Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What I Don't Need To Be Happy

I've been thinking about writing this up for a while now. I'm going to try to let this post just be written out of mild annoyance but I think this needs to be said. I turn 28 in under two weeks. I don't have a wife. I don't have kids. I am happy with my life the way it is right now.

I've seen an uptrend lately in people telling me how I'm living my life incorrectly. I need to focus on getting married. That's always what it comes down to, not finding someone I'm compatible with or someone who makes my life better than it already is. Just find the first single girl you can and get married because you're getting old. Now I've thought about WHY people would be saying this to me when they must know its offensive and annoying. Here's what I've come up with so far:

1. Jealousy
I think there are a few ways to be jealous in my particular case. I think some people miss the freedom they had when they were single. They realize that they have a spouse at home and kids who need their attention and I'm sure that's difficult to deal with when you're exhausted after work or whatever else is going on. I think of it more along the lines of people see what I've accomplished in my life so far and they feel some weird desire to put me down. My existence as a single guy who is accomplishing things is an act of rebellion of some kind, right? I'm actually going to let my ego make a list really quick:

-I've owned a house since I was 23.
-Every car I've ever purchased has been bought with cash.
-I still have yet to pay interest on a credit card. I pay it off every month.
-I have a bachelors degree with no student loans.
-I speak two languages.
-I've traveled to four countries in Europe, four in Asia, and around most of the United States.
-I have tens of thousands of dollars put away in a 401k for when I retire. I've been saving a regular percentage of my paycheck for retirement since I was 21.
-My credit score is several hundred points higher than pretty much anyone I know other than my parents.
-I'm a self-published author who has sold over 600 books and I'm closing in on 700.
-Conservatively taking the value of the home theater equipment in my house would yield an amount over $10,000. Add another grand or two for computer and network equipment. It's all paid off. I didn't buy it on credit.
-I understand computers, home theater, and most technology better than others. When I do in-home computer jobs for people, most people I know are happy to pay around $100/hr.
-I think I'm a generally well-liked guy. I know I can be an asshole at times but I think most people are happy to have my back because they know I'll help them out if they need it.

Some people will read that list and feel an immediate desire to put me down. I warned you I was going to let my ego write the list. :-P I guess in a way I understand why people who don't know me would want to put me down for being successful in some areas of my life but what I don't understand is why my friends and family (admittedly not a ton from either category) would want to put me down.

2. The Mormon church said so
This section won't be about Mormon bashing. At least I'm going to try to make it not be about that. I grew up Mormon and while I feel that I have very little in common with most Mormons now, I still respect a few people that are members of that church. The weird cultural trait that allows Mormons to tell me that I'm deficient because I don't have a wife is pretty troubling though. I understand that the path for most Mormons after a two-year mission is to come home, immediately get married, and start having kids. I'm going to be honest and not target anyone specific with what I'm about to say. In general, I don't know a ton of Mormons who have done that and are happy with the decision. There's a reason that the Mormon divorce rate is just as high or higher than the regular rate in the U.S.

I'll take it back a step further though. I don't know a ton of people who are happily married. That includes both Mormons and non-Mormons. Maybe it's because I've been a salesman or in-home computer tech interacting with people on a daily basis for so long but I've seen so many couples that just no longer care. They'll fight with their spouse in front of guests or random people. I don't want to become like that. I can't imagine dreading being around the person I'm supposed to love more than anyone.

I would like to see the general conference talk that tells all members to make their single friends feel like they're doing something wrong. If such a talk does actually exist, I feel I have even less in common with members of the Mormon church.

What I'd like to say about all of this
I have some pretty amazing friends and family. Most of them have backed me even when I thought they would have perfectly valid reasons to walk away. There has been a growing number from among my friends and family, however, that likes to say "Randy should just get married already" or something like that. A few of them say it to my face. Most of them say it behind my back. If you are one of these people, I want you to know that it is very likely that I found out that you said it. Whoever you told probably likes me at least as much as they like you. So I know you said it. I still try to be polite to you because you're still one of my friends or part of my family. I do, however, think a little bit less of you. You are not living my life so making statements about how I should have been married years ago are based on what little of my life you've observed. It may even be based on less than that. It could even be based on nothing other than the belief that marriage and kids is the path everyone should immediately take and that if I'm not seeking that our right now, I'm a bad or evil person.

I work 1-10 pm, Monday through Friday, right now. I tried going on a few dates with a few different girls a couple months ago. It didn't work because the only time I could really do anything was on the weekends or on holidays. There are also things in my life right now that I am pursuing with more energy than finding a girlfriend or a wife.

I date. I've dated a few girls for more than a few months since I got back from the Philippines in 2007. There are some of you who may have wondered about that since I don't talk about it all that often. You know why I don't talk about it much? I've found that, with most people, it inevitably leads to an awkward conversation about when I'm going to get married. I don't want to have that same awkward conversation over and over. It has a tendency to make me annoyed and possibly even borderline angry.

I have found girls that were very fun to be around. Ultimately, it didn't work out because of schedule conflicts or differing interests. I'm still not desperate though. I'm just not. If and when I do get married, it will be because I found a girl who makes my life better. Someone who makes me happier, even though I know it will be a different kind of happy than I feel right now as a single person. If I ever find that, I will get married. Until then... I'm doing this crazy thing called living a good, happy, successful life.

So ultimately, if you can't be happy for me right now then I don't understand you. I don't think the "you should get married" thing comes from genuine concern from anyone. If you know me, you know that I'm happy and successful. Why would either of those things bother you or make you feel bad for me? All things considered, I have a lot of friends and family who are happy to remain such without me getting married so I don't really care if I lose the few who seem to have a problem with me being a single guy. If after reading this you would rather not be my friend anymore, that's fine.

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