I like being single. Well, I suppose I should say I liked being single. More accurately, still, I think I liked being unattached. No mortgage payment. No children. No pets (though I love cats). No husband. No boyfriend. Parents in decent health. A skill that can land me a job anywhere, and technology that allows me to do that job from anywhere. I could go and do and be anything. I’m young and love to have fun. I liked being single.
Nothing kills a single buzz like the prospects of marriage. Nothing.
Because first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the babies (if you’re blessed to have them) in the baby carriage (which is hopefully a jogger’s stroller if someone gifts one to me), and the house, and the grocery bills, and the saving for a good school, and joining the PTA, and the aging parents, and the retirement plan contributions, and the vacations that feel like more work than rest, and the unsatisfying job you can’t leave because let’s face it: you can’t take on more responsibility at work because your responsibility at home continues to increase and you have good benefits and tenure… And somewhere in this semblance of a life you find something close enough to happiness to make it bearable: resolution – that is, the act of determining. You become more determined than ever to make your marriage work, to influence your children’s success, to keep your aging parents alive, to keep it all together because you sacrificed your single, unattached self for all this. It has to work and will be worth it. You convince yourself of this single truth that may very well be false, but you’ve acknowledged that so that makes it OK, too, even truer. It creates hope. And that hope keeps you going and puts to rest any fleeting thought that you should quickly seek escape and refuge from the life that you are told is yours but actually feels like your commitment to everyone else.
Now hold on, folks. I still love Mr very much and am looking forward to marrying him. I like the idea of having children with him, but I admit I haven’t thought that through considering the responsibility that parenthood really is. So perhaps then you’re wondering what all this has to do with wedding planning. Mr has mentioned opening a wedding savings account, and I agree that it’s a superb idea; however, I don’t want to open a wedding savings account. Well, not if I don’t have a healthy adventure savings account to support my own whims and fantasies such as living abroad for a year. (I’ve actually compromised on this and think 3 months will do.)
I had a counseling session with the financial planner my employer offers and got a quick glimpse of my retirement savings to date. The planner told me, “You’re doing well. There are some things we should talk about next year like a house fund, but for now, you’re OK.” It felt good to hear that – to hear someone who should know the difference between OK and not OK affirm that I am OK, especially when it comes to my financial future. As I sat there with her, however, my mind went from peaceful calm to raging storm as I considered the wedding, setting up a life together, trying to conceive, household expenses, etc. etc. etc. Why couldn’t I just enjoy that reassuring “you’re OK” moment? I left simultaneously relieved and overwhelmed when I left. “I’m OK, but there’s so much more to do,” I thought to myself. That thought was about money and it was about more than money.
Could I put off the wedding until I’d finished living my life – my single, just-for-me life? How long would that take? Is that fair to Mr? If he asked me to wait, would I? And what does this line of thinking say about my readiness for marriage, which is not the same as my willingness?
Being a married miser is not a good idea. I know that. Sharing is caring, and I want to be a caring wife. I also want to be a caring mom, if that be in the plans for me as well. It seems that it’s been far too easy for me to be a stingy single, and I’ve gotten comfortable with it. Perhaps it’s taken being engaged to force me to deal with my only child syndrome. While I don’t think I’m spoiled, I’m used to being a single act. Clearly, I need a change in mindset. Perhaps then I’ll actually start to enjoy being engaged and be a better wife. I doubt; however, that that leads me to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding though.