This post is not so much about becoming a Franconian. It is more a musing about becoming a person, or embracing what it is to be human–the choices we make in life and how we are motivated.
I need to be honest and say that the decision to get married and subsequently move to Germany wasn’t a light one for me. I mean it shouldn’t be I guess, but for this very independent girl, deciding to get hitched was an adventure in itself. Tying my kite string to someone else’s and committing to making a go at a life together seemed daunting at the very least. But, at the very most it seemed like a great adventure and I was confident when we embarked and even more so now, that we were the perfect partners for such a journey.
Even still, since my early 30’s I have relished my independence. It was then, long before I ever met Thorsten, that I realized that marriage is not an inevitability and it’s not a necessity either. It’s a choice and no matter what Disney or the story books tell you, everyone doesn’t have to, need to, want to… be in a partnership for life. And so after embarking on the adventure and absolutely loving it, I still let my mind wander sometimes to the concepts of partnership and togetherness. I’ve always pretty much believed that we don’t really need anyone else and that having other people is a nice thing but it’s isn’t the most important thing.
Then, the other evening I watched a movie called The Good Lie. It’s a Reese Witherspoon movie from 2014. It’s about a group of siblings from Sudan who walk across Africa together (not exaggerating) to find safety in the midst of a civil war. As I watched these children struggle to survive, to protect themselves and each other, as I watched them respect one another and work together to finally arrive at their destination, I was moved to recognize that they would not, under any circumstances, have gotten so far if they had not stayed together.
Maybe my priorities have shifted. Maybe this is a normal realization for a person who decided in their late 30’s to “go together.” Maybe when we are younger we are in it for the short, exciting haul, but later we are in it for the long haul. Either way, I’m a little embarrassed to say that I until now, I never could pinpoint the benefit of going together. I always thought going together with someone else made journeys more fun but I was sure that togetherness was not a necessary ingredient for success. Now I see that depending on your destination and your goals, togetherness is an ingredient for success. Now I feel like I understand life’s choices a little bit better.
You can go it alone and be successful and efficient. And you can be magnificent and have an amazing, worthwhile life. I stand by my original statement that marriage is not an inevitability or a necessity. But now I see something else: whether you decide to go together or alone, you achieve different ends. And if you want to go down a long road, going together works.
Aside from the example set by this wonderful film, I can see in my own life that likely I would not have gotten this far in making a life in Germany if it weren’t for the encouragement of friends and the lovely, positive energy source of my parents-in-law. When I feel down and out, a little chat with Jola always cheers me up. I don’t even tell her that I’m feeling bad, but she calls or we stop by and chat with her for a few minutes and all of the sudden I’m smiling and my heart is lighter. Where would I be on this German adventure without her? Maybe I would’ve gotten discouraged and given up. I’ll probably never know the true value of her company. Now that I’ve mused on about this topic for 700 words, I see that maybe I have ever fully appreciated the value of being in a family and how that creates success in life. Suddenly I feel humbled and very thankful.
The movie ended with a quote:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”- African Proverb