Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Then and Now Final

For the past two and a half years, I have written down every single experience that I can remember from my single time abroad, and I hope that I not only was able to entertain, and not only able to inform about the differences between single and married life, but that I was able to convince at least one man out there to not get married.

Since I was 21 and started the path to manhood, I've reflected a lot on my life, analyzing everything I've done wrong to avoid doing the same in the future, and everything I've done right to repeat those actions for myself and others; the unexamined life is not worth living, after all. Sometimes, when I was reflecting on a previous stage in my life (from college on high school, for example), I would strangely look back on a miserable period of my life with a sense of nostalgia and fondness, and miss what I had left behind. But through careful analysis, I have come to the conclusion that there wasn't really a single period of my life before I got abroad where I was really happy.

Of course I had several happy moments, even happy days or weeks, with my friends and my first girlfriend. But when they were gone or had returned home, it was back to the apathy or misery. Knowing intellectually that I wasn't fondly looking back on perfect lives that I had given up, I have been able to discard those misleading feelings of nostalgia for those times, knowing that high school was just as miserable as college was just as miserable as that year I worked for minimum wage as a college graduate, and so on. I now keep my happy memories of my friends and ex-girlfriend close to my heart, and simply noticed the other memories with a slight, dismissive shake of my head.

And yet, turning my single life abroad around and over, about and through my mind with my Then and Now posts, I know for a certain fact that that time was different. I regret what I gave up when I married, but it isn't my mind playing tricks on me, or laziness overtaking me; I truly was happy, for the first and only time in my life, during those six months.

While I was mentally studying my single life abroad to come to the final conclusion that I really was happy then, I challenged my own beliefs with several questions to get to the truth of things. I want to share those queries and answer them again here in case any readers want to know the results I came to, because these are the observations I need to address before I can bring my Then and Now experiences to a close:

Your Then and Now experiences lack detail, which makes them scarcely different from the married days you zone through.

I'm aware that I left out a lot of details in my stories. A few times it was to protect my identity by not getting too specific with the locales and landmarks (and I'll fill in all the blanks when it comes close to my son's high school graduation), but most of the time, it was because these experiences of mine occurred around five years ago. It can be difficult for me to remember pieces of those experiences because of the amount of time that has elapsed. But there are two things I need to explain:

First, I don't fill in the blanks with lies. If I don't remember, I don't remember, and I say so. Not a single one of any of my Then and Now posts contains any falsehoods meant to pad them out or make myself look better. If I couldn't remember the bulk of the specifics for an entire day of fun, I turned my limited memories into Odds and Ends experiences, five to a pack.

Second, the fact that I can remember those experiences to such a degree is very telling of how great those times were, and how alive I was. I can't even tell you what I did after work three nights ago.

Your experiences are boring.

Putting aside the lack of detail for a second, I assume that this is because the things I was doing weren't very appealing to specific readers. And that's fine; the point of my Then and Now posts isn't to say, "Hey, if you don't get married, you too can move abroad and wander around like a hobo." The point of my Then and Now posts is twofold:

First, it's to show the things that made me personally happy, like time with friends, time with history, time with nature, time with my girlfriend, and other things that came together to make the great time that was my single life.

Second, it's to show unmarried people the kind of freedom they will give up if they tie the knot.

If my Then and Now posts were boring because you prefer to club and barhop, then replace every single one of my experiences with your experiences out with your friends, or taking women home every other night. If my Then and Now posts were boring because you prefer the arts, imagine that every one of them took you to a new presentation by a different troupe of performers.

The point of my Then and Now posts is to say that if you marry, you will lose all of that. I know very few happily married people, but the ones who seem to be have either given up on life, or have not truly lived and have no idea what they've lost, without exception. My Then and Now posts are an attempt to open up a little spark of interest, or to ring a bell of truth in the mind of an unmarried person, so they realize that they, too, could lose everything by marrying.

75 full days of fun in a six month time span? Come on. That means every two or three days, you had a completely fun day.

Actually, this criticism is correct: 75 is not the amount of fun days I had. It was actually over 100.

Even leaving behind the fun days I had completely forgotten and subtracting the specials 41, 56 and 66 where I talked about my respective apartment, studies and phone, you still have to add back the dozens of days I left behind for Then and Now 25, which was a catch-all post for all the times my girlfriend and I got together on the weekend. You still have to add back the other two days in the three parter Then and Now 16, which talks about the time I went to the big city for the first time. And you also have to add back the other thirteen days of Then and Now 74, which was my two week Christmas vacation.

It's ludicrous to assume that you would keep up this pace of happiness, especially considering that, by your own admission, you spent the first two or three months unemployed and enjoying yourself.

It's true that a lot of my Then and Now posts were bunched up in the first two months when I was unattached and free of work. But is there any reason I couldn't do that again?

I made over $2000 a month. It cost me $700 a month to survive, or $1000 a month to thrive. It doesn't take a math genius to see that I could have taken a year long vacation for every year I worked if I took the $1000 route, and a two year vacation(!!) for every year I worked if I just lived very simply. Compare that with now, where I get a day off on the average of once a month, and 95% of the cash gets taken away to be spent, in part, on useless clothes, massages and restaurant trips by my wife.

Condensing those vacations to just two months, just like when I first arrived in this country, would be pathetically simple. Even factoring in the high cost of a hostel, it would have only been about $4000 to have that two month vacation every year in a new city or country. It would have only taken three months to make that money, another month to pay for a plane ticket, and the last eight would have netted around $10,000 to give to charity.

But none of that is possible now; I'm married. My Then and Now experiences are said and done, and all I have left to do is to add in details where I can, so I'll never forget that best part of my life. More importantly, I will continue taking my son out as much as possible to try and reclaim the glory of those past days with him, and to teach him the kind of life he can have if he avoids marriage like the rotting disease that it is.


  1. Your blog is amazing and brutally honest about marriage. Thank you.

    If it wasn't for the internet and these blogs, many men would still be ignorant and delusional about the realities of women and marriage.

    I am staying single. Your blog is just one of many sources that are the coffin nails of marriage and male unhappiness.

    I prefer to pursue a self-actualized life as a free, single man.

    1. I'm glad I could help, and thanks for the kinds words. The time I spent abroad and was single was the best time of my life, and want to give as many other men a chance to avoid my marriage mistake as I can.