Tag Archives: single life

A Hard Time

I am having a hard time right now thinking of anything to write about.

To blog about, first of all. I think about things in my life I can blog about and then remember that I already have. I could blog about my trip to New York over Memorial Day weekend and how I saw Come From Away, Waitress, and Anastasia, plus ate some great food, but would that post really be much different from this post, or this one, or this one? I guess I can always do my Song of the Moment and Playlist of the Moment posts and pick up I Read Books again. I suppose there will always be movies and TV shows to write about. I could keep doing the Links of the Week, and I’m sure at some point I will, but those will inevitably include current events, which are just depressing me right now.

It’s a too-familiar feeling, this type of depression. What’s happened, you ask? Well, nothing. Nothing is happening. I still don’t have the three things I want the most. I still fear things staying the same. I still wonder if I really deserve love. I’m still not a very nice person. I’m still lonely. I’m still searching for someone to tell my stories to.

It’s all been done.

I’m having a hard time thinking of anything to write about outside of this blog. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point I became a writer who doesn’t write. I’ve lost confidence in the ideas I have, lost faith in the idea that I could ever really write something that other people would enjoy.

I am having a hard time making myself do the things I know I should do: write, cook, exercise, go to bed early, socialize. I am having a hard time accomplishing any of the goals I’ve set for myself. I am having a hard time looking at myself in the mirror, or at happy couples I see in public. I am having a hard time being happy for anyone who finds love or has a baby. I am having a hard time taming the negative thoughts raging inside me.

I am having a hard time right now.

A Thought

One thing I’ve heard multiple people in relationships say is that when you’re in a good, happy relationship, you’re the best version of yourself. That it’s ideal to find a significant other who brings out the best in you, makes you want to be your best self.

What I’ve never heard anyone say is this epiphany I recently had: the opposite is also true. When you feel chronically unloved, it turns you into the worst version of yourself.

Look Forward

This was not a good year for me by any stretch of the imagination.

And honestly, it’s only partly because of the fire. While that sucked, it’s pretty much behind me now. What’s not behind me is the persistent loneliness that was the dominant feeling of this year.

I remember back in 2008, I had a coworker who lost her apartment in a fire remarkably similar to mine– it was a fire that was caused by someone else’s cigarette, it killed one person, she had renter’s insurance, and her apartment wasn’t damaged as badly as the others, although she still had to move out. At the time, I felt so bad for her. Now that I’ve been through it myself, I find myself envying her, because there is one key difference between her experience and mine: she was (and still is) married. I had to go through the whole thing alone.

A few days ago, someone asked me who I call when I have a bad day. The question surprised me, because…I don’t call anyone when I have a bad day. Like, it doesn’t even occur to me to call anyone. And I realized that it’s something that people in good relationships take for granted: that when they have a bad day, someone will be there for them.

I might never have that.

The year certainly had its bright spots (my new job is definitely one of them), but overall, I spent too much of this year very unhappy. I’m doing my best to make changes in my life, although I know there’s no guarantee that I’ll be successful in making those changes.

But if I had to tell you one thing I’ve learned from this year, it’s this: it’s important to give yourself things to look forward to.

Buy a ticket to that thing you love. Plan a trip. Sign up for a race. Take a class. Mark your calendar for when that book/movie/TV show comes out. Do what you need to do to keep yourself going.

Because when your future seems uncertain, when you don’t know if your life will ever turn out the way you want it to, when it seems like all the good things in your life are behind you, the best thing you can do is give yourself a reason to look forward.

Post-Christmas Musings

I love Christmas so much, and I just had a very nice one with my family.

Even so, I have to be honest- this was the most difficult Christmas season in recent memory.

