When I first moved here, one of the many things I was so excited about was the idea that I would meet my husband here. I am a hopeless romantic who loves the idea of fate. I grew up in a neighborhood where all the girls got married at 26-27. On the day of a neighborhood wedding, my sister, two friends and I would camp out on our front lawns, wait for the bride to appear on her front lawn, and then we’d wander over to “oooh” and “ahhh” up close. For years, I always assumed I’d be married at 26 or 27 like they were.
But now that my 24th birthday is officially one month away and I’ve yet to fall in love, I’m realizing that I probably won’t be married at 26 or 27. A few months ago, the potential acknowledgment of my picture perfect timeline slipping away sent me in to a total panic.
This was not how it was meant to go.
I have a mother who has been oh-so-subtly asking me what the problem is and commenting that my standards are too high. I have an aunt who cornered me at Easter and asked why don’t you have a serious boyfriend because you are a nice girl, Caitlyn? I have a 19 year old sister who has her own serious boyfriend of two years and who wants to plan my wedding and be an aunt. In reply, I’d laugh it off, wincing inside, or just wring my hands and stammer out a cliché.
But last night, the conversation my mom and I had was the catalyst for this post. She remarked to me over the phone last night that her expectation had always been that she’d be retired by 2017 because her oldest (that’s meeeeeee) would have grandchildren for her to babysit full-time instead. After telling me this, she sighed dramatically and said, “But I don’t think that’s going to happen, is it?” I got SO mad at her, spat out “Sorry I’m so disappointing” and hung up. So mature.
I felt so stifled in that moment by her expectations. I thought she had some nerve. Now? I’m over it and we’re speaking again, but that conversation is the reason I’m even sitting down at the keyboard and hammering all this out.
I think everybody and their own mother has heard this quote. And you know..it’s also so true. I’m starting to shed the expectation and the goddamn picture in my head I’ve had for so long because they’ve been weighing me down. Of course, I still want to work toward goals and set high standards for myself, but putting a timeline on something needs.to.stop.
Over the last few months, I’m doing so much more introspection than I have ever done. And I’m finding I’m totally okay with being single right now and I’m accepting that my timeline slowly exiting stage left. Who knows, this time next year, I could be typing out the adorable, heart-warming story of how my fiancé of 7 months popped the question. I doubt it, but it could still happen. And I’m fine if it doesn’t because I’m slowly letting myself feel okay with being alone right now and making me a priority. I’m enjoying learning so much about myself. Through learning how to run. Through being a full-time, “career woman”. Through living on my own in a brand new city. It’s actually a really exciting time in my life!
Preach it, Miss Bradshaw.
I truly never looked too hard at myself since I was positive I wouldn’t like what I found. Over the last few months, I feel as if I’m truly starting to meet myself and start to figure out who the hell I am. I buried me for so long under other peoples’ expectations, extracurricular, activities, and what I thought was society-norm. I propelled myself forward doing what other people expected me to or what I thought was expected of me. And I thought that by doing all these things and completing them successfully, that I’d find myself at the finish line and ta da! I’d be the happiest chick on the block.
I’ve been looking at myself and you know what? I’m not as bad as feared. I am just a work in progress and am very slowly figuring it all out. Sometimes it’s horrifying to think “I’ve lived twenty-freaking-four years and don’t know anything about myself. Who the hell am I?” I then thought back to watching Beyonce’s interview with Oprah on “Oprah’s Next Chapter” and the part of the conversation where Beyonce commented that she was just now connecting the dots of her life and finding herself. Beyonce is 31 years old.
So I think about that whenever I have those panicky thoughts where I want to shake my fist at the sky and yell “When is ANYTHING going to start to make sense around here?” I also think about all those “life is a journey” quotes that I scoffed at for years.
And you know what? Those clichés are all, for the most part, true.
I don’t need to be 100% sure who I am. I’ll find and create pieces of me along the way as the years unfold, and like Beyonce, start threading it all together slowly as I forge along. And I have a feeling that the journey just might be pretty great. People like my mom with their expectations will of course be alongside my journey but you know….they’re just going to have accept that it’s ME creating, discovering, and living. They have their own story and their own road. This is mine.
And it’s mine for a reason. Hit the gas.