The realization that I wasn’t like most women, or most people, for that matter, was solidified in my Perspectives on the Individual class, of all places.
For those of you who may be fortunate enough not to know this, Perspectives on the Individual is a first-year level university “core” course, and is a requirement for graduation. Because I’ve put off taking these courses, I sat through CORE 2 with a bunch of freshmen and sophomores, while the majority of my own year were off taking Life Drawing or Human Sexuality, having already completed all four classes.
So instead of making drawings of naked people, or putting condoms on a banana, my dumbass was stuck reading the epic of Gilgamesh and learning Freudian philosophy.
But anyway, that’s a story for another column entirely.
I was lucky enough to have a professor who facilitated some pretty thought-provoking discussions.
One class, Professor Adams presented us with an interesting choice: Option 1, we could become immortal; Option 2, we would live an average life: we’d get married and have children and live happily ever after; Option 3, we would achieve something great, something that would change the world forever…we would achieve greatness, but at the price of never having a family, never getting married or having children.
We were given some time to deliberate, and then Professor Adams asked the class if anyone had chosen Option 1. I wasn’t really surprised to see that no one raised their hand for this one.
He asked the class if anyone had chosen Option 2, and just about everyone raised their hands.
Just about everyone except me.
I think that our society has instilled a very formulaic interpretation of how to achieve happiness, especially, in women.
They tell us to go to college, and get a job.
After you establish yourself, enjoy your career for a few years. Once you’re done with that, find yourself a nice fella, and marry him. Settle down. Enjoy your marriage for a few years, then have children. Raise those children until they grow up and go off to college.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Is this how we really achieve happiness?
Sure. I guess for most people, it works. But I’ve decided that it can’t be the only way, and I don’t think it’s the right way for me.
With the end of college fast approaching, I can feel the pressure of the real world closing in on me.
More and more, I think about where my life is headed, and while the women around me (my friends, my mother, my peers) consider their futures alongside a man, or worry over their singlehood, I am certain of at least one thing.
I don’t ever want to be someone’s little wife.
I don’t want to drive a mini-van to soccer practice. I don’t want my physical purpose, my child-bearing abilities, to define me.
At this point, I should be demanding more out of life. And I am, because I think there’s got to be more than just one way to be happy.
I look at the women around me, all at different stages of life, and I’d want more for them too.
Because I’ve decided that I’m not a woman who needs a man. I want to be the woman a man needs. Someone who is strong, sophisticated, intelligent, and fine on her own.
I’m not saying that all women should just stay single forever.
I want companionship just as much as the next person. I’m not putting down marriage, or raising a family, because down the line I may want those things too.
I’m not saying men should need women, or that anyone should need anyone, for that matter.
I’m saying that women, especially those that are at this same place in their lives, should stop thinking so much about men, keeping one, getting one, whatever the case may be, and focus on being awesome instead.
Because there’s only so much room for achieving greatness in life. If one day I get married, and if one day, I decide to have children, that’s great.
But right now, there’s so much more that I dream about.
So thank you, Perspectives on the Individual.
You actually managed to teach me something about myself.