Monday, January 15, 2007

“A single woman of good fortune is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else!”

Over the holidays, I sent out a letter to family and friends describing my activities. This past year had brought a lot of changes in my situation—namely that I started graduate school after 2 years of applying and then being rejected and working at mind-numbing, soul-sucking jobs. I also informed them of other rather exciting events coming up in the near future: a marathon and then a pilgrimage to P.E.I. In response, I received a letter in return from a relative of mine (Lady R.) whose sense and views, in the past, I have respected. Instead of commenting on the exciting beginning of my chosen career path and/or the other facts of interest present in my letter, she instead focused on the one thing I have no control over…..my marriage state, or lack thereof.

And while her letter was meant to be supportive, an attempt to socially network her unmarried relatives to other unmarried acquaintances, it was disturbing to see my life so reduced in meaning and this from a relative who spent most of her adult life also being single after a rather disastrous first marriage. A woman, whose self-sufficiency and enjoyment in life I wanted to emulate if I found myself in a similar situation. How shocking therefore to be such mercilessly jabbed.

This is not to say that I choose not to be married, that I don’t want marital felicity. Indeed, I am as hopelessly romantic as the next…..perhaps more. However, to end, I must again quote Emma Woodhouse:

“I have none of the usual inducements of women to marry. Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing; but I never have been in love....And, without love, I am sure I should be a fool to change such a situation as mine. Fortune I do not want; employment I do not want; consequence I do not want.”

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