I think I’ll probably end up being someone’s third wife.
This is a statement I make pretty often, always drawing a few chuckles from the people I’m with.
I figure my husband will get married for the first time in his early 20’s. Like so many people at this age, he will believe he wants is exactly what society tells him: 9-5 job, wife, kids, van etc. So he does all of these things, only to realize in a few years time that this isn’t actually what he wants at all, and divorce quickly follows. After this marriage he will swing to the polar opposite – the trophy wife. And while I have a pretty high opinion of myself, even I know that I am not trophy wife material, so obviously I can’t be wife #2. But as we all know, trophy wives aren’t exactly known for their stimulating conversation… so eventually he’ll get bored of that, and here comes divorce #2. By this point, he’ll be fed up of all the things he has been told he is supposed to want and realize “you know, Tessa’s pretty funny, and up for cool adventures, and not horrible to look at”… and we’ll live happily every after.
It’s a real life fairy tale isn’t it?
What this ridiculous theory stems from is an observation I have made that most people that I know want lives that follow along the same plot line (or slightly different versions of the same plot). Job, kids, BBQ’s, football etc.
Not that there is anything wrong with wanting these things, but as someone who doesn’t want pretty much any version of this typical story – I find myself wondering: can I be the only one out there who doesn’t fit the mold?
I don’t think that’s true.
I believe we all want different things. As varied as our personalities are, so are our hopes and dreams. While some do actually want kids and the suburbs and a van – I think there are just as many out there who don’t want that, but are conditioned to believe this is the ideal to strive for. That somehow, no matter how unappealing it may seem, achieving a life that looks like this will automatically make them happy.
We’re told as we grow up that our dreams have to fit within the confines of this generic story line. We are discouraged form pursuing anything unknown, scary or divergent. Instead of writing our own book, we fill in the blanks in the one provided for us.
Want to travel? Take a year abroad during college so you can settle down right afterwards.
Want to be an artist? Well you better marry a rich business man so you can become a stay-at-home mom and paint for fun.
You don’t want kids? You’ll change your mind when you find the right person.
So we settle. We stop pursuing our passions and get an average job and surround ourselves with average people and give up our hobbies that we no longer have time for. We become complacent, and our complacency leads to boredom.
We all desire some kind of adventure, it just manifests itself differently. So when we force ourselves to fit into a mold designed for someone else we become complacent. So we look for a spark in life in the only place we know how to – romance.
Our desire for danger, wonder and the unknown causes us to enter volatile, explosive relationships. I mean, what can be more adrenaline pumping than wearing a suicide vest and not knowing when it will go off?
I’ve been in relationships like this. I think back to a guy I dated in college – it was like standing on the edge of a cliff not knowing whether or not he would choose to push me off. When he decided not to – I was happier than I ever had been in my life. But when he finally did shove me over (and they always do) I found myself splattered over giant boulders on the bottom of a ravine. It’s the kind of heartbreak Taylor Swift writes songs about.
And when relationships that initially ignite our inner flame do last – eventually this “spark” fades, because no fire can burn forever. And when it does, we find ourselves back in this cookie-cutter life we’ve settled for. We are intrinsically unhappy. But we don’t blame our own dream deserting, goal abandoning selves – no, we blame our partner for not giving us the thrill we deserve (which is total BS).
So my question is – What if we did the opposite? What if we cultivated in ourselves a life of adventure, excitement and passion and found ourselves a steadfast partner to experience it with?
What if instead of following someone else’s plot line, we created our own story? One where the suspense had nothing to do with whether your significant other was going to leave you – and everything to do with the adventures you decided to go on together.
So you don’t want kids? Don’t have them. You want to travel? Go. Your dream adventure is driving a van full of kids to soccer practice from your house in the suburbs? Fantastic!
Passionately pursue your dreams with the gall of the wind and the strength of the river. Let your life be the roller coaster and your significant other your seat-buddy, riding the loop-d-loops hand in hand.
What if we stand by the cliff flying kites in a storm knowing that we will catch each other if one of us slips, instead of wondering when we will knock the other off the edge?
Personally, I believe that if more of us lived like this there would be less divorce, depression, and all around discontentment with life. And my friends – life is too precious and too short to not live the adventure that you deserve.