I’m 23 ½ . I always said I wanted to be married at 27, first baby at 29 or 30. I would like to date my sweetheart for at least a year and a half. I haven’t had a serious boyfriend ever, so how realistic is that the first guy I fall in love with will be the one I swap vows with?
The Shakespeare quote rings in my head: “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”
And I get it. I know I need to stop worrying and let my life unfold as it should. It’s unfolded so beautifully since graduation in May. Why am I so distrusting and so anxious now? I asked for a good city, a nice enough home, good roommates, and a good job. And I received. Now I can’t just sit back and enjoy and let my life’s story continue on as it should, with the pitfalls and the blessings?
I know I need to stop getting caught up in the numbers. But I come from a town where all the girls got married at 26-27. My neighbor who got married at 34 was the subject of such cruel speculation. Even now, when I go home, I’m fending off questions about how far away a wedding is.
“I haven’t said ‘I love you’ to a guy yet, it’s pretty far off, Mrs. L.”
“But you don’t live in your town anymore…” you might say. But I have a mom who will be asked, and will relay to me, “You know, Caitlyn, I saw Mrs. H in Acme today, and she was asking all about you, and wants to know…and I want to know too. I mean, come on! Lower your standards.”
I know my standards are high. I know that no guy is perfect. I know I am not perfect. I know I have a grocery list of flaws and I know my own husband will have many flaws. I welcome that.
But it’s not my standards, I fear, that’s keeping guys away. It’s me. It’s also fate’s plan for me. I’m still figuring out myself. I need to learn how to be me and I’ve never made that a priority before. I need to learn more of who I am. I need to be happier with myself. I need to gain more confidence. I need to lose 10 pounds.
I want to learn how to be a grown-up. How to do taxes. How to cook. How to clean my bathroom and those tricky surfaces. How to budget. That may sound stupid. But these are things that I want to learn how to do. I can certainly do them with a guy by my side but for now, I think it’s fine to be on my own and get to know myself better for a few months.
But as, I tell myself things like this: “You’re on your own, doing you, and it’s fine to be single now” I keep waking up every day and age 24 is inching closer and closer. 24! That’s an age no one associates with college. That seems like such a daunting, grown-up age. It’s so close to 25…a quarter of a century old. I think about getting another year older and I throw my “It’s fine to be single now” mantra out the window and ridicule myself for thinking it is okay.
To be in a long, happy, successful marriage is what I want more than anything. And to think that I might not ever find it is a crippling thought. I’m relenting on the “Bride at 27” thing. I think 28-30 would be fine to get married at.
So I guess my big worry, and why I’m rambling so incoherently, is that I’m getting worried that it’ll never happen. That I’ll never find him whom my soul loves. That it’s taking too long.
This is one of those things “I know I need to stop thinking about it, and let it happen”, but as I’m seeing it happen for everyone else around me is making me obsess and squirm.