I was walking home tonight, when I saw guy I know from work waiting at the bus stop. Normally I would just say ‘hi’ and continue walking (I don’t know him so well), but he waved me over with a huge grin on his face.
“What’s up?”, I asked.
His reply was to show me his cell phone with a picture of his two-week old baby boy on it. (Last time I saw him, he was still expecting.)
I think I reacted appropriately. “Wow! So cute! Congratulations!” That’s a normal reaction, right?
The thing is… I faked it. Just as Miranda Hobbes fakes her sonogram in Sex and the City (Season 4, “Change of a Dress”), I faked my reaction to this guy’s baby. I mean, yeah, it’s great news. And he was clearly thrilled. But it’s so hard to get excited about other people’s kids.
I’m definitely at that age where all my friends are buying houses, getting married and having babies (although not necessarily in that order!), and I can’t help wondering… is there such a thing as a ‘settling gene’? And, if so, do I have one?
As a single girl in her (gulp!) late-twenties, living in rented accommodation, and doing a job which, let’s face it, probably isn’t a lifelong career, I really do feel worlds apart from most of my friends right now. But I have no maternal instinct urging me to settle down and procreate. I do want to buy a house someday, but I don’t know where I want to live yet. And I don’t know if I want to buy that house with someone, or go it alone.
Two of my co-workers are planning weddings right now, and two of my best friends back home got married last year. Another of my friends back home is getting married really soon, and one of the best friends mentioned above is about to have her first baby. I’m thrilled for them all, I really am. But I do find it hard to really be interested in it all when, honestly, I’m not. I’m mean, of course I’m interested in my friends and what they’re doing. But I’m not really interested in weddings and babies.
Is it possible that I am in fact just missing a gene? A gene which would make me dream of white weddings and storks? I am romantic, and I’m not opposed to the idea of settling down (with the right person), but it doesn’t seem to be something I’m going to be doing this side of thirty. And if I do settle down, I really don’t think there will be any babies!
I don’t think I’m completely alone in this line of thought, though. In fact, I’m reading a great book at the moment (The Group by Mary McCarthy), with this excellent line in it:
“It was plain to Polly that many of her married classmates were disappointed in their husbands and envied the girls, like Helena, who had not got married.”
Maybe I, like Helena, could seem to have an enviable life, at least to those who are unhappy with their own. I have no ties, from either a husband or a baby, which means I am able to live in a foreign country and basically do as I please. My free time is my own, my money is my own, my choices are my own. I don’t really have to answer to anyone, and I’m free to change my mind, my hairstyle, and my sheets 😉 as often as I like. Maybe I’m better off without the settling gene?
What do you think?