Yesterday I went to a taping of Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell and not only was the host hilarious and charming, the warm up comedian act was equally so.
This twentysomething female Jewish comic briefly discussed her love life. At present, she’s single and happily so. While she is not sure whether or not she’d like to be single forever, she sometimes tells her married friends that she never plans to marry to annoy them. Because inevitably one of these friends gets very upset at her assertion. “You can’t know that you want something forever when you’re in your 20s,” this married friend will explain huffily.
Oh reary, the comic seemed to say with her arched eyebrow and expression. Imagine making some sort of eternal promise in your twenties to, say, stay with another person forever. That can’t be a good idea.
Obviously, with the average age of matrimony still in the 20s (though climbing), plenty of folks in this age category are making “forever” decisions, or at least ones that are intended to be eternal. But at least 50 percent of these “forever” decisions turn out to be temporary, like many other decisions we end up making, such as a short Winona Ryder inspired haircut I got in the 11th grade. In fact, that haircut, which took practically a year to grow out properly, lasted longer than many marriages.
The notion of “forever choices” can also be applied to having children. Again, women (rarely men) are cautioned against deciding not to have kids with the same sort of logic. You don’t want to make a decision that you can’t reverse. Um, last time I checked, having kids was also kind of irreversible–a forever decision, if you will.
Speaking of eternity, what if the afterlife had the same “eternal” success rate as marriage? What if you spent your entire life doing good works only to ascend to heaven and learn that “forever” actually means on average, say, seven years? It would be a big letdown, that’s what.
So let us stop chastising each other for the types of forever decisions we may or may not make. Get married or don’t. Have kids or dogs. Because if it’s the wrong choice for you, it’ll really feel like forever.