When I wrote this, I was in the midst of four straight months of happiness. From my trip to Europe until about the beginning of November, almost everything seemed to be going right. My friends were great. Work was great. My writing was great. I’d even lost a bit of weight. (Uh, did not intend for that to sound like Dr. Seuss.) The one thing I didn’t have was a relationship, but I was feeling so terrific that I was like, “Hey, age twenty-nine is awesome! Maybe this is the period where I’m happy and comfortable and love will finally find me!”

But instead, what found me was the most frustrating two months of dating I’ve ever experienced. And I’ve been actively dating for over six years, so I do not say that lightly. That’s what I was feeling when I wrote this…and since then, it’s gotten worse and worse.

And it sounds so dumb, but despite all those great things still being great, and despite knowing that I don’t need a relationship to be happy (since I’ve never been in one, I’d be in trouble if that wasn’t true), being single suddenly seemed like the only thing that mattered.

And as things with dating kept getting worse, so did what I thought of myself. I started remembering every dumb thing I’ve said and done, every friend I’ve ever lost, every unkind thought and deed of mine, every physical flaw on my body—and I started to wonder why anyone would ever want to be with me.

Yeah, I know, that’s just digging myself further into the sadness hole. Pretty much every bit of advice they give you on finding love starts with, “Love yourself.” But you know what? When you’re twenty-nine and not only does no one love you, but no one has ever loved you, loving yourself becomes kind of hard.

When I wrote this, I was realizing it was hard to write about being happy. I didn’t want to sound obnoxious and braggy. But I’m realizing now that it’s hard writing about being sad as well. It’s one thing if you’re grieving someone who died, or if you’re going through a breakup or infertility or something legitimately devastating. And if you’re suffering from depression, people are familiar with that—and I think sometimes, people tend to pathologize sadness and tell you that you should see someone if you’re feeling down, even when you don’t meet the criteria for clinical depression.

But plain old sadness is harder to write about without seeming overdramatic or self-indulgent. I’m not going through anything like grief, and I’m not diagnosably depressed—there’s no anhedonia or feelings of hopelessness, just temporary sadness. Nothing’s changed to make me sad—the problem is that NOTHING has changed. And years of going through the holidays being single when you don’t want to be actually makes it harder, not easier, to go through it again.

I hesitated about writing about something this personal. But here it is, out there for everyone. I’ve been sad. I know it won’t last forever, but it’s still what I’m feeling now, and for those of you who have forgotten what being single feels like, just know that while there might be some people who are perfectly fine with being single around the holidays, even with all the couple-y ness it’s full of—there are also many people who aren’t.

On Love and Deserving

Warning: herein lie spoilers for the movie The Town, Season 4 of Gilmore Girls, and the novel Driver’s Ed.

I started thinking of all my associations with the words “love” and “deserving” when used together.

Here’s one—this lovely song by Lori McKenna (possibly the subject of a future Katie Recommends):

[spotify id=”spotify:track:0p5x6zmXBjXdQ0bVcvMPhm” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]

Here’s another—the cheesy book and self-help tape Luke listens to on Gilmore Girls (which, laughable as it is, does help him realize that he’s in love with Lorelai). I can’t find the clip where the tape says, “You deserve love,” but here’s another one that includes the tape.

But here’s another, the one I think of most often. A few years ago, I’d just seen the movie The Town and hadn’t really liked it. My biggest issue with it was that when the female lead discovers that the guy she’s been seeing is the same guy who traumatized her by kidnapping her at gunpoint during a bank robbery, she still wants to be with him. I did not buy that for a minute, and shared that thought with some co-workers at lunch one day. One co-worker, who’d seen the movie and liked it, was surprised. “But she loved him!” she said.

“Some people don’t deserve love,” I countered.

And I’ll never forget the look on her face. She looked like I’d slapped her—as if, with an offhand comment about a character in a movie, I’d hurt her personally.

But I meant it when I said it. I really did believe that not everyone deserved love. Everyone deserves to be loved by their parents and families, but does everyone deserve romantic love?

