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The Cody Blog: On Perpetual Singularity

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

On Perpetual Singularity

I remember sitting at a Thanksgiving dinner when I was 17 with my family and my high school sweetheart and fielding the question from my grandfather, "So, Cody, when are you two gonna' get engaged?"

You should have seen the faces and silverware drop when I answered, "I don't believe in the concept of marriage."

Asked by everyone to delineate, I continued, "I have no problems with committing to being exclusive and honest. But how the heck can I promise someone that I'll love them the rest of my life when I have no idea where or what or who I will be in three years, much less ten years, much less in fifty years? I've got a lot of plans and whole lot of things I'm going to do in this life. And I don't want to pretend that I know I'll want to be with someone forever when I can't possibly know that."

16 years later, and I've never been engaged nor married. And I still agree with the thesis I had at 17. (Throw kids into the mix, and the thesis has problems -- but I don't have any kids either.)

But while I wouldn't change my life experiences -- good, bad, wonderful, and horrible -- for anything, I sometimes wonder if my gramps had a point.

One of my best friends married one of my ex's the day after graduation. I've always admired this friend. Having practically raised himself after his father was sent away for drug crimes, he took his wife and went to put himself through college. Never having been a stereotypical great athlete or great student, he worked harder at football than anyone I've ever seen. He took his wife with him to a D-1 college and worked 40 hours a week, took 18 credits per semester -- and made it as a walk-on on the football team.

His wife got pregnant soon into his collegiate career, so he quit the team and focused on supporting his family and getting his degree. He's now a coach and they have a beautiful family. To be clear, I'm not sure he's happy. But he certainly seems to have done what he set out to do. And I certainly admire him still. And there's just some beauty to the purity of his approach.

Meanwhile, I've experienced so much. I had several wonderful girlfriends in college. I spent the first several months in New York without so much as a hug (cried when my mom came to visit and hugged me...finally realizing that I'd been so long with out human touch). I've since had many great girlfriends and random experiences with incredible, beautiful, and successful women of all kinds of backgrounds.

But I bleed in every one of those relationships. I give up part of myself even in the most casual relationship. And I always feel so saddened and depressed when a relationship ends. Especially a serious relationship.

I know a lot of my married friends envy my status. And frankly, I don't envy theirs. But it doesn't mean that I've done it "right". We all sacrifice, since we can't have our cake and eat it too (at least if we want to be honest with our lovers).

P.S. Man, one of these days I'm gonna have to post some outright positive thoughts and introspectives on here! I think Katrina's got me bummed out.

P.P.S. It's not like I just got out of a relationship. Last one ended months ago. Just had this on my mind this morning.

P.P.P.S. I used "singularity" incorrectly on purpose.


Anonymous Dano said...

I had your viewpoint once. Things changed for me when I met the right woman. While I have had great girlfriends, my wife is something so far beyond those other women I've met it's scary. They seem like amateur women now as I look back. Under those circumstances I no longer felt being single was an asset. In fact on an almost daily basis I'm thankful I met this woman. But I don't believe in fate. It would have been easy for us to miss crossing paths. In that case I would probably still be single. If you meet the right woman, marriage is a far more rewarding life experience. Unfortunately I know too many who did not marry the right woman. In those cases it is anything but rewarding. And so marriage or being single is not necessarily a good or bad thing. It's the actual execution of either concept that is good or bad.

9/07/2005 01:43:00 PM  
Anonymous tree said...

no one in my family expects me to marry because i am a lesbian, and society overall does not want me to. so, i don't have the familial and societal pressures that you allude to, cody.

however, i did meet the right woman 8 years ago, who, to borrow from dano, "is so far beyond those other women...," i can't imagine not having her in my life.

like you, cody, i have never subscribed to the institution of marriage (although i do believe that gay people should have the right to marry if they so desire.. but that's another topic altogether), but i do believe that anyone who is fortunate enough to be in some kind of partnership simply and only because they want to be is damn lucky.

9/07/2005 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

marbles, man...you start out with a jar of marbles. you give one to this girl, you give 5 to that girl...that's why you feel like you give up something every time. when and if you meet that right woman, you'd want to give her the whole jar (or what's left)...she won't count, but you may.

9/08/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Mariposa said...

Poor baby...I think NYC's got you a bit jaded...Hopefully this is just a stage for you. Like you said... There are pros & cons to both sides of the coin. Form any relationship where you feel you loose something look at what you gained from it as well, balance things out & then make judgement of what was really lost or not. You also earn experience & love & affection. Maybe i'm too much of a romamtic. But to be honest with you i have a similar way to look at life without skipping the pleasures of a touch or an emotion. Don't loose momentum running toward your goals...but do remember that it's good to have a water break & most importantly...to stop & smell the flowers once in a while.

9/08/2005 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
...Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love
...And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
~Kahlil Gibran

All the best to you in your journeys of the heart. I've traveled some exhilarating/painful/lonely/fulfilling roads myself over the years (including 3 engagements and 2 marriages - no kids though) and still haven't gotten it "right"...but I continue to believe that someday I will.

9/09/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous MapMaster said...

But Cody, have you LOVED, not as in a "serious" relationship, "sure I love her," but as in not being able to imagine your life without her. At that point, it is not whether you will be in the same "place" 3, 5 or 50 years from now, it is that no matter what you are doing in the future, you want this person with you. I agree with dano et al that the right woman makes all the difference.

Also surprised that you of all people see it as a zero sum game (RM reference ;-). I think it is more of a "the more you give, the more you get" situation, similar to the meme of a constant internal battle between the angry dog and the nice dog - the dog that wins is the one that gets fed the most. The love you give is not lost, it returns and makes your heart bigger(corny cliche alert!). That is a lesson I learned from marriage and having children - I hope you are able to experience it someday. There are few things as pure. But rock on until then!

3/24/2006 10:24:00 AM  

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