Saturday, May 15, 2010

Expiration Date?

So,

As you all know, I was contemplative earlier about my situation in life, and inspired by Jane Austen (sister Jane, as I the hopeless Mormon love to call her in groups who would know why I call her that.) I have concluded that I am hopelessly attracted to Willoughby's... yada yada...

I have had in the last few weeks several interesting conversations with various groups of people, and I have another theory... unfortunately, this theory doesn't really have a sunny side (well, it can, but we will get to that later.)

I look around my single's ward, I look at my friends...and it seems like everyone is getting younger and younger while I get older and older. I'm beginning to feel like that jug of milk sitting in the front of the cooler that everyone passes by to reach back and get a newer, younger jug of milk. I laugh to myself when I think of the comparison, but it was the best I could come up with when I concocted this theory/question/ whatever... and here it is:

Do we as women have an expiration date?

I know, after women's liberation and fighting for the right to vote, we've come so far- how dare I pose such a question! But it really is starting to feel that I'm close to, or have passed mine.

Some of you laugh- Brittany, you are 26 1/2 is what you say...you have so much time...if I was living in Boston, New York, or some other Metropolitan area where the average age of marriage is in the late 20s and early 30s, I might agree with you...unfortunately, I am in Idaho...

land of Potatoes and BYU-I(do)...most of my friends are married with several children, friends my age, friends that are younger than me...much much younger than me...and they keep getting younger.

I took a poll of my male friends. They told me point blank their thinking. Perhaps this isn't true of all men, but it seems to be true of the ones I associate with. Here are a few points they made that may cause issues when it comes to dating:

1) I am educated.- Now you wouldn't think this was a bad thing (hello it is the 21st century) however, it intimidates most men my age or slightly younger because, as much as we hate to admit it, guys want to feel like they can be the protectors, the providers...dating a girl with a Master's degree when you are still working on your bachelors can be a real ego burster...

2) My age- Okay, as previously stated I am proud to say that I am 26 1/2 years old...I will be 27 in a few short months. Guys, as much as we don't want to think they think about these things, do in fact think about these things. When they see me, yes- they see how awesome I am (I can say I'm awesome because they told me I am) however, they also see my age. They want a wife that they can have some fun with ALONE before the pitter patter of little feet come into the picture. They see marriage to a girl of my age as a sentence for an instant family. Let me say that, yes, I do want a big family, but I can also see the importance of growing together before children come along, I wouldn't be in any hurry, but everyone assumes that I am....go figure

3) I am driven and determined...apparently it is intimidating to date a girl with a plan...go figure...

So...do we have expiration dates? Do I need to sit on the shelf waiting for someone who is in a hurry and just rushes to grab what's at the front of the shelf? Seems like this isn't a very pretty or fun scenario...in other words, if we go with the jug of milk analogy, I have to wait for the type of guy who is in a hurry to find a girl and he doesn't care about the substance behind the eyes, the personality, he just wants a body, he wants to check off the next thing on his list of things he has to do...I really don't like this analogy...but I had started thinking that perhaps this was the case.

Perhaps that is what Willoughby's are,perhaps that is why it seems like this is all that I date... they rush into the store, grab the milk from the front of the cooler and then realize that they could have had something better if they'd dug a little further back so they rush back to the cooler, and put you back....

This is kind of depressing isn't it? I am an intelligent, well grounded, well rounded woman with substance. I look at the world, and, as an artist, try to see it for the beauty. I try to use my experience to make me better, to give me more to draw from when I look at a sheet of music and bring to life the ideas and emotions that someone took the time to write on paper hundreds of years ago, I get free therapy courtesy of Mozart, Brahms, Strauss and other famous dead dudes...I have the best job in the world because, not only do I get to do this for myself, I get to do it for the people who sit in my audiences. If we believe the idea of the ancient Greek model, the audience comes to a theater to purge themselves of negative emotions by partaking in the drama of the theater or music. Let me say it again, let me shout it again! :I have the best job in the world- granted, I haven't been paid much for it, but it still is the best job in the world. I love what I do- its therapy for everyone, it polishes the soul...

Knowing all of this about myself, should I believe I have an expiration date? I've been told that perhaps what I need is to leave this corner of the world. But how could I do that? I love it here, I love that my family is here, I love that I grew up here.