I have a lot of friends who have fallen for lousy guys when they deserve much better. It’s frustrating to see your friends continue to see and to respond to jerks, and my response, more than once, has been that guys like that don’t deserve love. Not that they don’t deserve the love of my awesome friends—that they don’t deserve love, period.

But how far does that theory go? If a fictional bank robber/kidnapper doesn’t deserve love, what about real people? Do murderers deserve love? Rapists? Domestic abusers? Cheaters? Do genocidal dictators deserve love? If you do a terrible thing, should your karmic punishment be the permanent loss of romantic love?

This almost seems like a set-up to a discussion of religion, but my thoughts here aren’t quite so high-minded. Honestly, I’m thinking about myself—someone who has never received romantic love from anyone. Someone who has no firsthand experience with the emotion they sing about in so many songs, that drives the plot of so many of my favorite movies. Someone who, most of the time, tries very hard not to talk too much, in this blog and in real life, about how frustrating my lack of success at dating has been—but someone whose psychic real estate is largely occupied by thoughts on that subject. It’s been getting worse and worse now that I’m twenty-nine and have spent the entirety of my life single and without romantic love. I worry every single day that I will never have the things I want the most—despite trying as hard as I can to meet someone who will help me get those things.

It’s very hard not to wonder what is so wrong with me and to come up with things that are wrong. I am by far the least attractive girl in my group of friends. When I was on vacation in Florida back in August, I had a hard time looking at myself when I was on the beach with three much thinner friends. I’m not getting any younger. And I am, as I’ve mentioned before, not a very nice person, and my success at disguising that fact varies. I’ve always wished I could be one of those people whom EVERYONE likes, but I’ve already failed at that—there are more than a few people who actively dislike me, maybe even hate me, and I have to take responsibility for that. I’m not even sure why I still have any friends at all.

And I guess this has all been a roundabout way to this realization: I’m not always sure that I deserve love. I know nothing productive can come from this way of thinking, but there it is. When trying to find someone has been this discouraging, I find myself thinking—what do I really have to offer a potential boyfriend that no other girl can? With so many awesome single girls out there, why would anyone ever want to be with me? Do I really deserve that kind of love?

Maybe I don’t. But maybe no one does. Because this brings me to my final association with the words “love” and “deserving” –a quote from the young adult novel Driver’s Ed by Caroline B. Cooney. In the book, two teenagers have confessed to stealing a stop sign, which resulted in a fatal accident. At the very end, one of them says to his father that he doesn’t think he deserves love. His father says that he’s right—he doesn’t deserve love:

“That’s the thing about love,” said his father, wrapping a Christmas arm around his son. “Nobody deserves it. Love just is.”

 

I think that might be closer to the truth about love and deserving than anything else.

Happiness Is…

Something I do that I know I shouldn’t do: I judge the severity of your problems by whether or not you’re in a happy relationship.

There are some problems that are universally terrible- death, destruction, and serious illness or injury, and of course I sympathize with people suffering from these problems regardless of their relationship status.

But then there are normal generational angst problems. You lost your job, or you hate your job, or you didn’t get into the school you wanted to, or you don’t know what you’re doing with your life. You don’t like where you live, you’re living at home and hating it, or you’re having trouble finding an apartment or buying a house. You had a falling out with a friend, or you miss your friends, or someone else’s wedding is stressing you out, or you’re fighting with a relative.

If you have any of those problems and you’re also single (or even in a bad relationship), I sympathize with you. But if you’re happily in a relationship or engaged or married? I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but I just can’t take your problems seriously. At the end of the day, you have someone to come home to whom you can talk to about it, who will comfort you and make you feel better. My problems might be the same as yours, but I don’t have anyone to come home to. If I ever lost my job, I wouldn’t have a significant other’s income to fall back on. I don’t have anyone with whom to buy a house or split the cost of a one-bedroom apartment. I don’t have someone who’s committed to being with me.

