Saturday, May 1, 2010

Just Getting By

The boys (when they're home) and I watch the popular Fox show "Glee" about a high school glee club. This week's episode had as one of the plots, two widowed parents getting together and starting a relationship. One of the kids confronts his mom with his displeasure over this development. She holds her ground and is not going to let him sway her away from continuing her relationship. She responds with "We're just getting by" and goes on to say that she doesn't want a getting by life anymore.

The writer coming up with those lines deserves some praise for their insight. I totally got and can relate to this character's feelings - I knew exactly what she meant by "just getting by." In my opinion that is a very accurate description of widowhood.

Many times in the past I've heard from people who've said that I need to be strong and forge on by myself. There was a looking down on my desire to remarry and not live alone. I've often felt guilty and weak for admitting how much I hate widowhood because I prefer to be with someone and I don't like living alone or being alone. It is a getting by life and why would I want that when I could have a life that feels more complete, full and happy when I'm involved and living with a committed partner?

Never, not once did I ever even consider my life when I was married as getting by - that would have been a very foreign description to me. But it permeates my existence as a widow. It certainly suggests incompleteness and I think that is what people have probably meant when they've told me to make the best of life on my own. They mean that I shouldn't sell myself short or live in a cave because I'm not attached. I get that and it makes sense. But even hanging in there and being as strong as I can and facing life with courage doesn't take away the reality that we're just getting by. And I certainly want to live a life that for me feels more complete and less stressful, less strained financially and emotionally.

So while I give a heads up to the writer(s) of Glee for this good insight in regard to the land of the widowed I do take some points away for the recent barrage of t.v. commercials that have been airing that seem to only depict married, straight couples in them. All the Lowes commercials involve married couples shopping together. There is a phone ad for a husband shopping for an espresso maker to give to his wife as a gift. A shoe commercial where the shoes are alive and coupled together. The male shoe gets in trouble for his roving eye when a sexy, strapless number walks by. Sears appliance commercials involving marrieds as well. The list goes on and on.

Our society is caught up in the unreality of married couplehood considering 50% of all marriages end in divorce. And there is a significant percentage of extramarital affairs as well which really surprised me as I did not realize it was so high. So we're bombarded with all this about what is the ideal. Even though it is a false ideal, it still hits you when you're in the minority and partnerless. It is an insidious breakdown where for me I start to believe that there must be something fundamentally wrong with my being and character since I'm not strutting into Lowes, smiling to buy light bulbs with a husband!

But anyway, despite t.v. and corporate America's unrealistic view of society, most of us I would bet place a high value on marriage and it is what is portrayed as the ideal.

As for getting by, I'd say that is another way of life that isn't upheld as an ideal in our society. We're always striving for what is better. Having to settle isn't considered a good decision. And from personal experience I do agree in this situation. I've had a good respectful marriage and I've been alone now. I'll take being one of those people depicted in the Lowes' ads hands down compared with the struggling, tired looking widow on Glee. I hope things work out for the two Glee characters - they deserve to be the next smiling ones in an appliance ad.

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