"Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot." Pirkei Avos 4:1
I was chatting with someone yesterday who recently got engaged. He was giving me all sorts of suggestions of shadchans to contact in order to find a guy (which I don't really do, which I attempted to explain to him, to apparently deaf ears). At one point, he said to me, "I'm just so happy, I want other people to feel this way."
He was very sincere in wanting to help, and wishing that I would find the happiness that he has, and I did appreciate that. His intentions were definitely good. But on reflection, I realized I was getting annoyed because of the insinuation that I couldn't possibly be so happy if I hadn't yet found my bashert.
I often feel a bit of irritation when people start desperately suggesting tactics for me to find a guy. Or when they find the need to mention that they hope I get married soon. The emphasis put on marriage as the standard path to happiness bothers me.
Because I am happy. Yes, I would like to be in a relationship, married, sharing my life with another person. But I also appreciate what I have now - wonderful friends, a job that I can live off of, and school that I love and is heading me in the career direction that I want to go. I have lots and lots of people who love me and fill my life, and honestly, that's the most important thing to me.
I think focusing on the things that we don't have is a recipe for unhappiness. So many people have so much, but all they want is more, all they can think about is those things in life that people, and themselves, tell them they should have that they don't currently. And it causes so much negativity and despair.
Again, I'm not saying that people shouldn't want to get married - of course you should. But you should also accept what Hashem gives you in the time He gives it to you. And you should enjoy and make the most of every moment that you have, rather than cursing and pleading for what you don't.
I have a friend whose sister was a bit older when she got married. She told me that her sister decided that with each date, rather than getting upset that she wasn't married, she was going to go into it with the mindset that she would at least learn something from each guy she went out with. If he had an interest in fishing, then she would learn about fishing. In this way, she would appreciate what she could take from each encounter along the way without feeling like it was a waste of time unless it culminated in her ultimate goal.
So, I am happy with what I have, even if it's not yet marriage. I don't think I, or others, should look at my life, and feel that I am missing something. Because I have so much, and I am abundantly thankful for all those gifts Hashem has given me thus far. I am happy with my lot, and according to Pirkei Avos, that makes me rich. I agree.
Update - Apparently not everyone agrees with me... (not that I'm shocked by that)