My mom is a great and wonderful mom, but something I’ve come to know about her is she sweats the little things. It’s just part of who she is, and maybe part of what makes her great. I know in the past I’ve written about how sweaty I can get, in the literal sense, but this is figurative. If you’re familiar with the things I post about, you could make a strong case that I also sweat the little things, but most of my emotional sweating happens inside my own brain and stays there. When my mom gets upset about things going wrong in the moment, we all know it. We spilled something! We’re running late! We forgot to mail this birthday card on time! We’re in traffic! It’s the end of the world.
Something goes awry and we’re doomed. Day ruined, and maybe the evening too, for good measure. These are all very good-intentioned upsets and I don’t mean to make light of them. It’s just that in the grand scheme of things, they aren’t very heavy issues (ba’dum chh). Especially since I have seen that time and time again, virtually 100% without fail, everything turns out fine.
We just seem to forget each time it happens.
A week ago I was sitting in a batch of nasty traffic, my mom in the passenger seat while I drove, and she began her usual fretting. I said what I always try to say to her in these moments. "Mom, it’s gonna be okay!"
By the way, I say it in what I like to think is an urgent-doctory-muppet voice and everything. Trust me, it’s as great as it sounds. If Dr. Urgent isn’t already a muppet, it should be.
Anyway, back to emotional sweating. My emotional sweating starts to leak out over life events that aren’t within my control. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that my worries aren’t “How am I going to eat this week?” or “What shall I do about this flesh eating bacteria?” Those are real and serious concerns that I haven’t had to face and I’m truly grateful about that. It’s good to remember this for perspective, but my point right now is to discuss my worries of the ridiculous variety because generally this blog is supposed to be a relief from the dark places out there. I’m sorry if you’re new here and were expecting a dark place. By now your mistake should be obvious. I suggest turning the lights off, maybe? Work with me here.
So here’s a tissue sample from my worry warts. (ew)
Will I ever meet somebody I can actually marry? Forever? What if I accidentally marry a serial killer? What if he’s perfectly normal, and then we just don’t last? What if I have trouble having kids? What if I don’t have trouble? What if I succeed at reproducing and instead I fail at raising my kids to be kind decent people that are smart and good enough at something to support themselves? What if somehow they turn out to be mean, obnoxious self-interested out of control sex and/or drug addicts? Or worse, what if they’re reckless drivers and have no timing out on the dance floor?
Then, the darkest, most useless worry inevitably settles in: What if I never get to confront ANY of these things because I suddenly die unexpectedly?
I’m not saying I expect these things will be cleared up by next week. Of course I know these are worries of the future, and I wouldn’t want to deal with them any sooner than that (though I wouldn’t mind confirming sometime next week that I’m still alive). It’s just that there are things I really want to do in life! Mundane things maybe, but I want ‘em! And I think they’re fairly reasonable.
-I want to really like somebody that also happens to really like me, and then date them with some consistency for I dunno, at least a little while. NUTS, right? This is more difficult than you’d think these days.
-I want a career in writing. I know it’s not an easy thing, but full disclosure, I want it, and I’m working hard to get it. So that working out would be swell.
-SOMEDAY I want to get married. Not to some perfect person that doesn’t exist. Just to know somebody has my back, and I’ve got theirs (romantically speaking and whatever else ya need out of a life partner) for however long it takes us to die.
- I am somebody that wants to have children someday. Not everybody is interested in the responsibility of loving and raising a human being from scratch, and that’s okay. Me? I just know I’d really like to be part of a PTA, and the ‘T’ is not an option for me. When I say “someday” I mean someday explicitly in the future, ten years at the least. Some key things like, “can I feed/clothe these children”, “do I have a house” and “how much time do I have to hang out with them?” will probably need to be in place. But assuming they are, I would really like to be somebody’s mom.
-I want to give back to the world and make it better.
Now you know what I want in life. Yeah, there are other fun dreams and goals, but these things I’ve listed make up my Best-of Album for life experiences. Maybe it’s because I want them so much that I think about them as often as I do, and because life takes like, a year to advance you to the next age, I get antsy and start worrying about all the ways it can go wrong. And if you’ve given it as much thought as I have, you know there are a lot of ways.
As we continued to sit in the traffic, some basic conversation gradually turned into me spilling all of these thoughts to my mom. She listened carefully, added her insight here and there, and reassured me these things weren’t worth worrying about right now. I know this. I know that life just has to play out and I’ll see what happens, and probably someday I’ll be able to look back at myself and say ” Chill out! Everything came out fine! Not always how you imagined, but definitely fine.”
But it didn’t really sink in until my mom added:
"Lia, it’s gonna be okay!"
