Sunday, March 01, 2009

Pushing The Envelope

A few months ago when I went home for my grandmother's funeral, I was able to find some time to hang out with my cousins -- which I was very thankful for since it has become a rare event with me living overseas. My closest cousin is two years my junior. Her boyfriend of six years was chewing the fat with us one late night.

"Dude, it's been so long," I said to him half-joking. "When are you going to marry her?"

He turned serious and furrowed his brow for a bit. "Maybe in two years," he said. "I want to save up a bit of cash first before we enter the lifetime commitment." I heard a slight mockery in his voice when he uttered the last two words. But I had no doubt he was serious about taking my cousin for his wife one day.

Then two weeks ago, he IM-ed me which was a surprise since it's something he never does. He asked me if I wanted him to burn some songs on a CD to send my cousin whom I was meeting in Hong Kong a week from then. In mid-nonchalance, he told me that he was planning on proposing to her on the first of March -- during their seventh year anniversary.

The funny thing is, even though every bone in my body expected him to say it, I still felt taken aback when the words on my screen looked me in the eye. Somehow, it felt more real. It felt concrete. It really was happening. Somewhere deeper inside me, I was really happy -- that I will gain an awesome family member and that my cousin will finally fulfill her lifelong dreams of getting married (and perhaps starting a family soon afterwards too). I am confident that my entire clan will be shocked if they broke up (and I'm willing to bet my cousin won't be the only one that will be nursing a broken heart).

I couldn't understand what was the matter with me. Could it be jealousy? It can't be -- I know that if anyone asked me to marry him now, I wouldn't be able to answer NO fast enough. Could it be age wincing at me? After all, she is younger than me -- and in my family (and culture), there are great expectations for the older girls to get married first. That is their definition of "a natural order of things."

It took me a while to realize that it was the fear that the happiness she will feel when proposed to may not be something that I could ever experience. I know, I know -- I expect many eyes to roll with me saying that because I'm hardly in my 30's and that I still have strings of years to find "the one." But no matter. I wish I can be secured that I will someday possess the certainty that she will have when it comes to being with a lifetime companion.

I don't ask to get married right now -- not even to get engaged. The idea actually sends chills down my spine right now simply because I am not ready. But that doesn't stop me from wishing and hoping that I knew what was in store for me in that department. And it kills me not knowing. And it kills me even further knowing that there's a possibility that it might not happen.

You know when men in their 50's hit the brick wall called "the mid-life crisis" and they set off to buy a tiny red sports car to compensate for it? Well, my version of it is buying a house. Not really, but something similar. I was presented a potential opportunity to buy the house that my siblings and I grew up in (a result of my grandmother dying). At one point during a conversation with my mum, I heard myself saying that I'd be interested in maybe purchasing it if my dad and uncles decided to let it go (and then they can divide the proceed among themselves).

It was like a demon possessed me into saying that. Did I really know the responsibility of having a mortgage -- on top of having to pay for rent since I live in a different country? Ironically, it made sense. The timing seemed spot on to buy the house and knowing that I will be buying the house that furnished me and my family a thousand fond memories makes the deal even sweeter. The idea set my heart to race in Olympic speeds. It felt right... only if destiny has written in the stars that I'm meant to own it. If not, then que sera sera, right?

I'm not sure if it's simply coincidence that the opportunity presented itself just when I was feeling rather down and confused regarding my cousin's engagement. They are two separate events that have absolutely nothing to do with each other -- yet I feel that they cancel each other out.

Was it my version of over-compensating for the fear that I might not get married at all? Or was it my method of acquiring stability and certainty of sorts for myself? Or maybe I simply needed something to distract myself from my destructive thoughts? I'm really not sure.

It's no doubt that at one point in our lives, we all need some growing up to do. Some people are able to do so gradually in their own pace while others get forced to mature more quickly. My cousin and I grew up together -- and it's nice to know that we're still growing up together, just in different ways.

I got the call at 3:30 this afternoon. My mobile phone reflected her name and I knew that he finally popped the question. My cheeks hurt from smiling as she spilled the story of how he proposed. Then her boyfriend took the phone from her and confessed he was unable to sleep last night due to his excessive nervousness. I laughed -- not because it was funny, but because I was sincerely joyous for the both of them. For them, and for me. I wish them all the happiness in the world.


