage, three piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing gutters, getting by, looking ahead, the day you die.” Trainspotting
Most of the people I was in high school with have children now. Some are married. Some are in civil partnerships. They have a house, a job, probably the mortgage and the dental insurance too.
Truth is, a part of me hates the prospective of being just like you. It infuriates me, having to settle down. What for? What do we win? Security? Social norm? Why do we do this? Is it because we really want it, or because “it’s time”? Because society decides it’s “the right thing to do”?
The other part of me secretly wants it, I think. Because it seems so easy! You don’t have to worry about losing your flat/job! You look loved! adored even (yes I see your pictures online)! You embrace the whole grown-up thing!
I am jealous. A bit. Just like the kid who can’t be part of the dance group because he’s been told he’s “too fat”, I feel like I can’t be part of your grown-up club because I’m too much, or not enough. But the thing is, you try to include me! You and the whole world! By saying “it’s okay, you can join us later!”, by showing great stories about mid-twenties or thirties being single, joyful and accomplished (ha, accomplishment, you love it, world, don’t you) you try your best, and thanks for the good intentions, but we both know we are in two different worlds right now.
Stop making me feel bad because I haven’t decided in which world I wanted to be yet. Your world fascinates me and scares me at the same time. Hence why I’m furious when you try to impose your happiness on me.
I don’t think I am alone here. How many of us can relate? (Raise your hands, I am counting). How many of us feel a bit disconnected when, five or ten years later, your high-school/college sweethearts pose with their newborn, proud and happy? “I did the right thing, when is your turn?”.
Even pop-culture let us down : If you’re a woman, you’re either a sex machine with no feelings (Samantha Jones anyone?), a desperate romantic workaholic (Ally Mc Beal, Meredith Grey) or a bunch of irritating twenty-something (Hanna Horvath). And sooner or later, you’re back on the right track : Marriage, long-term relationships, kids…As if we couldn’t escape our “path”. It’s not all pink and perfect if you’re a guy, though : 30, not settled and happy? You’re a clichéd geek (Sheldon Cooper, and basically all male characters on TV lately), or a Dom Juan who’s always looking for true love (Barney Stinson – who gets married this season…-, Jacob Palmer). Even Rent-boy gives up in the end (spoiler alert)!!
There’s no us. There’s no “I don’t have a God damn clue about what I’ll be doing in the next six months but I’m good thanks” characters we could relate to. One could argue these characters are the hardest to write, or that ending with marriage and kids and a car is a sign of maturity. But that’s a pity. We, the undecided, are seen as “a phase”. “It’ll pass”. “You haven’t found the right person yet”. “It’s because you don’t know what you want”. That’s why we don’t have any characters speaking on our behalf in the long run.
We don’t have our role model. Maybe it’s time to create it, so we would feel better? Just in time to accept our path.
Because sooner or later, we’re going to settle down, right?.