You know, it probably will be.
I’ve seen about 5 different people doing this, which means it’s time for me to say something about it.
Everyone, or at least everyone who is in on the whole “put a ring on it” thing, is familiar with the concept of the wedding ring. If you’re the one person that has managed to be familiar enough with the internet to read blogs while also never coming across what “wedding ring” means, then I’ll quickly explain it to you. For the ladies, (or I guess it can be gentlemen too, whoever feels like it, really) when you get engaged (to be married. If you need this wedding ring explanation there’s no telling what else you don’t understand) you typically end up with a ring on the only finger that’s right next to your left pinky.
Then when you actually do get married, both newlywed parties wear a wedding ring on that same finger as a symbol of their marital commitment to one another for the rest of their lives, in theory. Stuff happens in life where you don’t necessarily wear it all the time, like your fingers swelled up, or you’re in a situation where you don’t want to accidentally lose it, or you’re trying to hide the fact that you’re married from a fellow serial killer because you’re Dexter. Whatever the reason, people still essentially know that finger as “the ring finger.”
I know that that finger on BOTH hands is called the ring finger, but right now I’m focusing on the left because society and jewelry empires decided we all need to.
So now that we all understand how the wedding ring works, it will make more sense as to why just by checking for a ring on that designated finger, anyone can know whether or not the person in question is married. Sometimes people trip us up by not wearing it for whatever reason, as I mentioned earlier, but typically you can reliably know the person is married if they DO have a ring there.
Apparently there’s this little trend going on where people are giving the finger to the wedding ring finger, so to speak. It’s pretty easy: all you do is not be married yet, wear any old ring you want on the ring finger of your left hand, and voila! You’ve turned society upside down! Look at you! What a rebel. If you ever told me to “talk to the hand” I might actually want to because what it’s doing with that ring is just SO contrarian and interesting!
I can understand wanting to rebel against the system in ways that actually make any kind of statement, but there are a few problems with this ring business. The wedding ring concept is just too big for anyone to decide “I’m going to break that rule and everyone will respect me!!” mainly because taking on the wedding ring finger and wearing one there before you’re supposed to really isn’t a very exciting cause at all. It’s like taking a stand against having to keep your graduation cap tassel on the one specific side until you get your diploma by doing it the other way ahead of time. Most people are okay with just waiting and not looking like an idiot.
You don’t have to be a cheesy romantic like me who gives a lot of significance to the wedding ring/finger to notice that putting any other ring there just looks dumb. You’re either saying, “yeah, I put this plastic bedazzled butterfly ring where a normal person’s wedding ring would go ON PURPOSE and it kinda looks like I’m married but I’m not I’m so clever!” or “Yes…this bedazzled butterfly is my real wedding ring/the eternal symbol of my love.” Either option just confuses people to the point that no one is ever going to get to the part where they recognize your badassery and cleverness.
Besides, if nature gave you 9 other fingers on which you can put any ring of your choosing, why not just let society have the one next to your pinky?
It’s the beginning of my senior year of college, which I’m quickly learning is the time when you realize that if you aren’t in a relationship by now, your collegiate romantic career is probably over. I’m a very optimistic person, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that my seemingly pessimistic comments are actually optimistic because they suggest hope in the long run. There just isn’t enough time left to magically fully recover from my most recent venture, meet someone new and fall in love to a degree that will merit continuing a relationship after college. At least I don’t THINK so (yes universe, that’s a dare!) It sounds a lot more depressing than it actually is.
It just means that the story I tell about how I met Him will be, hopefully, a little more interesting than “in college.” It also means that I’ll get to focus more on my friends and my future, and my laundry, and-
Okay it is a little bit disappointing, but at this point I’m honestly convinced that the “we met in college and now we’re married” is not a thing at my school. I’m pretty sure “we met in college and now we’re in a nice long term thing” isn’t even a thing at my school. Serious dating is just not what happens here. Oh, there are the exceptions, but those are either rooted in high school/some place outside of college/some traumatic life-bonding event OR, more commonly, they are temporary and fleeting.
I still haven’t figured out why this is the case, but it’s definitely the reality. College, or at least my college, is not the dating paradise I thought it would be. I consider myself lucky for having had one short but sweet jam on the dance floor of love during my time here, because many people can’t even get the DJ to play the song they requested much less keep up with this metaphor.
One theory I have is that people are living longer, so things like falling in love happen later because “spending the rest of your life” with someone is a lot more time than it used to be, so why rush?
My other theory is that we’re all idiots.
Think about it. In a time where social technology is at an all time high, I still only really know people from the 5 parts of campus where I spend all my time. This is super common. And here we are, feeling like we’ve exhausted our dating pools at a school with dozens of thousands of people.
