Usually on father’s day, I’m a self-loathing pity party puddle. But this year...it’s okay. A lot of things feel okay. Is this what getting older and making peace with things feels like?
For those who have been following, I got brutally broken up with the other week. Obviously I felt shitty. I stayed at home until I was ready to go out (so about a week and a half). With the summer starting, it’s primo “people in love” season - hand holding, lovers in parks cuddling, the works. In the past, I’ve felt jealous, envious and downright shitty about myself that I was single and these people were “in-luurve”. I expected that feeling to be even more pronounced than usual in the past few days as I ventured out finally, considering the breakup. But...no. Nothing. These people are around and I don’t feel bad about it. Same thing goes for last night - a couple in my swing dance community got married last night and had a dance to celebrate (I like these people a lot, they are not the ones who have been shitty to me). I waffled on going, because I thought “I’m going to get there and I’m just going to feel terrible celebrating other people’s love”. But ...no. It was fine. It was a lot of fun actually and I genuinely felt happy for them.
The wedding thing is particularly interesting to me - I used to be really really bitter about all the attention my friends got when they got married (this was 5-6 years ago when everyone was getting hitched when I was in my late 20s). I was broke,single and spending a lot of money on their weddings because I felt socially obligated. It felt so unfair that they were having these elaborate weddings with lifestyle upgrades - everyone had steady jobs and had been living together for ages and didn’t need to “set up house” by any means. They were all getting these pretty things and attention and love and I was student broke. I’m getting to the point in my life that if I ever *do* get married, the whole big-shebang rigamarole “pretty pretty princess most important day of your life” would just feel weird (it was also never my thing to begin with). And being 34, with no desire to date for awhile to heal, even the possibility of meeting someone and getting married is YEARS down the road, even if it does happen. So the whole wedding thing like my friends had is just never going to happen for me in the way that it did for them. And for some reason, that’s okay. (Although, I’m still of the opinion that EVERYONE should get to throw a big party and get household upgrades at some point in their lives, because it’s kinda bullshit that it only happens if you get married. The point is that I’m not *bitter* that I might not ever get to do this is what has changed.)
And then, Father’s day - my father abandoned us when I was a baby. My mother was super shitty about the whole thing and pretended he never existed. Especially with Facebook nowadays, it has been hard in the past avoiding all those “love you Dad” messages. But this year...again, no. It doesn’t feel shitty.
I think I might just be in a place in my life where being real is where it’s at? When people have asked me about the breakup, I’ve been honest (mentioning my financial issues, in some cases my depression). If people ask me about Father’s day, I will be honest (i.e. “not to be a downer, but my father was never part of my life, from his choosing”). As for being single again in a coupled world - it’s not that I want to be alone the rest of my life - but people lives are complicated and not as rosie as they make it seem on FB and otherwise. I know that people’s who’s lives seem “good” aren’t necessarily so. And a lot of people are unhappy for choices that they just kinda slid into - meaning that people made the choice to marry people because it was the right time (not that they weren’t in love, but there is so much more to making shit work than love) or have a baby because that’s what people do.
It’s also that people are having kids and realizing that, yo, it’s hard work. Being in charge of little human being is a lot of work. And it’s not always perfect - I know so many people that have had either fertility issues, miscarriages, abortions, couples having to make the decision to “give birth” early to babies who would not survive outside the womb for very long if they came to term, and kids getting sick (which I’m going to opine as a non-parent, I think is the WORST thing imaginable - having your kid have a life-threatening disease, in my mind, must be the most impossible and stressful situation imaginable.). For all of these situations, I’ve seen people handle them in all sorts of different ways - most of them doing the best they can. However, I’ve seen people be totally awful - basically a lot of men emotionally abandoning their female partners when shit hit the fan in these situations (miscarriages, sick babies, etc). And maybe this is (part) of the reason I’ve stopped feeling bad - just because there is the facade (on FB) or the parade (the wedding) for people, at the end of the day, life is life. Stressful things are going to happen, especially when kids are involved. And people can really show their true colours in these situations, and it’s not always pretty. It’s not about the “shitty life” olympics and misery loving company, but more that just because someone else has something that I might want (a partner, fancy cookware from their wedding registry :-P) at the end of the day, they aren’t immune to the trials and tribulations of life.
And I’ve already proven to myself in the past that I can get through the hard times. Some of these people might stay unhappy for the rest of their lives because they are scared of facing the truth about their jobs, partners, or choices. But my life has always forced me to look at the truth. Which I guess has become a blessing in disguise. I am no longer envious.
Getting older is, really, pretty great sometimes.