So there’s my ugly confession, and reading over it, it makes me sound really bitter. I’m not, I promise you. Like anyone, I have moments where I’m down, but the majority of the time, I choose to be happy. And happiness is, indeed, a choice and not a destination like some people make it out to be. You can’t spend too much time thinking about the future or, to paraphrase John Lennon, you miss the life that’s happening while you’re busy making other plans.

But recently, I took a step back and thought about my life and everything in it. I realized that the one unequivocally great thing in my life right now is my friends, who are amazing and fun and keep me sane.

With the rest of my life, though? There’s not really anything else in my life with which I’m completely satisfied. Nothing is really that bad (I guess things could always be worse as long as I’m not starving to death in an impoverished country), but nothing is at the place I hoped it would be by now. I still don’t have any of the three things I want the most. I’m writing more, but still not nearly as much as I want to. I’ve gained an insane amount of weight in the last year. I have trouble getting enough sleep. And my career goals are still in progress.

Life is short, and it’s time to start working harder to change things. When this year comes to a close, maybe things will be better. For now, I’m choosing to be happy, but I’m also choosing to move forward.

How How I Met Your Mother Made Me Cry

I’m probably going to be severely mocked for my next statement, but I’m going to make it anyway.

How I Met Your Mother has made me cry twice in the past five months.

I was a latecomer to this show—I didn’t start watching regularly until halfway through Season 5, and it’s now about to start its eighth season. Immediately, I started catching up with the show on DVD. While there are some sitcoms you can jump right into without watching from the beginning, this is not one of them.

For those of you who never got into the show, late or early, here’s a little background on it. HIMYM is one of the most narratively interesting shows on TV right now, full of flashbacks and flashforwards. The premise is that in the year 2030, Ted Mosby is telling his two teenaged kids the (very, very LONG) story of how he met their mother and all the crazy things that happened on the road there, including everything going on with his friends Marshall and Lily, respectively a lawyer and a kindergarten teacher who are engaged and later married; Barney, a slutty but weirdly charming (probably because he’s played by Neil Patrick Harris) playboy; and Robin, an ambitious TV reporter. We know from the first episode that the mother is not Robin, whom he dates for most of Season 2. We also get little clues along the way about who “the mother” is: she’s roommates with a girl Ted briefly dates, she’s at a bar on St. Patrick’s Day when Ted is also there and leaves behind a yellow umbrella which Ted takes home, when Ted accidentally walks into the wrong classroom on the first day as a professor she’s in that class, and they will someday meet at a wedding that we eventually find out is the wedding of Robin and Barney.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that the quality has declined as the show has gone on, which surprises me, because I don’t think that’s true at all—some episodes are better than others, but overall, I think the show is just as good as it’s always been. I love it for a lot of reasons—for one thing, I was always a big fan of Friends, and this show, also about a group of friends in New York, is the closest thing to Friends that’s currently on TV. I loved all of the main characters on Friends, and I love all five of these main characters, too. I also love how the show manages to capture succinctly so many truths about yuppiehood, coining phrases like “woo girl” and “revertigo.”

But I think a deeper reason why I love it so much is the feeling of hope that pervades it. No matter what happens to Ted, you know that in the end, he’s going to meet “the mother,” a woman he loves deeply and speaks of to his future children with obvious affection.

Which brings me to the two episodes that made me cry.

One was the season finale, where Marshall and Lily welcome their first child. As Ted muses about how his friends, whom he’s known since they did some stupid things in college, are now parents, he realizes that he himself is nowhere close to being a dad, and he doesn’t want it to be that way.

