A few months ago, I was talking with one of my coworkers. She was stressed out and excited all at once. Two major things were happening: An engagement and a new house. Although she was overwhelmed with wedding and housewarming plans, I could tell that this was the happiest she had been, probably in her entire life.
What young adult wouldn’t be? She had everything figured out. She planned to work the same job for the next 30 years until retirement, and come to the same home every day knowing that her family would be there to greet her.
Now, I wouldn’t say that I was jealous (although planning a wedding is something that I long to do) but, I did begin to think about where I was in my own life. My coworker, who was only a slightly older than me had just bought her “forever home”, as she called it. I admired the stability and started to want the same.
Stability looks different to everyone. A few years ago, if someone asked me what I wanted to do in life I would say that I wanted to be a wife and mom in by early 20s and spend the rest of days in the suburbs, taking care of my husband and 4-6 kids. In college, I spent most of my time obsessing, dreaming, and idolizing that plan. Once I got married, my dreams would come true; life would be stable and truly begin.
A proposed blueprint:
- Age 22- Meet a guy, date 1-2 years
- Age 24- Get married
- Age 25: Have a house and at least 1 child
Now when I look back at that strategy, I giggle and shake my head. Is this plan plausible? For some, yes, but for me, not at all. I came to that realization in New York City.
It was Spring Break and my best friend and I were waiting in the standby line for tickets to see Saturday Night Live. Sitting outside in 20 degree weather for over 24 hours meant very little sleep or communication. There was time to think.
I thought about how I was 22 years old and wasn’t even close to saying “I do”, and starting my dream. These were thoughts that I had often. They haunted me, in a way.
But, at around 4 am, as onlookers were passing, cheering us on, or letting us know how crazy we were, I came to a realization: I was in my favorite city, with my best friend, waiting in line like a lunatic to see my favorite tv show. This was one of my dreams!
For the longest time, I had been so focused on marriage to fulfil my dreams that I forgotten I was already living. That day changed my outlook. I was no longer waiting around for my life to start or become stable.
That was a few years ago and the journey has been nerve wrecking, yet inspiring. I am learning more about myself each day and what I want for my life. I have decided that I want to write, I want to travel the world (cliché, I know), and I want to help others. Having recently been diagnosed with diabetes, I have decided to make changes to my lifestyle.
I have also decided that I will not narrow down my options for dreams or goals, like the blue print above. Next year, I may discover that I have a heart for teaching and start a Master’s program in education. Or, I may meet a guy, fall in love fast, buy a forever home, and still have 4-6 kids before age 30. I do know that I will live this life for me and create stability wherever I am.
This peek into my life will detail experiences, stories, and hopefully inspire others along the way.