“David and Sierra just got engaged,” my friend tells me, standing in the middle of the kitchen she shares with her two-year live-in boyfriend, pouring herself a glass of very nice red wine.
And then she sighs, the knowledge that she is not yet walking around with a rock on her left hand weighing her down with the heft of a heavy sack of potatoes. Sighhhhhhhhh.
“Don’t even give me that s*%t,” I tell her. “Don’t even.”
When a person in a committed relationship complains to a single friend about not being engaged, it’s like someone with a cold whining about their runny nose to a person with cancer. You, with your green boogers and your sore throat, may feel less than stellar; the other person will soon be dead. My friend, sensing this is the case, promptly shuts up, wisely not bothering to offer any form of argument or condescending “Don’t worry, you’ll get there someday” type of comment.
Everyone else on the other hand, seems to be getting there practically every weekend. Each time I login to Facebook, someone has gotten engaged, married, or popped out a kid. And those are just people I know directly. The web of domestication spirals outward. Everyone else I know knows someone who got engaged, married, or popped out a kid, and I am then supplied with, without request, pictures of some 1-degree-of-separation stranger’s various happy days. Lucky me.
When I signed up for Facebook in 2007, it should have come with a disclaimer, reading something to the effect of the following: One day, when you are older, this site will become a taxing reflection of all of your failings. What was once a fun place to share party photos from the night before, connect with high school friends you once had things in common with, and stalk potential crushes, will instead eventually be a cause of great and needless suffering. For some, it will serve as a deceivingly well-calibrated megaphone in which to holler joy. For others, it will be the mirror filled of everything you have not yet accomplished. Those people will weep silently into their pillows at night.
Like no other time of my life, this particular era feels like one of extreme compare and contrast. As people have worked through their twenties, the fruits of various labors have begun to emerge. People in healthy relationships follow a typical chronology. Rice is thrown, houses are purchased, babies arrive. Those who have been slaving away at their careers start to have things to show for it. Expensive vacations, promotion announcements, nicer clothes. All of which is thrown at me on a near daily basis, either from the maniacal glow of my computer screen or from my pretty friend, standing across from me right now.
In times such as these, I strongly consider moving to a remote farm in the middle of Montana, with no friends to speak of and zero wifi. Yes, happiness could certainly be found there.