Friday, November 09, 2012

Tell Yourself a Story

Someone I know recently said "And I'm hoping that now that my (male) spouse is over 30, he'll finally get it together.  I know it takes men a lot longer to mature and a lot of my friends tell me that  30 is the magic number."

(If you are thinking "archaic sexist bullshit", well, you're right.)

I heroically restrained myself from pointing out that my also-male spouse got his act together well before thirty, held more than one job successfully, and managed to be an all-around responsible human being for lo these many years.

This person is telling herself a story, about how one day, her spouse will magically change into a responsible adult who accepts the consequences of his decisions. (She has been waiting for ten years.)  People do change, but I don't think turning 31 will suddenly make it happen.  Getting fired, on the other hand, might. 

We all tell ourselves fables of what our life is, what it will be, what it should be.  Sometimes my fable is that I'm a good mother even when I'm cranky. (It's not true.) Sometimes it's about how, someday soon, we'll live near my mama and daddy, and go over for dinner every week, and Bug will get to ride the tractor and make bonfires and do little sewing projects with his grandparents.  Dr. S tells himself fables about the ideal teaching job.  These are natural things to do.  But fables that make excuses without providing a path to make oneself better are harmful.  This person is on a one-way trip to heartbreak.  I hope she and her spouse find a better fable to live in. 

2 comments:

  1. That is too bad about your friend. People really don't change unless they want to, and even then it's challenging. A arbitrary number will certainly not bring about the change she's hoping for.

    I tell myself my parents will finally move next door, and my children will be able to walk over there whenever they want (y'know, like when I was a kid and everything was perfect in my life.) Also, that eventually I'll figure out what I'm going to do for a paid career. At least I don't hinge my desires on DH changing, because I know that's out of my control.

    PS- I really should not complain about my parents being closer, they are only 2.5 hrs away. I did enjoy my childhood with Grandparents next door, though.

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  2. SIGH. I'm doomed--all fable, no path. Your fable sounds awfully nice, though.

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