There was this one about being single.
And there was this one about the pressure associated with growing up.
First, singleness. Like the article mentions, I do have time. I have more time than I ever would have imagined. At all times I can pretty much do whatever the hell I want without having to account for myself to anyone. It has gotten to the point where when things impose on my schedule, I find it grating. I notice this more and more all the time. As singleness has become my default setting, so to has doing things, socialising, eating, drinking, working, exercising, and doing everything according to my own schedule and preferences.
Of course, I can't say that I am filling all that "not in a relationship" time with anything "worthwhile." But I have learned to be single, which has been an important lesson for me to learn. Perhaps now I am working on being secure with myself.
And that brings me to growing up. When I was in school, I often felt I had aged before my time, as I didn't seem to share the impulses common to so many in my generation. Now, firmly in my mid 30s, I still don't. People I knew growing up have mortgages and children and careers, and I have none of those things. (You may wish to debate the career part of that, but I consider myself to be figuring that part of my life out rather than knowing or feeling settled in something.)
I wonder sometimes what my life would be like if I took on the trappings of adulthood. What if I had a mortgage that needed paying every month, a wife and kids that needed me at home rather than flitting off to play at whatever odd thing is the flavour of the month for me, and a career that imposed itself on my schedule in a way that prevented me from doing what I want on my own terms. I spent years thinking I wanted those things, and now I can scarely imagine taking any of them on. To be honest, I do feel as though I am being selfish at times because of this.
There is pressure to settle into a neat life defined by these things. I've got plenty of friends who have, and who are happy having done so. I don't hold a grudge against them, but I am conscious of the fact that society is oriented towards these choices. You don't have to make them, but there will always be those who look at you with judgement (or pity) if you don't.
After reading this, I realised that I am quite lucky. The people who are important to me don't come down on me for being immature or any other disparaging characteristic that the busybodies of the world might like to level at me. I'm sure such busybodies exist, but my knowledge of them is almost entirely academic. I'm not sure I can think of any of them who matter one jot in my life. The people who do, don't pressure me to settle into a life characterised by "adulthood."
Most notably, I thought of my parents, who did choose this life, but who have been very good about not pressing me into doing the same. I know it happens, but it's never really happened to me. There is no pressure to get married, there is no pressure to buy a home (they mentioned it might be a good idea to get into the property market some time ago, but haven't mentioned it for years) and I haven't once been hounded to provide grandchildren (my sister has already done that, but even if she hadn't I can't imagine being hounded like that.)
Perhaps I should send them these articles.