My grandfather is dying and I’m on my way to Argentina to say goodbye. I’ve been thinking about him and his wife – my grandmother – a lot. He’s 94 and they’ve been married for 68 of those years.
I wonder: What would have been if he hadn’t married my grandmother? If, instead, he had dated her for a while and then decided he could find someone better…perhaps prettier or smarter or from a more well-to-do family.
Obviously, I wouldn’t be here today. Our whole clan wouldn’t exist. But what about him? How would he have ended up?
Not much different. He probably would have ended up with a similar woman and they would have had a similar set of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He probably would have led a similar life, with similar degrees of disappointment and joy. He would have had the same short temper and the same propensity to give big tips. His marriage would have worked in a similar fashion with him being the man of the house and that’s that.
It would have all been similar because, after all, he was the same guy with the same ideas and principles and with the same vision of how life and marriage works.
Today we don’t marry our neighbour or high-school sweetheart. We explore the world and ourselves before settling down.
That’s a good thing but in the Age of Swiping it’s gone too far and become a detriment because we expect our fantasy to become reality, and we are on the constant look-out for a Significant Other (SO) to get us there even if it means dropping our current SO with whom we have a pretty good thing going.
I call it PBO-ing. Pending Better Offer.
I don’t think people should do what my grandparents did (which is get married in their 20s and make babies soon after) but I do think that we run the risk of never being satisfied with who we have in our life today because we’re always swiping and looking for an upgrade for tomorrow.
My grandfather has flaws, which my grandmother accepted, and vice versa. The good with the bad, the wow with the blah, the hot and the not. That’s what gives a relationship a chance to succeed. We need to accept that ‘perfect’ doesn’t exist and we’re always going to miss out on something but that’s not always a bad thing.
To commit to someone and have that person commit to you is a beautiful thing even though it will have blemishes and shortcomings.
What will you choose?