The other episode is an episode toward the end of the last season called “Trilogy Time.” It talks about how, since the year 2000, the guys have gotten together every three years to watch the Star Wars trilogy and imagine what their lives will be like three years in the future. The reality, of course, is always different. Ted, in 2009, thinks that if he hasn’t met his wife in three years, there’s something seriously wrong with him. When 2012 rolls around and he realizes that that still hasn’t happened, he thinks that something really is seriously wrong with him. But we see in the future that in 2015, Marshall and Barney good-naturedly complain about Ted bringing a girl to guys’ night, but are okay with it because “he loves her so much.” Then we see that the girl he brings to the trilogy watching isn’t his future wife, but his newborn daughter. And when they wonder if things will change much three years in the future, Ted says, “I hope not.”

Even upon second viewing, it made me tear up.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see why. At twenty-eight, not only am I still single, I have always been single. I really am starting to think that there is something seriously wrong with me, and realizing that although I want so badly to be a mom, I’m nowhere close to being one.

I wish I had that reassurance that three years from now, everything is going to be so much better. Yes, I do realize that TV is not real life—I am not one of those people who justify their relationship decisions because it worked out for Carrie on Sex and the City (and yes, I know people who actually do that). But even though this show is fictional, somehow watching it makes me hopeful.

Incidentally, I found today, totally by accident, this 2006 article, which is excerpted from a book called The Unhooked Generation by Jillian Straus. Intrigued, I requested an interlibrary loan for the book and will hopefully be reading it soon.

Then I did some Googling and discovered that while Jillian Straus was researching that book, which stemmed from her and her friends’ frustrations at their inability to find a romantic partner, she met the man who became her husband. You can read their story here.

So I haven’t met my future husband yet—at least, I don’t think I have. But it’s a dream I’m never giving up on, because nothing sounds better to me than reacting to the idea that things will change in three years with, “I hope not.”

Stick a Fork In Me

For the most part, I’m happy. Both momentarily and in general. I have a nice apartment and a good living situation. I have a job that I enjoy. I have awesome friends and interesting ways to spend my time—singing in the chorus, playing on my office softball team, probably doing another half-marathon in the fall, and possibly doing an open-water swim. I’m planning on taking some trips this summer as well—NYC next weekend, California in July, DC in August, and San Francisco in September, plus a weeklong business trip to Dallas. Nothing in my life right now is actually terrible.

But here’s what’s been bugging me for the better part of the last six months or so:  I am ready to be done with this stage of my life. The single-in-the-city stage. The spending-weekends-out-with-girlfriends stage. The cycling-through-dating-sites stage.

I’m done with it. Or, at least, I really, really want to be.

I wrote a few months ago about how scared I am of notgetting the things I want the most. Nothing has changed since I wrote that, except that even more now, to quote Veruca Salt, I want it noooooooowwww!

I’m tired of having to check OKCupid or Match or eHarmony every day when I come home. I’m tired of going on awful dates that leave me checking my watch to figure out how long I have to suffer through the rest of it. I’m tired of wondering if all the good guys out there really are taken or gay, if there was some chance years ago that I should have taken and didn’t, if I’m too picky or if I could really be happy by lowering my standards, why there are people who are so much fill-in-the-blank-er than me who have managed to attract guys and find loving relationships when I haven’t. I’m tired of seeing cute babies everywhere I go and wondering how many years my eggs have until they dry up. (Cue the Marisa Tomei foot-stomp.)

Nothing original there, I know. Most single people probably think all of those things. But one thing has changed recently: I am really freaking sick of the city.

This is a change because, although I love Boston (and its surrounding areas, like Cambridge/Somerville, where I currently live), I’ve always seen it as my temporary home. None of the apartments I’ve lived in have ever quite felt like home—they just feel too ephemeral. Until I actually own a house that I can furnish and decorate myself, I don’t think I’m going to feel that way about any place.

I don’t want to be constantly surrounded by people, bumping into people everywhere I go. I don’t want to have to rely on the T to get anywhere. I don’t want to have to walk everywhere- and therefore have to get nauseated from cigarette smoke everywhere I go. I want to be able to step out my back door and not be ridiculously close to every other house around me, and not to have my next-door-neighbor’s creepy fake owl staring at me while I try to read on the back porch.

