“Be careful what you set your heart upon – for it will surely be yours.” James A. Baldwin
I think I’m looking in the rearview mirror at the onslaught of wedding invites and pregnancy announcements. I’m officially toeing the line that leads to the reality of growing up; the time when the marriage is no longer in the honeymoon stage, when the schedule and budget change because you have a little one, when the alarm clock wakes you of your routine rather than your opportunities. I’m seeing the true meaning of “be careful what you wish for”, not because these things aren’t awesome, but because they’re not ultimate. I’ve witnessed the whole process several times: desiring, pursuing, achieving, realizing and sometimes even regretting. I’m going to try to make this as inspiring as possible because really that’s the point of it all; to help, not to horrify. I never want to downplay these things as anything but gifts; I simply want to point out that they’re not the end of anything.
Although I definitely have some aspirations that deviate from my peers, for the most part my wish list matches up. However, I’ve seen most of my friends reach some of those milestones before I’ve even had my morning coffee (a daily milestone in itself). You can be sure that it’s caused some insecurity. Watching others check the big things off their list before I’m even close has definitely inspired many self-motivation talks; indecisiveness accompanied me on a rollercoaster of “You gotta wait for it” vs. “You gotta fight for it”. Well…
Today is my birthday, and yes I’m partially telling you this because I want birthday wishes (no shame), but I’m also sharing because a birthday, by nature, is a celebration of something I didn’t achieve. I had very little to do with when, how, why, where, or who in my birth, but I celebrate all of it as if I did. That’s how I feel now watching those I love. I feel like I get to reap the benefits of something I had no hand in. I get to take off the rose-colored glasses and see that marriage, while beautiful, is hard work. It’s not a solution to being single. I get to see that having kids can bring crazy amounts of joy, but there are also a lot of great things that you probably won’t do anymore (or just not as much). Having a house or just a beautiful place to call your own, freaking amazing. Freedom, creativity, privacy… bills, loneliness, etc. I know it’s kind of a stretch, but the correlation works.
By no means am I bashing these things. They are all still very much so my “one day” hopes, but they are not the pinnacles I thought they were. I definitely want to be married one day, but I’m in no rush and single life is treating me pretty well. One of the best quotes I ever heard: Marriage was not created to solve any problems. I still haven’t seen any evidence that that’s untrue. Yes, I want kids, but hopefully I don’t have to explain why I’m more than happy to wait on that one. Do I want to be out on my own in my own space? Abso-freaking-lutely, but I have a great relationship with my mom, my savings account is looking right, and we live in a great home.
Let’s shoot for those big things, but let’s remember they’re only branches, not the tree that gives life. They’re on the left side of the equation, not the right. Now, I am not totally zen. There are days when I get really down because I feel like I’m behind the curve, but then there are days when I thank God that he didn’t give me what I asked for because where I am, without some things I wanted and with some I didn’t, makes sense. This wasn’t my plan but I’m confident that this one is better. Doesn’t mean that mine wasn’t good, but it wasn’t the best. My ego will scream and logic will try to dirty my gratitude by pointing out statistics, but I see proof everywhere I look that you’ll never be happy in the place that wasn’t designed for you. That a lifestyle may look good on someone else and suit them just right, but it’s not your size and trying to make it fit will only overwhelm you with its extra or suffocate you with its lack thereof. So I’m choosing to be grateful for all that I have and all that I don’t.