PSA: Your Pro-Travel, Anti-Marriage Memes Aren’t Helping Anyone

I have a friend on Facebook who loves posting those memes and eCards about how “everyone is getting married” while she’s thinking about “where to travel next.” The first time I saw one of those memes, I simply rolled my eyes and chuckled a little, but didn’t give it too much thought. Interestingly enough, I’ve been seeing them more and more lately around social media, or perhaps I’m simply noticing them more. Additionally, there are plenty of articles and thinkpieces floating around the interwebs that suggest X reasons why you should travel (or live abroad, or quit your day job, or do almost anything) before getting married. As someone who dated her boyfriend for six years prior to getting engaged, I’ve had a lot of time to think about this topic. And I’m just going to call BS on this whole train of FOMO-centric advice.

The idea that there are things you must do before you get married is very much wrapped in the fear that youcannot do these things after getting married. And therein lies the problem: this line of thinking promotes the idea that marriage is some sort of limiting inevitability that prohibits one from pursuing independent passions and dreams. It feels ridiculously archaic for a progressive group of young people, but some of us are still equating marriage with the demise of an adventurous life.

The decision to get married is not a depressing one, nor does it signify the downfall of our previously “single” selves. For me, it’s not an end at all, but a step forward — the decision to embark on a journey alongside another person. A healthy relationship that leads to a healthy marriage is one where both partners support each other’s independence, and want to encourage one another to pursue individual interests while simultaneously choosing adventures together.

Let’s think about those memes for a second. There’s clearly a defensive voice that comes through in these seemingly joking posts. It’s a voice that says, “Well you may be getting married, but I’m leading a much more exciting, independent lifestyle, and you can’t possibly understand because you’re a boring, married couple.” It’s just an adult version of envy-induced teasing on the playground, and it’s incredibly complex. There’s anxiety derived from the perception that everyone else is getting married, and a pressure to do the same. Simultaneously, there’s a gauntlet being thrown from anyone who posts a meme like this. The single person who posts this meme is recognizing that he or she feels a sense of “missing out,” but feels the need to put it back on the couples by saying, “You’re missing out more.”

But who is responsible for this hostility? This fake war is pointless. From my experience, as someone who’s now married, I honestly don’t think we look down on single men and women with superiority, or a feeling that they are leading a life that’s worth less than ours. My single friends are beautiful, incredible people, and I genuinely don’t think my life is any better than theirs, or worse than theirs. It’s just different. And different is okay.

I fully get that society plays a role in all of this. There’s an expectation that young adults will eventually find a partner, get married, and procreate. We all have that one family member who loves to ask, “So? Are you seeing anyone special?” at holiday gatherings. While our culture has a way of instilling expectations in our minds, it must be reiterated that, at the end of the day, there are no rules. There is no referee keeping score on our progress in life. There’s no “right” age to get married, and there’s no “perfect” time to start a family. There is no ruling that says you need to want to find a partner at all. And beyond this, there are no restrictions on what you can and cannot do at different stages of your relationships. You can travel as a mom, and you can travel as an 18-year-old right after graduation. You can be a wife and remain true to yourself. You can be single and confident in your life’s direction.

Of course, marriage is a big deal and a huge step, but it shouldn’t be viewed as something that cripples your individuality, or your desire to do amazing things. Marriage is a journey in and of itself, and it’s one that can be taken in conjunction with a zillion other journeys. Additionally, there is no actual war between single people and couples, so maybe we should stop pretending there is. Let’s put aside our defense mechanisms and our patronizing memes, and recognize that, ultimately, all life paths are right for the people who choose them.

De is a New Yorker turned Bostonian and a lover of all things theatrical. In addition to writing, she is an actress/singer/dancer/teacher and owner of the fluffiest cat imaginable. She is on Twitter.

i built my fiancee a video game to ask her to marry me

Valentine’s Day is coming up, so I thought I’d share the story of how my fiancee and I got engaged. 

Lauren was under the impression that I had been working on a homebrew game for awhile. I had probably put close to 100 hours into the game over the course of about two weeks, and she was getting kind of salty about not seeing me as much as she’d like to. I hadn’t shared any of the details with her except t say that it was a retro style platformer, and when I was finished, I invited her to come play it. I had my camera out because I said I wanted to tape her reactions to the game, calling it “market research.”

(I’d like to note that Lauren is a pretty hardcore gamer. She’s put a few hundred hours in to the Dragon Age series, and I’ve seen her play Fallout with a punching only character)

Lauren opened up my computer to find a single flash file with the game on it.  

Each level was based on different events from when we were dating. The first level was based on our first time really getting to know each other, which had been at Bockfest (a street festival celebrating high gravity beer and also goats) in Cincinnati, OH. 

Anyone who lives in Cincinnati can tell you that our streets are so terrible it’s like living in an actual platformer.

We had our first date only three days after we first started talking, getting pizza downtown.

Following some tenets of game design, each level was a little harder than the last (I had to make it a challenge!) The second level was the first one to feature enemies: leftover drunken goats from bockfest. (I’d like to note that I called them drunk because their animations broke, and rather than walking back and forth, they rolled around erratically)

The next level was based on when Lauren and I first road tripped to my home town of Munster, IN. We’d gone up for Dark Lord Day, a small festival celebrating a rare high gravity imperial beer. 

