Guest Post: I’m Crazy, But Only For Today

I’ve never done a guest post before, but YH landed this in my inbox, and I like it. Even better, YH is a guy.

When I got back into shidduchim last year, there was one rule first and foremost in my mind: I wanted to get married, not play games. One of the reasons I want to get married is to find the happiness that comes from stability, because it’s hard to be happy when you have this huge gaping hole in your life. It’s hard to see the positives past such a big negative. It’s hard to enjoy yourself when all you want to do is lie down and indulge in self-pity. We’ve all had something which makes us feel incredibly lousy. It’s the essence of the shidduch crisis. The crisis isn’t that there are thousands of unmarried men and women who desire strongly to have kids and raise a family. The crisis is you and me. It’s a personal crisis shared by thousands.

I know what it means to hold a baby in your arms, to teach a child to read, to show little ones right from wrong. Boruch Hashem, I’ve been blessed with several ridiculously cute kinfauna (kn’ayin harah) whom I treasure more than anything and who love me back unconditionally. Boruch Hashem I have a close relationship with my married siblings, so I have a glimpse at the inside of the married universe.

It’s the hardest thing for me in the world.

How can I maintain a balance, an equilibrium, when every day I’m constantly reminded that I’m still alone, that I’m still single – especially in a culture that revolves around family life? How can I maintain yourself through rejection after rejection; to see my optimism and self-confidence crumble into dust?

I have to take some time off. Indulge in a little of that self-pity, and do it without feeling guilty. Just let it wash over myself. Watch a movie, seek out sympathetic friends. Do something relaxing, comforting. Then think it through – remember what my life is about. True, the life I want includes a wife and family. But that’s not the life Hashem has given me – not yet – and I have to live the life I have now to the best of my ability. There is so much out there for me to do: I have no business wallowing in yearning for something out of my reach.

To the contrary: it’s time to grab life by the horns. Time to kick back into high hear, make a goal for myself, follow it through to the triumph. Start exercising, drop a few pounds, ditch the raggedy sweater with the nachos stains and get a nice shirt and new tie. It’s time to feel better about being me, to start being proactive about life in general.

It’s okay to have a bad day, but only as a launchpad for a better future. It’s okay to crazy – but only for a day.

On Being Muddled

A hat tip to the Curious Jew for sending me to this post by Fudge. It captures the enervated malaise of an Unmarried Person taking stock of his/her life.

It’s not that I’ve ever thought I was a crummy human being because I wasn’t married. I’m good at lots of things, even if getting myself married isn’t one of them. Rather, it’s about that detached, confused state that a single person so easily slips into. Where do I belong? What should I be doing?

It’s so simple, or at least so defined when you have a family. Family first. Husband and children. The important parties are there to give their input. But for single people, it’s all a tangled muddle of loops of hope fading off into a million uncertain futures.   Maybe half the desire to get married stems from a desire for definition and clarity in life. To just know what you should be focusing on.

An example of this that frequently arises in my life is the Career Question. Everyone knows that your chances of bumping into the right guy are higher in the tri-state area than out of it. But career progress in a job can often lead to OOT. (Which is not unwelcome. Who wouldn’t want to live outside the tristate area if they had the option?) However, if one moves OOT for a job, one is being Career Oriented and Independent, which is anathema in a (n ultra-orthodox) woman and bad for dating in general. Also, there’s nobody to go out with. Whereas if one stays in NYC then one is being family oriented sans the family – and how pathetic and depressing is that?

(It gets even more muddled if the OOT job is more family friendly than the IT job. It loops, cancels out, and leaves you stranded someplace, pathetic, but not entirely sure why. Well, you know why. It’s because you’re single.)

Fudge’s solution is to get direction in life from something else. Slot yourself into the grand scheme of things without a spouse. Find meaning in life as an individual.

The idea is inspiring. It sounds wonderful.

…except, yeah. It still doesn’t help. I’ve never really had a grand personal ambition. I try to do well in my education, employment, and hobbies. But I’ve always taken a more passive approach to Big Meaningful Missions. I take them as they land in my inbox. It’s given me some interesting tasks in life, but nothing near steady employment. So choosing Fudge’s route is going to require a full-blown mid-life crisis. Why am I here? Why do I exist?

But even so. Let’s just say I’ve found meaning in expressing my love for God by bringing spirituality to knock hockey. Does that mean I can move to Thailand now? Stop paying the SYAS tax? Channel my spare cash into trust funds for the kinfauna? This approach may help me figure out how to spend my spare time, but it doesn’t answer the big question of what should be important right now.

And so I remain, befuddledly yours,

A Uxorially Challenged Person