From the time I was young, I wanted to grow up, get married, have babies and be a stay-at-home mom. Why? I’m not sure. It’s probably because that’s what I saw my mom do and I’m ever grateful for the time I got to spend with her, and for her willingness to invest a large amount of her life to my sister and I. The second reason was the environment I was in. I grew up in the Midwest where most women grew up, graduated High School and got married and had babies (not all in that order though), so that’s what was most familiar to me. Thirdly, I grew up in conservative Christian churches, and again, that was the most common role that women played.
Fast-forward to Junior year of High School, and I began thinking of college. Now, I’m not going to go through my entire adult life, but suffice it to say, my life ended up taking a very different route than I had planned. The most drastic difference is that I am 32 and still unmarried with no children. And more importantly, I am perfectly OK with this…..now. But, it has taken me a long time to get here.
I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I distinctly remember thinking one day not too long ago “I don’t want an ordinary life” and being caught off guard by that thought. I thought I did want an “ordinary” life. That’s the direction I have been heading since I can remember. I have a good, stable job, a dog, an apartment, the opportunity to buy a house if I so choose, great friends and a fantastic city. As I get older, I always think about what I’m supposed to be doing at this new age. But lately, as I’ve thought about the people I know who have great “ordinary” lives, I find myself moving away from that desire. I used to look at those people with envy, thinking they had everything I wanted, but now, I think it just doesn’t seem to fit me. Why? I honestly don’t know and is something I’m hoping to discover over the next few months.
Now, I’m not saying that people who have “ordinary” lives aren’t amazing and I think it’s wonderful for them. I’m saying all of this because I’m trying to figure out my life and learning that I have much more freedom than I thought I did. A lot of the experiences I had growing up reinforced the idea of what my life should be. But now, at 32 years old, with vastly different experiences over the past ten years, I’m finally beginning to think that what I want is much, much different. And the most important part is I’m feeling OK about that. And maybe my ideas of what I want will change again in a few months or years, but for now this is where I am.
I think allowing myself the freedom to move in and out of what I’m feeling, thinking, and wanting is the biggest thing I’m learning. I’ve had so much baggage in my life from so many sources, that it has kept me shackled, hidden, afraid and unwilling to take risks. I’ve done everything I can to build a safe life for myself, a predictable life. But now that I’ve been seeing my therapist for two years I am finally feeling as though we’ve gotten through all the outer layers that I put up to keep people out that I am now finally able to start seeing myself better. I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable. I’m allowing myself to explore, to fail, to learn, to start over in a way and it all started with me deciding to just be kind to myself.
Stay tuned for part 3…….