It’s very sad when a good friend, with whom you’re used to having physical proximity, goes and gets married. Suddenly, they’re not there to talk to in the evenings any more. They’re not conked out on your couch Shabbos afternoon, or borrowing your toothpaste because they forgot to buy (yet again), or making you laugh at your loathed boss at midnight over cold leftover couscous. Instead, they’re off with some guy that they’ve chosen over you. And you’re all alone in an empty apartment with an ugly Craigslist couch that looks pathetically empty.
“She was the first to break my heart by getting married,” reminisced the bride’s former flatmate about a long-married friend. “There’s been a long string of them since.”
Meeting someone my age who has a baby, a toddler, and a young child no longer fazes me. But the first time I ran into a stranger my age at that stage, I was a bit thrown. Or maybe it was because I was the only single at the table. At any rate, I had a very “left behind” feeling.
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.