Saturday, January 17, 2009

Maybe it's genetic

I'm sure that every family has their quirks and mine is no exception. In particular, there are certain things that always lead someone in the room to say, "It must be genetic" because the behavior is something that other people in the family do too - like the way that I, my mom and my aunt all tend to crack ourselves up with our jokes, even if no one else is really laughing, or the look that my sister and aunts have perfected when someone does something completely stupid (and yes, I realize these things are more nurture than nature but that's not the point).

Along similar lines, it dawned on me recently that I can probably credit my family with my single status, or rather, with being so comfortable about my single status. In my family, being married seems more the exception than the rule. Perhaps even more interesting is that I still have plenty of relatives who are in committed, long-term relationships, just not married. For example, my mom's older sister has been with the same man for over thirty years but they never got married (both are divorced and decided they just didn't want/need the marriage thing). My mom's younger sister got divorced when I was four and raised a son by herself; nowadays, she has more of a social life than I do, with a tight-knit 'tribe' of lifetime friends. I have three cousins on my dad's side who are all in committed relationships but not married; in one case, my cousin was planning to get married, had to postpone the wedding, then got pregnant and although she and her partner are still together (and now with three kids), they never got around to having that wedding.

My own parents have one of those 40-plus-year, rock-solid marriages but I think even that has made me feel more OK about staying single, not less, since I tend to think that unless I can find what they have, what's the point in getting married? It also helps that I get absolutely no pressure from my family whatsoever about my relationship status. I realize this probably puts me in a minority among thirty-something single women (and certainly among Asian-American women!). I'm always a little incredulous when I hear other women talk about the bizarre (to me) things that their families have said to them about 'settling down' or 'finding a nice man', partly because I honestly can't imagine my family ever saying those things to me.

Maybe it's because my family is all in the Bay Area, where the idea of 'non-traditional lifestyles' was practically invented. Or maybe it's genetic. Whatever the reason, I am deeply grateful to have the family that I do...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Are you reading Bella DePaulo?

If you are single, whether you are happy about that status or not, you should be. DePaulo, the author of Singled Out, is simply really good. In a recent post, she methodically dissects the singlism in a recent study about how singles are no more likely than coupled people to have "issues with attachment". What I love about her work is that she is so careful to avoid the same kind of bias that she is critiquing in others; for example, she often makes a point to say that she is not suggesting that all single people are happy, have full lives, or whatever else people are saying they aren't. She's just trying to get people to see the biases and flaws in so many of the 'studies' often touted as claiming marrieds are better in some way than singles.

What I find interesting is that she has gotten slammed by some commenters as being 'extreme'. And I'll admit that there have been times when I'm reading her blog and I think maybe she's reading more into something than is really there. But then she also comes up with posts like this one, where the examples of singlism are so acute (and obvious) that I just want to scream. And that makes me wonder - those times when I am resistant to the idea that singlism is rampant, is it because I buy into it myself? Or because I want to believe it isn't there? And do I only think DePaulo is biased because it's so weird to have someone point out singlism? That's why I think DePaulo is so good, because she makes me ask those questions.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Today, the internet is full of bloggers making resolutions (nothing like announcing your intentions to the world to create accountability!) and I'm tempted to add my list to the mix. But everything on my list really boils down to only one thing: balance. Life in 2008 was definitely out of balance; it was all about work. Fortunately, I love my work (shouldn't there be some other word for work when it doesn't seem like work?), but I want life in 2009 to include a lot more. I want to get back in a kayak more regularly, I want to get away from the computer more often, I want to meet new people and re-connect with old friends. With everything going on in the world, particularly with the Obamas moving into the White House, 2009 has the potential to be an amazing year. I hope it lives up to that potential for all of us...