I don’t want to have to depend on having single friends for nights out. I don’t want weekends to revolve around going out and trying new restaurants or bars. I’d rather come home and find my significant other there and know that we can spend the whole night watching bad reality shows together.

I want to be able to drive in places where I’m unlikely to run into much traffic. I want to be guaranteed a parking space when I drive, and know that I won’t have to parallel park to find it.

I know the suburbs aren’t for everyone. They certainly aren’t cool, but neither am I. For me, there’s an element of permanence to it that appeals to me. I want to worry about lawn mowing instead of cover charges, paint samples instead of Craigslist roommates, finding a baby-sitter instead of finding a date.

If I could live there now, I would. But I don’t have a car, which I’d at least need to get to and from the commuter rail. I certainly don’t have enough money to buy a place, although I could rent. But there’s also the matter of depending on friends for my social life, and said friends being in the city.

I am lucky to still have friends who are single, but that won’t last forever. And I am so scared that they’ll eventually get married, have kids, buy houses, and have more important things to worry about than when to hang out with their friends—and I won’t. I’m scared that something bad will happen to me– losing a job, a death in the family, some kind of serious illness– and I won’t have anyone to lean on.

I don’t want to be left behind.

But I’m sure as hell ready to leave all this behind.

What I Want the Most

A year ago, I blogged about how I moved past hating Valentine’s Day. At this point, I actually kind of like it because it gives me an excuse to spoil myself—and as an introvert, I have always enjoyed the pleasure of my own company, so I take whatever excuses I can. But as I’m another year older and single for another year, I have to admit that I’m reflecting on some things.

Now, before I say anything more, I want to note that this is not a woe-is-me-I’m-single post. It’s not an OMG-my-significant-other-RAWKS! post, either. (By the way, those two things are equally annoying, so basically, everyone should just shut up about their relationship statuses.) But it is a musing on getting older and how I find myself looking at the future differently in my late twenties than I did in my early twenties.

You notice my bucket list here? Lots of fun stuff on it—skydiving, mountain climbing, and some stuff that isn’t in a Tim McGraw song, like owning a boat, recording a song, and being a bestselling author. I also have my list of travel goals that I hope to make some progress on over the next couple of years.

But the truth is, I would give up every other item on both of those lists if it meant that I could have only these three:

  • Fall in love with an awesome guy who loves me back, have a wonderful wedding, and stay happily married for the rest of our lives
  • Have at least two kids
  • Own a house in the Boston suburbs

That’s it. Those are the things I want the most out of life. They are not extraordinary things. They’re things that millions of people manage to do without much trouble. And yet, for me, they might be the hardest items on my bucket list to accomplish. Let’s take a look at them.

Not only have I never been in a relationship, I have never been in love. So my heart has never been broken, but I also do not know what romantic love feels like. And as easy as it is to get cynical and think that real love doesn’t exist or that all relationships will end, I know that’s not true. I know people who are really, truly in love and will be together for the rest of their lives. And I always think of my paternal grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression and World War II and who were happily married for sixty-six years until my grandfather’s death. Real love happens, but it has never happened to me, and more than anything, I want to find someone with whom to spend every day for the rest of my life.

I also want at least two kids. The challenge here is accomplishing the part before that, love and marriage, in time to make that happen. It’s very hard to get pregnant without fertility treatments after age thirty-five or so. If I met a guy tomorrow, I’d have to date him for at least two years before I’d consider getting engaged. Then we’d be engaged for about another year and have at least a year or two of being married and childless before having our first kid, which would make me a first-time mother at about age thirty-two. Which is fine, but remember, this would be the absolute earliest. I’d consider adoption in the future as well, but even if I were to adopt, I wouldn’t want to be too old when becoming a parent.

