Sunday, January 25, 2009

Where are all the good men?

I don't know if I should feel bad about this. For a long time I have held the belief that it is far better to be single rather than be with someone for the wrong reasons. One significant "wrong reason" being attaching myself to another person to avoid loneliness.

About the time I was wrapping up my college days, my grandmother began to advise me on responses to meddlers who tried to urge me to get married "before it was too late." She said, "just tell them that your grandmother waited until she found the right man and that she loved him until the day she died." It was about ten years from the time she told me that until she died. And her husband, my grandfather, had died more than ten years prior to her first advice.

True to her word, she did love that man until the day she died. She married her beloved when she was over thirty. And in the first half of the 20th century, that made her... well, an "Old Maid."

Over the last twenty years Grandma's words of wisdom have been in my head, my heart, my actions when small-town-minds have implied, if not outright stated that there must be something wrong with me to be a single woman at my age.

More than that though, it gave me the strength to know that living with myself, living on my own terms were things that I could do with or without a man. That my "significant other" could be more than one other person, that it could be my whole life... my work, my family, my passions and pursuits.

My great grandmother lived most of her life single. She was married just a few years. Had four children and was widowed shortly thereafter. She never remarried. Grandma Mae raised those four children as a single parent. Not only that, she and her daughters survived the Great Depression.

So, coming from a long line of strong women, I knew that I could hold out for a good man, someone capable of loving a strong woman and realize his good fortune. Not sure if such a creature existed, I continued with my life, making choices, pursuing adventures, following passions.

As luck would have it, such creatures do exist. Sometimes right in your own backyard -- figuratively speaking of course!

As of January 1st of this year, I am engaged. The fortunate soul is named Jim.

Jim so happens to be one of those gems who is a good man who tells me on a regular basis how lucky he feels to have me in his life. Not only that, he loves me for who I am. He makes me laugh, reminds me daily that he loves me and has the odd sense to act surprised when I tell him how lucky I am to have him in my life. He is as big a dork as I am -- cheesy jokes, random rants at things over which we have no control, passionate support of our teams...

Many times I had false positives wondering if I had met that "right man" that Grandma always talked about. Everyone always says that when you meet the right person, you'll "just know it." I've "known it" enough times to realize that this hindsight helps in storytelling, but not in affirming one's present path.

Of course it doesn't help that there are enough good men out there can be mistaken for the "Right One" a time or two.

Who knows what it is that leads us where we go... could it be that Grandma was looking over my shoulder and pushing me along surer paths? I don't know. Coming to the recognize Jim as the "Right One" did not dawn on me immediately. It was not love at first sight.

But "love at first sight" has it's drawbacks. Rather than building doubts as we have grown closer, doubts have been diminished, replaced, and disintegrated altogether. As it turns out, Grandma was right. Waiting to find the right man has led me down a happy path. And I forecast a happy future path as well.

Where have all the good men gone?

Nowhere! Just keep your eyes peeled!

As for feeling bad... well, I guess it's just that I don't want to give the impression that I was depressed and lonely while I was single and that the answer to happiness was in finding someone with whom to merge my life. My perspective has not changed. I look at my past and see happiness... the present, still happy... it's just that I'm looking at the future standing next to someone who is looking the same direction and seeing the same things I see.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice, my dear. I trust you and Jim had an exciting time on RAGBRAI and hope that you plan to write about it!