Things Have Changed

When I was trawling through my posts a few weeks ago, looking for that post I never found, I came across this one called “An Insensitive Question.” The gist is that about 2.5 years ago my sister asked if I felt bad when other people got engaged. My answer was “not really” and it still stands.  But then there was this:

On the one hand, there’s a bit of a twinge when a friend gets paired off first and you wonder why you’re less matchable than they are. At the same time, I can’t say I’ve ever felt “left behind.” I imagine “left behind” requires the majority of people to be moved ahead, but there are so many singles to hang out with that I really don’t feel that way. If anything, I wonder if my poor married friends feel “left ahead.”

Yeah, that’s different alright. Not only are most of my friends married, but people younger than me are getting paired off. Last night the neighbors held sheva brachos for someone a year behind me. Everyone my age and up has been long paired off. I am the official old maid of the block.

But it’s not just those a year younger who are “passing.” Good4 is very anxious to marry me off before she accepts a ring herself. And she’s five years younger than me. Yep, I’m soon to begin that chapter wherein my younger sister is dating too. I’ve assured her that I won’t mind dancing at her wedding without the extra layer of hair, but she keeps wringing her hands over it. She’s absolutely convinced that she’s going to be married within a few months of returning from seminary and I’m going to be the wedding nebach case.

Meanwhile, many of my classmates have just finished giving birth to their second child.

So, do I feel left behind? I think I might be starting to.

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12 thoughts on “Things Have Changed

  1. We should make a new club for the officially left behind folk – as opposed to the not-quite-yet-left-behind-enough-to-worry group which you reference in the previous post.

  2. You know, it doesn’t really matter to your life and future if you get married at 21, 23, 25, or even 27. Just gotta go on more annoying dates and worry, but for most people, int he end it doesn’t matter much. You might even get married this year and then wonder, why all the rush? Your sis will find someone at the right time for her, I am sure you would be sincerely happy for her if she did. A lot can happen really quickly, I have a cousin who was the “last” girl in her class at 25.5, then she met a guy, got engaged after 4 weeks, married after another 9 weeks, had a baby right away and it came a few weeks early, so in less than 12 months she went from being single to being a married mom! If you are trying your best, then hopefully your mazel will catch up to you..and keep making new friends!!!

  3. Interesting fact: Marriage itself is a great equalizer. Suddenly you realize you’re not competing or in a race and never were all that alone. You make friends with other people around where you and your spouse decide to live, and nobody has a clue (or cares) how old you are.

    I couldn’t tell you how old almost any of the couples around us are. I just remember being surprised once or twice when it somehow came up, but honestly, I forgot within a few minutes.

  4. Really? Marriage is a great equalizer? From what I’ve heard, the race never ends – to have a baby, a house, 2 cars, kids in the best yeshiva…

    Bad4, I don’t feel so much left behind as I feel sort of past that stage in life. I think it’s a bracha, though, that I’m not at that stage where I care when an 18 year old gets engaged. I can genuinely, truly, go over to her and wish her a mazel tov. What happens to her has nothing to do with me – she is happy she’s engaged because all her friends are and ra ra ra she got a ring and she needs a sheitel…but all that fluff is totally gone at this point for me because most of my friends are not at that stage in life anymore either. So I truly am happy for her that she is getting her sheitel and her ring and her apartment…but that is totally not why I want to get married at this stage of my life.

  5. Chan, I feel pretty much the same way as you, and I think most older singles reach that stage once they hit 30 or so. By now all my friends are married, most are way past the 2 kids, so I am really past that stage. At this point, I expect to hear of much younger girls getting engaged, I expect the young girls that I know to be married before me. I knew my very typical 20 year old cousin would be married and living in Lakewood within a matter of months (I was actually surprised it took her that extra year after seminary).
    It’s basically a matter of detachment; that is something I have developed over the past few years. Otherwise, yes–I probably would be feeling left behind.

  6. It has been a while since I commented here – but #7’s comments really make me sad. With the detachment comes cynicsm, resentment and even more pickiness. Quite frankly, it is a falsehood that you don’t feel left behind. You are just putting up a wall.
    My wife had her 10 year high school reunion recently and of around the 13 percent not married, only 2% of the singles showed up. The married people percentage was much higher. Nobody wants to be the pitty person at the party and nobody wants to feel that everyone is asking what is wrong with them.
    So what is the solution. Unfortunately, nothing, you just daven and hope that your number will be called soon. Until then, you should go on with your life, career and hobbies. Accumulate and save as much as you can, so when you do go down that aisle, you will be in firmer financial place than most new couples. Ultimately, once you are married with a kid or two, it really doesn’t matter how old you are when you got married.

    Ezzie – the race never ends. If the stomach does not have a budding life in it within 6 months, the eyes go up and whispers start. What care are you driving, where do you live etc.

  7. The cheese stands alone. What’s a Muenster to do?

    While of course your head says, “What’s the problem? Enjoy yourself, your dude will show in good time, maintain your priorities,” that other little voice, perhaps the shoulder devil, starts to annoy you with insecurities, visions of perpetual singlehood, sympathetic looks by pathetic people, the works.

    At least I have my shoes. And my clothing. And my bling. They don’t judge me.

  8. As a kid I was friends with people 4 years older than me and down. I married relatively late for my age group. I went through many generations of NMFs. I would not trade where I am now for all those who married earlier. Many are on their second or third time around. Don’t feel left behind, don’t let it get to your head. You’ll be happy when the time comes. It will when it will.

  9. I got engaged at 26. At the time, I felt the most immense pressure to get married – I really did feel like the oldest maid around, and things only got worse when my younger siblings started getting married before me… now I’ve been married a few years, I look back and realize how totally young 26 was, how much later so many people I know got married, and can’t believe I spent half my 20s torturing myself about whether I was ever going to get married. Your 20s is just too early for that….

  10. I agree with both Ezzie and Chan. Marriage is an equalizer when it comes to age. It doesn’t matter how old you are- suddenly its just how long you have been married. I got married earlier than a lot of the “newlyweds” here in EY- and who cares now? its all the same.

    But like chan said, when it comes to the rat race of the world- it doesn’t end with marriage. I felt pressure when I was married over 6 months and not expecting. And now? Big deal. So what that the girl who got married after me has a child almost 5 months older than mine. It doesnt matter. Now most people are on to their second child, and I honestly don’t care. There is a point where you can’t let everyone else get to you.

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