The side effect of wanting kids so badly is that it has made me pickier about whom I’m attracted to. When I look at dating sites, I end up thinking things like, “Is his career stable? Does he seem mature enough to be a good father? Does he value the same kinds of things that I do?” I just feel like I can’t waste time with someone if I can’t see a long-term future with him.

The other reason I want to find someone who is mature and financially stable is because of the third thing I want: owning a house in the Boston suburbs. Specifically, a house that is on enough land to be more private than living in the city and has at least three bedrooms and a backyard. And a house that is located in a Boston suburb that is on the commuter rail and has a good school system. And, the hardest part, a house that my hypothetical future husband and I can afford.

Now, I am pretty good at saving money. Despite paying a lot in rent and earning the first word of my blog title by working in a not-so-lucrative industry, I have managed to save a decent amount. And one of the reasons I was so excited to become a sales rep was because if I make my number, I get a much bigger bonus than I used to get. But even so, the Boston suburbs are ridiculously expensive, even if you’re just looking for a modest three-bedroom house, and it will take me a long time to save enough money for a down payment. What if I can’t meet a guy who can afford to help me buy a house?

What do you guys think? Have you found your priorities changing as you get older? What do you want the most out of life, and do you worry about how you may never achieve it?

Weddings, Royal and Otherwise

So, have you heard there was a wedding in London last Friday?

There was the endless reporting leading up to the wedding, which inevitably led to backlash, which led to backlash to the backlash. But I admit that I set my DVR and watched the wedding coverage when I got home on Friday.

I am completely single. According to all the stereotypes, I should be complaining about how miserable weddings make me, mocking every bride who dares to let her wedding day stress her out, railing against the wedding industry and ranting about couples who spend a fortune on one day.

It’s almost un-PC to want a big wedding these days. I can’t tell you how many people I know who have said some variation of, “I was never the kind of girl who grew up dreaming of her wedding,” or “I don’t want a big wedding.”

But the truth is, I love weddings, and if I have ever have one, I want it to be awesome. Not necessarily fancy, mind you, but not just a cookout in the backyard, either. I want to enjoy having all my friends and family together in one place. I want to be somewhere beautiful and for me to look better than I’ve ever looked in my life. I want to have more fun than I’ve ever had at any party. I want to be so happy that no changes of plans or problems along the way can get me down. And most of all, I want it to be something that reminds me continuously why I want to spend the rest of my life with (hypothetical future husband).

This article touches on a lot of the feelings I have about my hypothetical future wedding—I know, and to some extent agree with, many of the major criticisms about weddings (many traditions are outdated and sexist, too much focus on materialism, people get so caught up in the wedding that they lose sight of the marriage, etc.), but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to plan mine. I have thought about the venue (somewhere by the ocean in New England would be nice), the menu (food I LIKE! I don’t want to hate the food at my own wedding!), the cake (Party Favors in Brookline), the music (our own wedding playlist), the bridesmaids’ gowns (lilac-colored, in whatever style they’d like), and my dress (long and white with sleeves—I’m not a fan of the strapless wedding dress trend). I do not, however, have any idea who the groom will be. (At least Katy Kelleher, the author of that article, had a boyfriend!)

I think for me, what the perfect wedding would come down to is love. I want the celebration of my marriage with the man I love to be something that takes place in a space I love with the food and music I love and, of course, all the people I love. No wedding will ever be perfect, and maybe I wouldn’t want mine to be, but I do enjoy thinking of all the ways that I could make one day as special as possible. Romantic love is a pretty amazing thing, from what I hear, and I think that if two people’s love is real, their wedding should reflect that amazing-ness in whatever way is the most amazing for them.

As for William and Kate, well, I don’t know them, but I do know that they’ve been together for a long time and seem to have prepared themselves well for their married lives. I hope they’re as happy as they looked last Friday.

And thank you, Kate, for wearing a beautiful dress that will inevitably make sleeved wedding dresses popular again. I hope that’s still the style when my hypothetical future wedding day arrives.