This Saturday my oldest daughter is getting married. I don’t really know the young man very well, but he seems a decent enough sort, and my daughter is a savvy young woman, I trust her judgement.
I’m excited for them, really. I think they will have a good life together–not an easy life, mind you, no one really gets that–they have plans that seem reasonable and achievable to me. Life is going to kick them in the teeth from time to time, of course, but I think they are committed to working through things together.
They’re good kids. Smart kids, who are getting into this thing with eyes wide open. Plus, they’re really in love, and that always helps.
It makes me feel old, though. It makes me feel like I am entering the last phase of my life. Child, youth, father, graybeard.
I’m okay with that. I can’t really lay claim to any wisdom in my old age, but there is a certain degree of comfort to be found in experience. Been there, done that, don’t have to do it again. When you’re young you feel they eyes of the world on you, judging you, insisting that you be something extraordinary. Conforming to the world’s expectations or rebelling against them, either way you’re following the world’s lead.
A few years back I got a tattoo on my left wrist that reads, “Contra Mundis“. It means “Against The World”, and it grows more significant to me every year.
I am not in opposition to the world, to walk away from Rome is still to travel on the Roman road. Instead I find myself at right angles to the world, or at some oblique to it. I live my life as I choose and I let the world live as it chooses.
Which brings me back to eldest and her betrothed. If I had one piece of advise to give a young couple starting out life together, it would be this:
Don’t live for the world, make your own. The family is the basic unit of humanity, the way that packs are the basic unit of wolves and pods are the basic unit of whales. Nations and empires come and go, but families survive.
You two are the world. Everything else is details.