Anywhere I Choose To Go

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.

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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!

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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.

Erroneous, erroneous.

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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.

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14 thoughts on “Anywhere I Choose To Go

  1. You know that quote, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans”? It’s true, right? This time that you’re in right now is super fun. You get to figure everything out and decide who you want to be. I’m going through the same process, I think most people go through it for a while.

  2. You are allowed to do what YOU want and nobody should ever tell you what timeline your life should be on. That’s not fair! Good for you for standing up to her.

  3. Oh Mothers! I feel your frustration … I have lived thru your frustration. I always believed that I needed to have my life mapped out, husband, child and sparkling career, by age 25. I also kind of thought if that did not happen, then it probably meant I was dead by 25. That age came and went, with not a soul mate in site. It was not until I reached the old age of 30 that I met the man I would marry. There were many BFs in between, every single one whom I thought was THE one. It was not until I met my husband that I realized how LUCKY I was that my standards were too high for the other boys. How LUCKY I was that those relationships did not work out, and how grateful I was for all of it, even the heartbreak, disappointment and fear of being alone “forever”. The gods laugh at our timelines. What is supposed to happen WILL happen, when it is supposed to happen. Your mom loves you and wants to see you happy, nothing wrong with that. But this is your life and I am certain she would rather see you happily with the right person, than unhappily with the wrong one. You keep right on doing what you are doing, and learning to love yourself completely and the perfect partner is going to drop into your life when he has managed to grow into the person worthy of you. Chin up, I think you are doing outstanding!

  4. I think getting married young is overrated – been there, done that… back to being single and loving it! I do think there are the fortunate few that find their husband early but for the most part, I feel like your 20s are for living and no one should be pressuring you otherwise! I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying learning about yourself, and that Carrie Bradshaw quote is perfection! 🙂

  5. I was having the same conversation with myself when I moved to New York this past September. I’m also turning 24 this year (June), so happy birthday to us! I had the same thought about getting married, except my presumed age was 25. I just thought that was the normal path of life. That was just the way life went, a common life cycle (or so I thought). It wasn’t until I was getting older and entering college that I realized people were getting married older. My last two years in college I was single. At first it was rough but I’m so glad I was because it gave me a lot of experience to learn about myself, to be ok with myself so I felt comfortable on my own. I can now rely on myself and am my own person. I re-connected with a friend who I viewed as my big brother in college. It’s been two years since we’ve seen each other. It was the biggest compliment to have him day, “Katie, you’re so grown up now.” It sounds cheesy and maybe patronizing, but it was a genuine observation that he could see how I have grown and become my own person. I just wanted to share this with you because I can completely relate with where you are and sometimes I still have these thoughts. I’m very lucky that I have the most incredible my as my 7-month boyfriend, but even if this turns into marriage one day I’ll probably be 28. (I’ve always thought 3 years is roughly the perfect amount of time to start thinking about marriage and then I want a year engagement to allow time for a less stressful wedding planning process.) 28 is much further than I originally thought, but I’m ok with that now. “A work in progress”, as you put it, is exactly what we will always be.We will always be working to know ourselves, better ourselves and work to the next part of life. I wish you the best of luck. You seem like a bright girl who will do just fine for herself. And I can’t wait for the heartfelt story when you meet the man of your dreams 😉

  6. I know exactly what you mean. Before I met my boyfriend my younger sister was in a relationship, my best friend bought a house with her OH and there were a few comments about “needing a boyfriend”. Erm, I really didn’t thanks very much! I was content living on my own and I’m so grateful for the fact I had a year to figure myself out, what I want, what I like and what is important to me. I’m so glad I didn’t force myself to actively look for a boyfriend because it meant that when he came along it was a lovely surprise and I was a lot more chilled out about dating. I knew it didn’t matter if it didn’t work out because I was quite fine by myself. I also know what you mean about turning 24, it really snuck up on me and was quite a reality shock! We are all works in progress, whatever our age.

  7. same boat lady same boat. I kind of thought moving to a city I would meet oh so many people but instead I find I have to work so much more to support myself that I haven’t met that many. I hope that begins to change at my new job but i have to admit meeting guys has been impossible for me

  8. Forget about guys – this is when we figure ourselves out. And just like Carrie Bradshaw says, the relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you will ever have. I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, so I’m convinced that we find the right people (whether those people are friends or more than that) when we’re supposed to. It sounds like you know all that, though.

    I really like this post – it’s so real and so honest. Props, girl!

    P.S. Beyonce is AWESOME, so if she doesn’t have it all figured out yet, well, I’m totally fine with not having it figured out either.

  9. If I could do it all over again, I would wait until I was late 20’s or 30 to get married. (Which I was my 2nd time around.) I agree with someone else, your 20’s are for discovering who you are! Don’t let anyone pressure you into marrying, just so she can have grandkids. I think that’s awful that she would say that!! It’s your life, and you don’t want to spend it with the wrong person. When it’s the right time, I know he’ll come into your life!

  10. You have a great perspective. I’m SO sorry that you’re feeling the pressure from family… that is tough. Many of my friends got married before me and I remember that being a really tough phase of life. But you’re so right to find purpose and contentment where you are at now… the rest will fall into place.

  11. I can totally relate, i also thought I’d be married in my mid -20’s! But we can’t plan these things, we have to let life run its course and remember everything happens for a reason 🙂 you have the best attitude, keep smiling and focusing on you!

  12. WOW. Are we secretly supposed to be best friends? Because I literally feel as if I could have written this exact same post.

    My mom harasses me CONSTANTLY about BABIES. No need for the husband. Just a baby would be nice. I’m 25…and don’t have a boyfriend, so I clearly don’t see that happening anytime soon.

    Sure, I’d love to have a boyfriend, but I’m pretty happy in my life right now.

    I also thought I’d be engaged by 25 and perhaps married by 26 or 27 with kids by 28 or 29, but eh…things change. I’m fine with it.

    Love the attitude you’re taking!

  13. Girl, you and I were one in the same up until a year ago! I always used to hear people tell me “Love will come for you when you stop looking for it”, and nothing has ever been more true! Once I stopped worrying about being alone and started focusing on falling in love with myself, I found someone to fall in love with 🙂 It’s the best advice I’ve ever heard

  14. Pingback: A Little More Conversation, A Little More Action | city & the cubicle

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