I recently finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s new memoir, Committed. As you probably know, she authored Eat, Pray, Love.
In Committed, I particularly like how Gilbert wrestles with the idea of love: What if love never finds you? What if you never find love? Can you marry your own life?
It’s this last question that really leaps out at me.
Gilbert explores this scenario through the eyes of her 40-year-old friend, Christine, a single woman who decides to forgo loneliness for life. She sets a small wooden boat adorned with rose petals and rice on fire. Then, she let it go – “releasing along with it her most tenacious fantasies of marriage as an act of personal salvation…She had finally married her own life, and not a moment too soon.”
I love this image of Christine transcending her perceived tyranny, and moreover, the notion of her “marrying her life.” To me, this concept means many things: stepping out; facing fears; plunging forward; accepting what is; celebrating the everyday; and having faith.
I have many single, fabulous women friends, some of whom marry their lives without ever realizing so. They plan trips, take classes, make dinner plans, and run marathons. Yes, they bemoan not having a life partner, but this sense of loss doesn’t prevent them from living.
I lost my first life partner, and now I have another. And yet I, too, am married to life. It’s the commitment I cherish most. My experience has taught me that when I nurture all that I am and all that I aspire to be, I am the best woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend and colleague that I can be. This is a vow I’ll be glad to make daily.
It’s rather serendipitous that my husband, Steve, bought me a card today with this perfect quote from Thoreau: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”