Monday, December 19, 2011

Life Without B

Someone asked That Wife a question about what her life would be like if she had never met her husband, which started me thinking on the same topic. What would my life be like if I had never met/dated/married B?

I actually have a really hard time imagining an answer to this question, because B and I met when we were so young (18 and 19) and thus relatively unformed. Perhaps as a result, he's had a tremendously strong influence on my interests, values, life direction and personality. For instance, when I met him I only ate about 30 foods (which did not include pizza, fish, chicken, tomatoes or any cheese except cheddar and string). Now I love food, even reading books about it (I am currently reading The Omnivore's Dilemma), and will eat all kinds of things, including raw squid and goose liver.

I would still love books, learning, history and travel. I would probably still have gone to many other countries, including living in at least one foreign country. However, it probably wouldn't have been Taiwan. It's likely I would still have a MA in museum studies, and work in the nonprofit sector.

I would probably have married someone else, and have at least one child. We would live in the Bay Area near my family, and our child(ren) would probably be in daycare (I would be a working mother), since you have to make a very large salary to afford to be a housewife in that region of the country. We probably wouldn't have such a close connection as a result, because 1. we would both have to work and wouldn't have time to sit around talking for hours on end (one of the benefits of B's flexible schedule) and 2. we would be thrown together less (since we wouldn't be living repeatedly thousands of miles away from all our friends and family). I imagine our marriage would be more of the child-centered feminist variety (where we split all household tasks equally, and are basically interchangeable), since that's what's typical in my social set, and like most spouses in these marriages, we would argue a lot about the division of labor. (We would argue less about how the other person needed to do stuff for us though.)

I would probably be less sophisticated (and less snobby), and marvelously ignorant about economics, math, science, finance, and technology (all topics about which I knew nothing whatsoever before meeting B). I might have learned to cook, but would also be a very limited, picky eater. I would be less daring, less quirky, and less honest. My critical thinking skills would definitely be weaker. I would also probably be more spoiled.

However, I would probably be more trusting (B is very cynical), less full of angst (B and I hype each other up into various states of emotional drama), and less stressed (the lifestyle B prefers is full of stress of various kinds).

On the whole B has enriched my life in all kinds of ways, and I feel I am a far better person for knowing him. I don't actually know if I would like the B-less Grace. When I think back on my 19-year-old self, there are many personality traits/habits which make me cringe. I am glad I have moved beyond that, and developed as a person (even if I still have a really long way to go). I am so grateful to B for helping me with that process.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting post! I've thought about what I might be like without Mike, but never really fleshed it out like this. This might be a wonderful prompt for me to borrow, if you don't mind!

    It sounds like B does what a good spouse is supposed to do-push you to be the best person you can be.