Three years ago when I went through a painful divorce, what my boss told me (to relieve my stress) sounded quite similar to what I read today – “I envy your lifestyle, man. You are free.” Yes I have lived that life until very recently, and I know this is a stereotype. When I saw a fellow-blogger getting the same kind of comment from one of his mates, I couldn’t help writing this. Something that started off as a comment on the blog slowly grew inside me to take the form of this entry. Thank you for inspiration Kenneth. That was quite a nice post.
But such freedom comes with a cost. Just like Kenneth’s father said about being alone during Christmas season, every single guy/gal goes through their own set of troubles because being single is ‘un-cool’ and sometimes very ‘un-family like,’ especially in a place like India where I live. Over a period of time I revived friendship with many of my old friends who are single. Whenever any one of them visited my city, they would call me and I would go meet them for coffee.
And unlike my married friends, I never ask them that unwelcome question married people in India ask their single friends: “So, when are you getting married?” Perhaps that’s the reason why these wonderful individuals keep a close bond with me, even though I got married again later. We were never a group, because I like to maintain personal contact with each of them separately, and none of them visited my city together at the same time.
And because I have walked both roads, I know there are different levels of bliss in being single and being married. You cannot compare them, or think which of these situations is “better.” When I was single, I was incredibly free and totally alone so much to the extent that I sometimes had to shout out from the loo “I’M COMING, PLEASE WAIT” when the door bell rings, or ask the mail delivery man to drop off everything at my office address “because I’m in office when you visit for delivery and there is no one else at home.” That might sound silly, but sometimes you have no other option.
Post marriage, I have to call my wife and keep her updated if I’m hanging out with colleagues after office, or if I need to stay back in office late to attend a conference call so that she wouldn’t wait for dinner. She may not agree to that at the drop of a hat. Naturally. Sometimes that makes me feel terrible, because you are not free to do what you instantly want and you demean your partner if you try changing plans at short notice. It is a balancing act, and gives you immense happiness when things work well.
I sometimes just pick up the phone and call my wife to tell her that I got a positive response from that client I’d been following up since months. And she smiles back saying “I know you are going to get it… something inside me gives me that feeling.” And that makes my day. There was never anyone there to share such simple moments of happiness when I was single. Getting that call from that customer would have been my personal moment of pride or happiness which I would have nurtured for a few more days and have let gone. Also I would stay up late nights, sometimes for many days in tension when something goes bad at work… just because there is no one to speak to and share my worries.
No matter which side of the river you are right in now, the grass always appear green on the other side. At the end of the day, what matters is that you enjoy whichever style of life you are in: Single or Married. And yes, if you are single I won’t ask you if and when you are planning to get married.
What differences did you feel in being single and being married? Do share your story.