This week’s comic is not about right and wrong. It’s about friends and time. It’s about taking different paths and growing apart. It’s about getting older.
Now, clearly I’m on the family side of this strip. That’s the route I went. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m not saying it leads to happiness for everyone. In fact, I think it’s better to be single and happy than to get married and start a family with the wrong person. What does make me sad though, is watching friends who seem stuck in a rut—eternally in college, just without the classes. And it’s not about money. I wouldn’t have double majored in art and philosophy if I cared about that. It’s about direction and meaning. Can you spend your whole life living only for today? And when does the sex and drugs lifestyle go from fun and exciting to routine and empty?
But ultimately, the saddest thing is that even if both sides are completely happy in their lives, there’s still a disconnect once marriage and children enter the picture. As a parent, it’s not just the loss of free time to do fun adult things. It’s about a sudden change in your priorities. Life begins to move in a much more “serious” direction once you have kids. And suddenly you just don’t see certain friends very often. You find yourself spending more time with people you would never have hung out with if you weren’t both parents, while those some of those long-term friends you share every interest with—who you speak to in a language of in-jokes based on years of good times—start to fade away. But what’s hard from the parent point of view is that while you still can appreciate the things your old friends do—the stories they tell, the lives they lead—they are at a loss when it comes to your new life. Not only do they not understand it, most of it doesn’t interest them. And it’s to see why, since parenting can sound awfully mundane to the uninitiated.
Yup, not the funniest comic this week. But a true one.