Archive for February 7th, 2009

February 7, 2009

Battle of the Sexes

“I definitely want to do that some day,” said The Boy.

“Hmmm,” said me.

“Why? You don’t want to do that?” His voice hesitates, which is unusual. The Boy, as a rule, does not worry, and therefore rarely hesitates.

“I don’t know,” said me. “I just don’t know where it would fit in my life.”

“Oh,” he said. He is disappointed. Sad. We are at a temporary empasse.

The “that” in question is spending a year abroad, teaching English, perhaps, making American money and living off an Asian exchange rate. Living overseas is something I never dreamed of doing as a child, but something that every college student/young person in my generation has done or wants to do. An adventurous thing. A gutsy thing. An experience of a lifetime. When I was still in college, I considered it, since I had so much financial support at the time it seemed silly not to. And maybe it was silly to put it off since now that I’m older, I just can’t seem to justify it. I am not even 24 but I feel like my life is flying by me. I’ll be nearly 25 when I start graduate school and almost 27 when I get out. I will have student loan debt. I will need health insurance and a roof over my head and the beginnings of a career. Where is there room to disappear to across the globe without sacrifice?

These are the big differences that make my stomach lurch. If this is the person with whom I spend the rest of my life, then shouldn’t we be on the same page about these broad goals? Shouldn’t I be seeking experience and  adventure, or he the comforts of home? When we talked it quickly started to feel like an argument I didn’t want to be having. I have nothing against the idea. I can see myself living abroad, even. That means a lot in the context of my brain. There are a lot of things I *could* do, and do well, that I just can’t *see* myself doing (teaching, practicing law, technical writing, etc) but living in a flat with someone I love? I can see that.

But I can’t see it right now.

Because maybe it’s not the difference between Lance and me, but the difference between boys and girls. Or at least the kind of girl that is me (which is actually unlike a lot of girls I know) and… well… probably most boys. I am 23 and my biological clock is already ticking. I know I should not/can not/do not want children right now. But I will want them. And I will want to still be young, healthy, and fertile when I do it. I don’t want to put off starting a family for something else that can certainly wait for the remaining 50 years of my life. Something else like living abroad.

This could be what ultimately divides me and The Boy, if we can’t figure out a way to communicate and compromise: that his passions lie out in the world and mine often don’t, that he’d choose travel over children, that I get worried sick over where I will have health insurance and how I will pay bills and he sees money as a means to an end and nothing more.

I want to support him and his passions, but I don’t want to have to pretend that I’m more into this overseas adventure than I am, just like I don’t expect The Boy to be excited over painting apartment walls and picking out bassinets either. I hope that we will both be open to either possibility, to see that life isn’t just either/or. And I want him to accommodate my goals just like I will do my best to accommodate his.

I might feel too old to take a year off from my life plan at this moment, but there are plenty of other moments to play with.

The one I like? 35-year-old me, in between jobs or taking time off, getting on a plane with my adventurous husband and our soon-to-be-adventurous children and getting away from the world for a summer, together.