Societal wisdom seems to dictate and encourage young people to settle down and marry after college. I can recall professors, friends, and family to give such advice repeatedly. For whatever reason, I never listened nor fully understood the pertinence of doing so, especially as a woman, until recently.
My dream in college was to ride the train of academia all the way to the top and become a Dr. of something. Research, write, lecture and do general scholarly stuff – that was the plan. That started to become difficult when love, marriage, and the maternal instinct kicked in.
At first it seemed entirely feasible to accomplish in tandem. My first husband was in college with me and had the same plan of obtaining a Doctoral degree in Psychology, the daughter field of Philosophy. So, dreams of sitting in arm chairs with a glass of fine wine in our study against the backdrop of a crackling fireplace filled our heads. We talked about that study, what we wanted it filled with. How we wanted a room for exotic animals for studying purposes. There was that connection of two scholars.
But there were many problems.
We were married and living in his parents basement along with his grandmother, aunt, uncle, brother, and two god-children. This was not how I pictured married life to be. Quickly, fighting ensued. I was getting the baby itch: he was adamant against doing so until entire financial and career security, I was set in my ways that I wanted a family and wanted it now. We didn’t have our own place to live, and neither of us wanted to live like that but neither could fathom nor obtain a job that could come close to affording such a thing while full-time students.
As a Philosophy student, I was also very rapidly changing my personal philosophies and finding my niche in the field. The more I studied, the more who I was before college came to change. What started as a Christian wife, became an Atheist wife shaking the very foundations of the marriage. I started living out my new morals and philosophies the more they became integrated into my core being and mind.
Needless to say, it went down in flames.
Fast-forward through the parts I’ve already blogged about (falling apart, debt to the college preventing me from finishing my education, re-marrying…)
And here I am at a similar place.
My debt is freed, my last course is completed, and my Bachelors of Philosophy is on its way. The divide that was there before has reared its ugly head and I came to a point recently when I had to chose. My philosophies and studies were not complete, and more changes occurred. The baby itch returned in even fuller force (the woman’s clock ticking away) and I have maintained an apartment and successful, albeit entry-level, job for quite a few years now. Academia and scholarship was not fitting into the model I currently had at all. From the pragmatic, not book-ish husband, to the accumulation of factors that secure me tightly to where I am, and all the way to my thesis revolving around universal doubt and how a polyamourous society frees the female self.
Do I chase my academia, uproot all I’ve built, live in polyamory and ethical skepticism? The change is too abrupt, too destructive, too painful.
When one chooses love, marriage, family, the paradigm shifts. There is a reason many a philosopher and social activist lived the independent life.
There is a reason why it is admonished to young people to settle down after their studies. The dreams shift, they must. Especially when they are exclusive and variant from their partners.
For the time being, I have chosen love and family. For the time being, this stings. Before my studies I dreamed of being a mother and living the simple life. I would work, sure, but I would thrive most in the simplicity of familial happiness and love. I had lost his dream for some time, and it has been combating the alternate dream for my attention in the background but while returning to school was not an option, it lost by default.
The pursuit of Philosophy and academia must be bid farewell. Who I am in it, is no longer who I am now. She has tried to remain, but has only caused pain and raged to uproot me from all I know and have become.
A new day is dawning. Whether the old dream will resurface, or will crash in flash, only time will tell. One must die and fall to the ground for another to rise and give birth to new life.