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Before you ask, yes I went to see Alice in Wonderland and no, this is not a review. But this is a useful phrase. There are a lot of things that are “Curiouser & Curiouser.”

As you may have noticed, I don’t talk about Mr. Perfect very much but in an abstract sense, or as part of the scenery. I say he went here or there with me, or we did this or that, or describe facets of a relationship in which we are examples. This is mostly because it seems…like a bad business practice. I do mention coworkers from time to time, and even some have blog monikers, but this is usually used to springboard into my own discussions. I ask people before I talk about them with any identifying characteristics unless I’ve talked to them before about something specific. I didn’t ask my friend before quoting her blog, for example, but I told her I would blog about Exodus when we got there in Bible study in response to some points she raised. And again, our conversation was the springboard for my topic. Another friend was excited to see herself in my blog, so I take this as permission to blog our adventures coming up (Ms. Independent, that would be you).

But back to Mr. P. We have been having some interesting conversations lately, ones which I would like to relate to some third party for their opinion. One of those was the springboard for the entry Speak Up, but that’s not the one I want to talk about at the moment.

During the Singles’ meeting (most of the discussions I would like to talk about spring from the last Singles’ Meeting we had–very rich soil indeed), near the end of our discussion, the minister was talking to us about our relationship and not allowing outside pressures to get married to weigh heavily on our relationship. He was telling us that we are the ones who decide our timeline. He said (and I am paraphrasing) Mr. Perfect and I (alone, without unasked for advice) would have spoken to each other and know how much time the relationship had left before a decision has to be made whether we are getting married or not. He didn’t ask; he assumed it. That there was an expiration date, a “this is it” moment; that the coach would turn into a pumpkin at this time. Mr. Perfect agreed and made his next point, but I’ve kind of been stuck there.

You see, there really isn’t an expiration date established. Not even a “best if used by” or “display until” date. Is it when we’ve been in a relationship three years? Is it when I turn thirty? Is it when I’ve been working the same job a certain number of years or make a certain amount of money? Is it when I don’t show up one day, or when I show up with someone else?

Okay, so the last  question was facetious, but you get the point. I have not been asked, nor have I volunteered, an expiration date. I have things I would like to do before marriage, as Mr. P. has things he would like to do. I also have things I would like to do after marriage. My life can only be salient and soluble for so long before it starts to solidify, right? For, as a woman who observes other women, I’ve noticed women (myself included) are a lot more soluble than men when we are not married for the most part. We stay in apartments. We may or may not be seriously climbing the ladder and breaking glass ceilings. We are still moving around in the world. We aren’t established in a locale or tied to an area. I think a big part of that is because it’s easier to get rid of the ties that bind (or don’t bind) once we do get married. I know a woman who got married in her thirties and is trying to get rid of her house now. I think she had, either consciously or subconsciously, given up on her boyfriend of some seven years and decided it was time to put down roots and get settled, with or without a man. Now she has this house to get rid of that she’s still paying for in the meantime, in another city. Hmph.

I’m not ready to buy a house, and I don’t know if Florida is the place Iwant to settle down in, but some other things are starting to solidify–my nightly routine, the things I like to do when I’m at home, the things I like to cook. I probably have all of the patience I’m going to have for certain arguments. There are things that it’s getting impossible for me to accept–I can no longer accept living at home with your mother because I haven’t done that in over 7 years; I can no longer accept unemployed, because I’ve held a job and we aren’t in college anymore; I can no longer accept non-Christian men because I’ve gotten serious about my faith and come to the realization that everything, even my mate, has to be chosen in accordance with God’s will and be more help than hindrance to my salvation. I’m used to paying my bills and making payment arrangements when necessary. I’m used to struggling and saving. I’m used to working for what I have. I can continue to provide for myself for as long as I need to. I’m developing myself professionally. And along with everything else, time is marching on.

The reason that I brought up Alice in Wonderland is because this time around what sends her down the rabbit hole is being proposed to, and the fact that time is always a big element in Alice’s story (the white rabbit, we know, is late, which is why he is careless enough to be seen). It’s about facing fear and growing up. The fear in setting an expiration date is that you will reach it, and it’s not up to you alone whether you get a satisfactory outcome. But the fact remains a decision will eventually have to be made. And round and round we go. Unlike Alice, I don’t have a convenient rabbit hole with relatively lightweight challenges to face that will give me the time and space to decide what my course of action should be.