I know, grow up Brittany...for real...just because you leave a place doesn't mean that it ceases to be home. You can come home again- anywhere that people love you is home.

So, I've been thinking about my expiration date...letting it depress me...accepting my worst fear- I will tell you all what it is...

I see myself, 75, living in a nursing home all by myself, with no one to care or come visit me because I was never lucky enough to draw the marriage/family card.

I shared this fear with my older sister. She guffawed (at me...yes Guffawed...yes I do live in 1910, thank you very much..I like my old slang, get used to it people! haha) She said, "Brittany, we'd never let that happen to you." My thought was, "Well, you can't do anything about it if you're dead..." Of course, I didn't say this out loud.

I know there are strong women, amazing women, who never marry and still lead very fulfilled and wonderful lives...the Mormon church has a few awesome examples (the incomparable Ms. Sheri Dew...) but I don't know if I can accept that as my legacy...I don't know if I want people to look at my life and say, "She never married, but look at how much she accomplished!" I don't know if I want to be that poster child...

I know, some of you are laughing...perhaps you were older than me before you found your mister right, perhaps you think I am just allowing myself to be consumed by thoughts about things that I have no control over...

This is the conclusion I've come to: you are probably right...

So, I don't like my new analogy/theory/whatever thingie...

So what do I do? I need to change it! I need to twist it to make it more positive. I need to stop worrying about becoming a poster child for spinsters and old maids everywhere and just focus on living my life... I need to focus on gaining experience and feeding my soul in positive ways.

Its still a work in progress...

but I have come up with a new analogy, its my hopeful analogy, but I am still working to believe it. Here it is: (Warning, its not a very "Mormon" analogy, but you'll understand why its good)

I am not a jug of milk...I am a bottle of fine wine...I get better with age...the reason why no one has picked me up yet is because they just can't afford me. Sooner or later, someone with deep pockets will come along and decide to make an investment because he really likes his fine wine..

Okay- I'm not saying I expect my future husband to be independently wealthy in the temporal sense...perhaps he has spiritual resources that I can't even comprehend...

I am working to stamp out my expiration date. In the meantime, I am going to do all that I need to do to gain experience, to gain knowledge, to grow as an artist and a human being. No one could ask more than that, right?

Ladies, we may have an expiration date according to some people, but there is one person who loves us more than anything, and he won't leave us on the shelf...and that is God. No matter how you worship him, he loves you. I know for a fact that we are all his daughters. Stop worrying about deformities, and focusing on the negative...change your analogies...

Yes, it takes time. I know I won't go from thinking of myself as a jug of milk to thinking of myself as a fine wine over night, but every day it gets easier. Every day, I find myself being negative about myself less and less. That, my friends, is the victory. That is when we can be who we are destined to be.

Hugs and loves until next time!

(P.S. Here is my new song of inspiration, when I find myself being down on myself, I turn it on and crank it up! I think we should all find our own source of inspiration, don't you?)

2 comments:

WrayFam said...

I don't even know what to write to you. I am out of advice and according to you I guffawed (sp?) at you. Sometimes we dream of the future. Things to come, better things. Love, marriage, a big paying job, the ability to change lives and make the world better. Those are all great aspirations but that is just what they are aspirations. We need to live in the here and now. We can't obtain all of the things we hope for today! Today we need to concentrate on smiles, laughter, and making memories. Dreams are great but we can't waste time on looking soley to the future. Live today Brittany! Embrace where you are today. It may not be where you thought you would be but God needs you to be touched by today. Love yourself today. The good thing about expiration dates is that they are also futuristic. Stop thinking about tomorrow an dlive every moment of today! I love you so much!!!

Meikjn said...

first of all I wanted to wait forever to have kids, and was not given that luxury. it was fine, and Andy minded less than me. and Don't leave Idaho unless you want/need to. there are no boys here. and other social pressures are just as bad everywhere else. I get crap for being young with kids, and nothing changes in the church wherever you are. you have a skewed music department view, they are snobs (you know I an right.)I understand the conflict that they give you. none of the issues guys may have with you are deal breakers. boys are just chicken. you may be lucky and not have to put a him through school. I think you are fantastic. I will say it again.