The age old question of nature vs. nurture applies to many things: kids turning into alcoholics or druggies (genetics or poor parenting), twins who are grow up to be a Harvard professor and a high school drop-out (despite being raised the same), or babies who were adopted into wonderful families and do amazing despite having biologically "bad genes." (aka mom was 14 years old and dad was her pedophile step-dad who shopped for groceries at the 7-11). Is it one or the other, or a mix of both? I tend to lean towards both genetics and one's environment shaping who they are. But I was wondering about marriage, kids and the whole white picket fence "American Dream" thing. If I was born in Iceland in 1940 would I still want to be a therapist and have a partner to watch "Family Guy" reruns with? Of course no because Seth McFarlane wasn't even born yet, but would I want to settle down if society had not drilled it into my head (since I was a little girl and was handed my first Barbie and Ken wedding set complete with the pink Corvette and dream house)? ps- yes I was and still am a stereotypical spoiled white middle-class girl. Seriously though, I'm not quite sure. I did dream of getting married one day, to a perfect guy who would love me and make cute crying and poop-free babies with (a girl can dream). But I read so much and saw so many movies about love and marriage and how "how you must be pretty and grow up and marry and procreate or else life is meaningless!!" I honestly don't know what I would personally be like, but looking at cultures around the world, there are different patterns depending on where someone lives, the time period in history, and the culture/ethnicity. Biologically speaking, I do believe we are driven to partner up. Since the dawn of human life there were tribes and people were compelled to partner up. Of course we had to in order to survive as a species, but I think deep down we all need to feel like we belong, to either one person or a group of people. It's instinctual. When kids from rough families don't feel a sense of community or support, they turn to gang life because although it's brutal, it does offer that feeling of not being alone. Knowing that you are cared for by someone is incredibly gratifying and personally, while we may not be genetically bound to follow the step 1-2-3 of date-marry-procreate like society has told us to do, we are, as a species, inherently driven to not be alone. I don't want to be alone and I know that if I was not lucky enough to be with a great partner, I would want to surround myself with people whom I know love me: friends, family, co-workers, etc. Man is not an island. Homer does need a Marge. And if Marge decides she's had enough of his drinking and strangling Bart, he'll turn to Mo and Barney and even Flanders. Because we need to be with others. We may not be wired to pair up, but we are not wired to be alone. Loneliness sucks. Even more than NOT getting that life-size Barbie jeep for Christmas in 1995. (Sorry folks, I was a very materialistic child) But more than all that dumb Mattel crap I think the one thing that we all need for Christmas or birthdays or even after a rough day is just someone to be there with us. It's no fun sharing memories alone. I went on a trip to Europe after college as a present to myself. I saw the Parthenon in Greece, Big Ben in London, and trekked over southern England solo. It was fun and exciting and scary....and incredibly lonely. There's no one I can reflect on those memories with. Perhaps that's one last reason we partner up; so that when we are old and senile and sitting on the porch as wrinkled as tissue paper there will be someone sitting there with us. Someone to share our memories with, good and bad.