I decided to watch an episode of the popular 80's television show 'Thirtysomething'. I'm not really sure what over came me, but perhaps I thought that since I am "thirty something", it might have something to offer me. Alas, I was sadly mistaken.
In the pilot episode of this relationship drama, we are introduced to the main characters of the show. They are a married couple with a seven month old baby girl. The wife has decided to stay home to be with her daughter, because (as she states many times in the episode) she feel closer to her child then any other person. The husband, in the meantime, has started his own business and struggles to deal with following his dream. Throughout the pilot these two people try to figure out a way to fit into their new roles in life and somehow manage to still be happy. From what I gather, those two things can't happen at the same time.
As I watched this show I started to feel, well, sick. These two unfortunate people are forced into family dynamics that do not fulfill them. They do all of these things because it is what married people are supposed to do. Ugh!!!!!! All through the show the husband dreams of having an affair and the wife stresses about being a good mother. I am amazed I made it through the whole show! The typical nuclear family rears its ugly head.
Being a Pagan has helped me to open to the fact that there are many possibilities for intimate relationships. Many of which, I think, are overlooked in the dominant paradigm. Why are we expected to get married, have babies, and then give our all to our families? I know when I found out I was having a baby, eight years ago, I felt like my life was over. I worried that I wouldn't get to have fun anymore. I thought I was going to have to roll over, buy a minivan, and disappear into a life of meaningless suburban hell. Which is exactly what this television show reinforced.
I know that there are many people out there who want this family dream. They long to get married, have babies and become the soccer mom, and good for them! But I would ask if that is their true desire, or a lifetimes worth of social programming?
Through the Pagan community I have met people who explore intimacy and relationships on many different levels. The queer community, the poly community, and those who practice celibacy, have all taught me a lot about what it is to love and be loved. There is no one "right" way to do things.
My partner and I explore the labels of our relationship often. What works for the both of us today might not work anymore tomorrow. Relationships require work because each person needs to be an active participant. Each person needs to be living their own life, which will form the partnership, and not let the partnership tell them how to live their life in the world. If my partner expected me to become the 'stay at home mom' we would not make it very long. That is not who I am. That is nowhere near who I want to be.
These are by no means easy topics, with simple answers. I don't think there are ever simple answers. But it would be interesting to see a show exploring these deeper issues. A show that goes beyond the gossip and intrigue of 'The L Word', and the Mormon tones of 'Big Love'. It would be interesting to see a healthy poly person exploring the world. I know they exist.
So for now I have decided that 'Thirtysomething' is not for me. And if that is what it means to be "thirty something", I will stick to 29 until all the craziness is over.