Anonymous Jennifer McKenzie said...

YOU'RE BACK!!!! I'm so glad to see this.
And to me, a mortgage and marriage are not that different. Both are long, term contracts. Both require huge commitment.
To me, it doesn't seem strange that you'd connect the two.
Maybe it's different, but I have the same reaction to a New York publishing contract. Though I know I wouldn't take one offered since I'm not really prepared for it, I'm still envious of those who DO get one. It's my dream. When I see someone else's dream come true, I have conflicted feelings of joy for them and jealousy. I've just accepted that part of the human experience is having two opposite and simultaneous feelings about issues.
Man, it is GOOD to see you. Congrats on the house. Good for you!!!!!!

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounded really nice and more than that, you blog. I wish all the happiness to those two and to you and a silent prayer that may the charming one, one day suddenly pop out in front of you and after that we'd see some stars twinkle and birds chirping etc etc?

Keep scribbling :)

11:57 PM  
Blogger Kati said...

Glad to see you back, Princess B!

YEAH for your cousin!!! I think it's natural to feel a bit of sadness when a thing happens that changes the status-quo, and some jealousy that it's somebody else changing it, even while being happy for the person experiencing the change. There were some definite moments when my dad sold my childhood house last year, that I wanted to buy it just so _I_ could keep it, even though I knew that the house was in rather poor condition and my hubby and I weren't in a position to buy it anyway. But, the thought of losing that childhood home..... It hurt. It still hurts a bit. And there's a bit of jealousy of my dad, who's finally getting to realize his dream of traveling. And yet, I'm happy for him, too!

Don't beat yourself up over the mixed feelings. I'm guessing that as your cousin gets closer to the date of their wedding (which probably hasn't even been set yet, as it's a brand-new engagement), she'll be feeling a couple of mis-givings, and even maybe a slight bit of envy for you, the singleton. Not to say she won't be ultimately happy with her decision, but there ALWAYS seems to be that wondering about "the grass is greener" bit.

As for finding love, it happens when and if it's supposed to happen. And quite honestly, I wonder frequently if marrying a guy who you fall madly in love with is the best of decisions. It seems to me (11 years into my marriage, mind you) that while love is great, similar ideals and true friendship should maybe take presidence over passionate love. (Because, passionate love is quite often just lust, and goodness knows where lust can lead!) A marriage built slowly, carefully out of friendship and shared beliefs has the potential and the likelyhood of being a life-long partnership, while a marriage spawned out of passion is quite often a flash in a pan. Work on being who YOU want to be in life, and if the right person comes along who shares your goals and dreams and ideals, then great. If not, you'll still be the person YOU want to be and that's somebody you can be proud of!

4:41 AM  
Blogger dilip said...

All i can say is congrats (on ur house) and all the best (on the issue of marriage)..:)
Couldnt agree with Kati more..

10:36 AM  
Blogger Crushed said...

Hey, i'm 31 next week and that scares me. Thirty is kind of still in the line, now I'm IN my thirties...


8:13 AM  
Blogger Princess Stefania said...

Sigh. I have those little pangs of jealousy and I'm only 21. They're soon smothered with happiness for the couple involved, but...

(I'm trying to swear off Romance with little success).

1:23 AM  
Blogger Avaran said...

hmmm so this was th first post eh? well, i think im ready for the commitment... th only thing missing is a suitable girl! why i think im ready even for parenting.... :) th way i seem to get along with tiny kids these days... and i enjoy it more than talking to grown ups anyways

2:17 AM  
Blogger Libby said...

oh, congratulations on the house! and to your cousin for her upcoming marriage!! and, well, make yourself thwe best "you" in the're the only one that has to live with you 24/7, so you better like yourself, huh?

6:16 AM  
Blogger thisisme said...

So good to see you back - and congratulations on the mortgage.

Congratulations to your cousin and her fiancé - I wish them all the best.

I really believe that the relationship and the marriage will come when it is right. For me, it is 35 and I know it is right.

6:55 PM  

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