When the Simple Life Gets Complicated

Gif via Tumblr

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Today, I thought we would dive into a No Doubt song few of us understood fully when we were young, but it’s timeless: “Simple Kind of Life.” This song is about expectation, and I truly believe women in or close to their 30s who are unmarried and don’t have children feel it deeply.

While on this blog we are all about making sure we understand there is no set timeline we all have to adhere to, when it comes to life, family and love, this song takes us back to our young naive years.

Have you ever seen that meme that talks about how we all thought we’d be married with five kids by the age of 31 *let’s all laugh together*. This song appeals to the emotions that come with disappointing our dream timeline.

When I was younger, I honestly thought I would be married by the age of 25. Maybe it was being naive, or the fact that this is what my parents did and what was considered normal in my ethnic and church culture. So, if you would have told me that at almost 30 I would have been living in a NYC studio for about a decade by myself with no child even remotely close to happening because yes, I am still unmarried– I would have probably shaken my head in denial and been slightly insulted. But here we are. (Not gonna lie, it still stings a little. I always wanted to be a young mom).

In high school, I was in this feisty long distance relationship with a college guy, who I was fully convinced I was going to marry. I knew what our living room was going to look like, and the names of our three children. We dream up some crazy sh** in life.

I know I am not alone. I have many amazing friends who are in their 30s and still looking for a good partner– kids aren’t even on the horizon.

You may think this is a vulnerable post– like whoa– why are we going here? The truth is “Simple Kind of Life” by No Doubt is a vulnerable song. Gwen puts all her cards on the table.

The beginning talks about the end of her relationship with Tony Kanal (which we discussed in our previous post) and how that relationship verged on obsession (we’ve all been there, even if just for a split second). Then, she talks about how she wanted that “Simple Kind of Life,” and what did that dream include? A simple man, to be a wife and to be a mom. At one point, she says she wants to be a mom so bad and still finds herself without a child that she almost wishes for a “mistake” (to fall pregnant) so she can at least have something that she wants.

The end of the song talks about how as she waits, she gets more “selfish,” and starts valuing her freedom more than these dreams that have been crushed and unfulfilled. I think some of us can relate to that feeling– it’s that moment where our dreams begin to shift. Where suddenly, you aren’t in a rush for anything. You realize that you can’t wait a decade and then suddenly play catch-up to achieve the dream that never was. I know I relate to this. Dreams change. Your life is a different life than the one you dreamed up as an adolescent. If I didn’t have the kid in my 20s, I am now in no rush to have one. A new dream emerges and you develop what Stefani sings is a “faithfulness to your freedom”.

I know my life has gone in the best way possible, and I wouldn’t have wanted anything to work out differently in my past, but that also doesn’t change the fact that some dreams have to die for new ones to emerge, and at times, the death of these long-held dreams is painful. This song is an ode to those moments. The moments when you realize life isn’t what you planned or hoped; the moment you realize you don’t have what you want; and the moment when you also realize that this is ok and things inside you start to change.

It’s a song about the longest relationship we’ll ever have– the relationship with ourselves. Sometimes, even love and acceptance in that relationship is hard.

This song isn’t for everyone. I still see, every day, 19-24 year olds getting engaged, married and having kids. (Though I personally would advise against this, after all I have seen and come to know). But hey, some people do get exactly what they dreamed. That’s a fact. But this song is for the group of us who live the kinds of lives where we realize, “simple things are simply too complicated for my life.” We wanted the simple kind of life, but ended up with one that was more complex than our 15-year-old brains could wrap our heads around. Or maybe, the things we wanted that we thought were simple actually are the most complicated things in life.

Gif via Tumblr

If you wanted that simple kind of life, but reality ended up different than your dreams, this one goes out to you:

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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