Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Dangers of Living as a Single Adult

It's certainly not for everyone, but if you should choose to live your life as a single adult, allow me to congratulate you on your choice! There are some definite upsides to the single-adult lifestyle!

There are also, I should warn you, some distinct challenges. Dangers, even!

Allow me to take a moment to enumerate them for you.

The Dangers of Living as a Single Adult:


1. You seemed doomed to throw away spoiled food.  It's either that or after having baked a chicken-and-broccoli casserole, you eat it for the next ten meals straight. Including breakfasts.



2. You don't have anyone else to blame when your house is a total disaster zone.  Unless you get a pet. Or have a roommate. Or host some especially nefarious ghosts.


3. You miss out on fodder for an entire avenue of passive-aggressive status updates. "SOMEONE needs to learn to replace the toilet paper roll!!!" Everyone knows it's you.


4. You may never realize how awesome you aren't.  Not that I can speak from personal experience, but I have noticed that marriage tends to change people.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing! In fact, it seems to be what God had in mind when he instituted marriage: "The two shall become one," he says, implying that marriage will produce not just two people headed in the same direction, but an entirely new entity. Ideally when this happens, the couple learns to adjust to one another's little ways.  Their new life together requires them to learn the rhythms of healthy compromise, patience, and grace in ways that single people get to avoid. Because of this, single people often find themselves in the position of rarely having their choices, opinions, decisions, or little ways seriously challenged or questioned.  Don't misunderstand: they may have those among their circle of friends who occasionally act in this capacity. Who call them on their crap, question their motives, and encourage them to become the best versions of themselves possible. I thank God that I have people in my life who do this for me! But with the general fracturing of community in American society, even those who we consider our close friends are often not constant companions who travel beside us and have windows into all aspects of our lives.  If we're like most Americans, we have our church fellowship group, our gym buddies, our friends from reading club, and our next-door neighbors, with very little overlap. The upshot of this is that it's possible that each group only sees whatever version of ourselves we choose to display -- a sure recipe for for an inflated ego.

To borrow half of a famous Abraham Lincoln quote, "You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time..." but you can't fool a spouse all of the time. And if we're completely honest, this may be one of the greatest dangers of being a single adult: the danger of rarely having to bow to the needs of others, seldom being confronted with our own selfishness, and perhaps coming to believe (whether consciously or subconsciously) that we actually exist to live for ourselves.

A dangerous situation indeed, but fortunately not one without remedy. If you're a single adult, don't be afraid to step back and evaluate your life for indications of incidental megalomania. If you notice warning signs, don't be afraid to seek help in deflating your dirigible of dignity.

I'm not sure what to tell you about the broccoli casserole. 


2 comments:

  1. What an excellent essay. It illustrates a condition that I find increasingly prevalent in modern life. So few people get challenged and questioned that we've become thin-skinned and begin to take umbrage at every little thing that doesn't align 100% with our view of life. Instead of learning compromise, instead of being challenged and stretched, many ensconce themselves in ivory towers where anything outside of their experience or deeply held convictions is wrong or even evil.

    A dangerous result of of the self-satisfied infallible is that they have lost the ability to empathize with others outside of their life view. There is no room for dialog, no attempt at understanding, and no desire to try to find a place of common ground upon which to begin working together. There is no room for dissenting opinion. Not only do the self-righteous refuse to walk a mile in their brother's shoes, they want to burn those shoes. Some would go as far as burning their brothers to silence the opposition. It's not enough for the self-righteous to herald their views--they must stomp out any dissenting views.



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    1. I see it too, J., and I also find it troubling. I'm most troubled that I see this in my own mirror.

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