Is it the end of the world if I don’t meet my soul mate at college? No. Is it a possibility that he has secretly been hanging out in the Gerontology department and thus never crossed my path? I would be surprised, but it would undoubtedly be a pleasant surprise.
Which is why I have a radical suggestion: schools should set up a survey that all seniors take so it can inform them of who is still hiding in plain sight. Then we could at least be sure! I’m surprised the school doesn’t already do this: think of the value couples with the same alma mater offer to a school! Probably a deeper rooted loyalty and willingness to donate funding than the average student that didn’t also receive a lifelong snuggle buddy with their diploma.
Man, if I met Mr. Lifelong Snuggle Buddy somewhere on campus and also became successful in life? You would definitely find a building named after Mr. and Mrs. Lifelong Snuggle Buddy sometime in the future. I’m thinking a counseling center. Or wherever they teach crime forensics. You know, romantic places.
The ironic thing is that even if this service DID exist, college has done too good of a job of telling me that I’m going to graduate single, to the extent that even if my future husband walked up to me right now and announced himself by declaring who he was and tossing a bit of confetti in the air, I don’t think I would believe him. Probably because of the confetti.
Which means he’d just have to try something different. Say, running into me sometime after college. Tossing at me a better sense of what love means, instead of confetti.
And I guess I’m pretty okay with that.
This is coming in a little late, but it’s still in the news, and it still makes me mad, so I’m still gonna talk about it. It’s a little bit amazing to me that this show is still a thing. Then again, that’s the case for a lot of stuff on TV that just won’t die.
Tonight’s focus, however, is on The Bachelorette, specifically the most recent single lady’s televised journey to let dudes compete for the opportunity to put a ring on it.
Now, I TRIED to watch this girl -what is her name anyway? I’m going to look this up right now….ah yes Ashley.
As I was saying, I tried to watch impeccably dressed and primped Ashley organically and genuinely sift through a pile of TV-approved guys to find her true love (isn’t that how everybody’s parents met?). I tried so hard. I really did, but I think it’s safe to say that I must lack some important enzyme that so many women seem to have because honestly, my body can’t handle this show.
Some Bachelor/Bachelorette fans think they know what my beef is, and I’ll address these alleged and incorrect beefs.
1) “Lia, you must not be a very romantic person if you don’t like this show.”
Sorry ma’am, but I think I have a case for being an extremely romantic person. When I fall in love, I fall hard. Bruce Willis-walking-on-glass hard. “But that’s only happened like, twice” you say. Fine! Even when I’m NOT in love I’m still an incredibly romantic person. On Valentine’s Day last year I asked my best friend to be my writing partner in an upcoming class by getting down on one knee and proposing for her hand in writing partnership in front of a room full of people. And she said yes! I have a running list of places to go on dates someday. I hang mistletoe every Christmas and have never been kissed under it, but I do it anyway, just in case. ;) I had my heart totally broken and I STILL believe in love! I’m pretty sure a lack of romantic feeling is not my problem.
2) “You must have an intolerance for ‘cheeseyness’.”
I once ended up kissing a guy while “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” was playing. As in The Lion King. As in the movie was playing and the song came on. And we weren’t little kids, either. Even if that guy secretly wasn’t actually into it, he was at least a really good sport about it, because I was totally into it. Not ashamed. Now tell me I can’t handle cheesey. One. More. Time.
3) “Well then…you must not like men!”
Here’s my real issue with Ashley gushing about how she’s found her soul mate. I’m certain that because I believe so strongly in love, I cannot tolerate the way this show goes about manufacturing it. If it were two people falling in love as they overcome the obstacles that stand in their way, then maybe I’d be on board. What this series does is show a man “fall in love” with a woman while she “falls in love” with him over the course of a season, and the only obstacles they overcome are the 20 other menshe actively dates, makes out with and dumps until that first man outlasts all the others by 10 minutes, at which point they are declared soul mates and get engaged.
How could anyone possibly think that’s a good way to find your soul mate? This process is only okay if you’re trying to decide which flavor of ice cream will be your favorite for the rest of your life: you try all of them, slowly narrow it down by continuing to sample until at last you’ve settled on the right one. Even then, you don’t tell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough that you’ve been doing taste tests with every other ice cream in the shop at the same time it thought you were falling in love with it! But the guys and gals on the Bachelor/Bachelorette know all along that they’re being sampled along with everybody else! How is that any kind of basis for getting engaged to be married??
If anything, the big season finale should just be about reaching an agreement about exclusivity, at which time they exchange friendship bracelets.
I would give them my blessing.