Lauren’s goal here was to navigate the maze of a factory while avoiding enemies. I loaded some Anamanaguchi to play as the background music.

Next, Lauren had to guide her character through the myriad hazards of Portland, OR.

This one was a water level. Lauren had to navigate the maze in under 60 seconds, or eles the little Lolo character was done for! At only 15 seconds left, the “Sonic Drowning Music” began to play. 

The hardest level was probably this one, based on our trips to Gen Con. Lauren had to fight off cosplayers. 

The clumsy enemies in this level were capable of firing projectiles, making timing essential.

And then there was the final level to tie it all together, featuring multiple types of enemies, a maze like layout, and an 8-bit rendition of a song from My Neighbor Totoro, her favorite film.

After beating the final level, Lauren was presented with this screen

Little mariachis appeared on screen and “Nosotros” began to play. It’s the song my grandfather used to serenade my grandmother when he proposed to her 60+ years ago.

At the very end of the last level, an Austin avatar appeared.

And then this text popped up

I presented the ring that had been hiding behind the computer the entire time. Did she say yes?

She said yes! 

You can watch my “market research” video here:

We share this little blog, LA Pike is just the name we use when we write stories together. Lauren is the L and I’m (Austin) the A , and Pike is how people usually mispronounce my last name. I hope you enjoyed our little story - and happy Valentine’s Day!

One Year and a Day

Last year today, I had no idea my whole world was going to change. Not just in the physical sense, but my spirit would change. My mind would be scarred. My body would get broken. The strength and confidence I’d had my whole life would suddenly be pulled away, and I’d learn for the first time what real and true fear was. 

Tomorrow will be one year and one day since the night I was hit by a drunk driver. I sometimes wondered if I’d ever get to this day…If I’d make it; if I’d recognize myself once it was all said and done. What would my shattered world look like on February 12, 2016? 

It looks like bliss. It looks like gifts and gratitude. It’s love and rebirth, spirit and rejoice. 

My self now is not the girl she was before. In a year and a day, my spirit was awoken because the mind and the body had broken. In just a year and a day - when I promised myself just to keep trying and not to give up - I found my other half, I found my purpose, and I’m now finally finding my strength again. 

If you’re struggling in your life right now, just hold on. I know it may seem almost impossible; that the dark is never going to lift and you’re going to be lost in the night forever. But just hold on. Promise yourself to keep going - and go hard - for one year and one day. Everything can change in that time, if you really try hard to keep moving. 

The world has plans for you. The universe still sees you. Your path is just there, waiting. And the dawn will come. And even if the night is longer for you than it was for me, remember to look up…because in the darkness is when we can see the stars. They will guide you, the way they always have. 

2

“He’s no picnic. I mean, as much as it might be the fantasy for a lot of people to be the wife of that, it’s tricky. And it takes work.”

Ford is most at home at [the] Jackson Hole, Wyo., ranch where he keeps everything in perfect order. “He’s incredibly anal about it. It really gives him pleasure to have his surroundings just so. He requires a bit of an orbit.” - Carrie Fisher, 2000.

***

I love this quote because it shows how well she knows him and how he likes to be in his home. It’s a fairly intimate portrait. 

ancientfaces.com
How Would Your Wedding Have Looked 100 years Ago?
Valentine’s Day is coming up - can you feel the love in the air? Our grandparents & great great grandparents certainly could. Check out these photos of lovers from throughout the 1900s. Did you know? Anthropologists believe that the first family groupings consisted of several men and women forming loose alliances, creating tribes where sexual unions were shared. The first known recorded marriage was around 2350 B.C. in Mesopotamia, although for thousands of years the definition of marriage varied. In Europe and Asia, especially, the idea of one man and multiple wives was popular for centuries. In the modern era, romantic love has usually been the basis for marriage. These are some lovely examples of the beginning of, and everlasting effects of, marriage based on love.
2

THOMAS AND MARY - Tim Parks

Somehow it seemed to him the only thing that would really solve the problem would be to return to the sea and find the old ring with their names and the wedding date engraved inside, in 22-carat gold, and put it on again and then the world would magically return to what it had been before. Many years before.

This did not happen.

This cover is beautifully illustrated by Sara Mulvanny 

Published today by Harvill Secker

Marriage: Marriage Should Change Nothing

Marriage: Marriage Should Change Nothing

My Husband and I are coming up on our one year anniversary in March and I honestly could not be happier with our arrangement. Since the moment we signed the Wedding Certificate, however, we have been bombarded with a host of questions; people have been asking us things like “so what’s it like to be married?” or “how does it feel?”. I was never sure what they were expecting, honestly, and I…

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wildhunt.org
Column: Pagan Handfastings Legal in England and Wales
London -- Many Pagans dream of being able to say ‘I do’ in a handfasting and have their vows recognised in law. ‘Why can’t a handfasting be legal?’ is a complaint we heard around the UK for decades. Well, in 2004, the Scottish Pagan Federation addressed it first and then, finally, England and Wales
By Christina Harrington