And now, an excerpt from “Spinsters Abroad,” the first chapter of Love at the Speed of Email:
I don’t feel ready for kids yet. I don’t have that powerful soul-deep hunger to be a mother that I hear some of my girlfriends talk about. I’m not sure I ever will. But I am starting to catch myself wondering sometimes, in a much more abstract fashion, whether I’m going to miss out altogether on those beauties and struggles peculiar to parenthood or on learning how to be genuinely vulnerable in a way I suspect that only the bond of marriage allows. And whether, if I do, I’ll wake up in fifteen years and still believe that it was worth it – this choice that I have made again and again throughout my twenties to pursue adventure and novelty and helping people in faraway lands rather than stability and continuity and helping people in a land I claim as mine.
These are melancholy moments. These are days when I wake up and wonder whether I wouldn’t perhaps feel happier, more fulfilled or less restless on a radically different path. When I would really like to come home to someone who’s vowed to be interested in how my day was. When I just want someone to bring me coffee in bed or rub my shoulders uninvited.
Yet, right alongside these wonderings that sometimes dead-end in dying alone at ninety lie other wonderings, other fears.
After a nomadic life that has largely been defined by coming and (always, inevitably) going, am I even capable of the sort of commitment demanded by marriage and children and a place called home?
I touched on this confused tangle of longings recently with a girlfriend for whom I was a bridesmaid a decade ago. Jane is now living on a verdant pecan farm in Australia ten miles from my parents’ place, complete with a sweet prince of a husband, two little girls, a dog, two cats, a horse, and a veggie garden.
“You know, I want your life sometimes,” I confessed near the end of our conversation.
Jane laughed. “My brain is turning to mush with no one but the kids to talk to all day, and when you say that you spent – Eloise, I told you to stay at the table while you finish your milk! Sit back down please – when you say that you spent last week in Boston at a conference and you’re off to New York next week, I want your life.”
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