romance vs stability
When I first moved away from parents’ house to share an apartment in the U district with Jen, the apartment’s previous tenant gave me a pot of peace lily. It grew from an 6″ pot into a 2 feet pot. It flowers year after year, survived my stupidity and negligence at times, and revived each time instantly after watering. It’s the best house plant ever. Sadly, I had to give it away when I moved away from Seattle. Last week, when I spotted this little guy at Whole Foods, I instantly knew this was the missing ingredient of my new home.
In the last several weeks, I have asked many people, ones I know or ones I run into randomly why they think marriage is important. No one was able to tell me a good reason but I have found my own in the end. Most people explain that they want a family. See, I can hardly relate to the definition of a family. Since the age 9, I have lived in semi-complete families. My mom went abroad, my brother went to college, and then I went abroad with mom and left dad. I was taught to be independent and strong. So it turned out that finally when I’m at the age to build my own family, I find myself lacking a role model to go by. A friend said if he looked back in his life, the best times had been the time he spent with his family. His brothers were his best friends. I remember admiring friend’s doting parents dreaming how wonderful it’d be to be a part of it. I’ve dreamed of becoming a mother. But in the end, what has always rung so strong in my heart is adventure, seeing the world, not the provincial stability of a house with white picket fences, a dog, a cat, and a bunch of kids. It’s no surprise that I’ve shirked away from dating every man that sought a traditional home life.
Perhaps this is why, at the age of 30, embarrassingly, I am still my mother’s project. When I was in grad school, she worried that I wouldn’t be able to get a job.Now that I have a job, she’s worried that I’d never get married. Her latest “wisdom” passed down to me was choose security over romance. DC is filled with guys who can provide that stability of life. It’s a kind of happiness if you imagine life without stability as being harsh. People, especially first generation immigrants from mom’s generation fear lack of security, whether financial or otherwise. So decisions and choices are driven by security instead of passion. My argument to her was that I could and should provide my own security. But right after I said that, still feeling proud, I realized that I didn’t feel 100% secure. No one can ever feel 100% secure. Instability is one of the biggest reasons that drives people to achieve and work hard. No longer tainted by fairy tale like romance but I yearn to be touched by a kindred spirit. To live a secured and stable life would strip away my spirit and soul. I told mom that would be worse than dying. It would be dishonest to the man I married and to myself.
What I really want is a traveling companion, a partner in crime. The fondest memory in life had been traveling and sharing those adventures with the person I love. That is the kind of “family” I want. Maybe I will not actually succeed in building a family, or maybe I will be lucked out to meet someone that shares the same dreams, but it’s clear in my heart that I will NOT give in to tradition, to convention. Even if it means I might be proven wrong.