I know the general impression of the last post probably was that I am not very happy with my marriage of 33 years. While that is true to a degree, I don’t really regret the choices I made in life. I take my vows seriously and would not think about quitting my marriage, especially now. Even though we might not agree on things, we simply need each during these final years.
I think the crux of Monday’s post was that I was looking at today’s world and whether I would still marry if I were a 2019 college graduate just entering my adult life. Stepping out of context a little bit, one of my core life preoccupations is to imagine what things would be like if… I have been doing that since I was a very young man. I seem to equally look back and forwards with these dreams.
It seems that the 21st century is being geared primarily for those who don’t choose marriage as their life goal. Let’s face it, many young people today are finding that wedded bliss is just not for them. One of those was someone I got to know in the critical care unit two years ago after my SDH emergency brain surgery. Here is what I said about her on a March 12, 2017 post.
Sam, short for Samantha, was my critical care daytime RN for the two days I was in that part of the hospital. We spent quite a bit of time together and I felt I got to know her pretty well. She is a “traveling RN”, that is she moves around the country working in one hospital then another. Her last stint was in Alaska. She works three twelve hour shifts in the CCU and then has the rest of the week off to explore. She is a millennial who shuns high heels and makeup but has a very natural beauty that quickly shines through. She says she wants to be known for what she does, not what she puts on her body. With people like her in charge of the future of our country, I feel confident that it is in good hands indeed. I met a kindred spirit in Sam those two days but she was not the only one.
It seems that Sam’s generation has found a freedom that my generation only dreamed about in a distant corner of our minds. For us it was all about getting that job and staying on it for 30 years to get a pension and then living the life we are free to choose. We only dreamed of having the kind of experience that Sam has.
Today’s working world is much more free flowing than mine was. There are no lifetime pensions anymore to even begin to entice you to stay with a job you might not enjoy. As long as you have the education and qualification, you can often get an internship at a very reduced pay to prove yourself to the employer. Then after three months or so, you can choose whether you want to work for that employer or seek another opportunity. There so so many opportunities opening up in new fields that you could try.
Taking sabbaticals is also becoming common. Take a job for a few years and when that contract expires take a long vacation before you look for your next opportunity. To those who are not prepared for the 21st century job market “contract employment” is a negative thing. But for those ever increasing adventurers out there, it provide the the natural break to skip work and just live you life for a year or two at a time. You no longer have to define yourself almost totally by what you do to earn an income.
Many 21st century young folks have also pretty much discounted home ownership. They just don’t see themselves as being locked down to one place. If they do buy instead of rent, they choose and affordable “tiny house” of 400 square feet or less that is easily resaleable or moved.
Many have come to the belief that if you are not destined for the parenthood mold then don’t get married.
Plainly speaking, I am envious of those who will live their lives in the 21st century
For the 21st century it is better to be single than married. It’s as plain as that as far as I am concerned. If I could live my life again, this time in the 21st century, I would definitely do things differently this time around. But as I said, I don’t regret the choices I made in life but I kinda wish some of today’s option had been presented to me.