Thursday, September 15, 2011

When Life Is Running Behind Schedule

For as long as I can remember, I'd planned by age 25 to have a husband, 2 kids - one boy and one girl, please and thank you - and the "Father of the Bride" house, picket fence and all, plus a prestigious, wildly interesting career while somehow also staying at home with the kids. I'd flash my Mommy Mafia gang sign - in the shape of the Tory Burch logo, I'm guessing - as I swiftly took over the neighborhood playgroup & PTA with a snap of my always manicured fingers. You know, just the basics.


Some of your recent Tweets & posts reminded me about how many of us Type As, past or present, get these Lofty Life Goals set in our minds and then are mystified when it doesn't all unfold on our timeline, if at all. How infuriating it is to pass whatever time stamp we've set for ourselves, especially when we see others reaching those goals before us.

I vividly recall the wistfulness I felt on my 25th birthday, which brought me not the Norman Rockwell future I'd envisioned but rather a deeply questionable boyfriend and an impending law school graduation with no job on the horizon, let alone a marriage, house or kids. Watching friends easily snap up great jobs or meet the One was an exercise in choking back my envy to feel properly excited for them. I was having a blast doing what twentysomething singletons do - travel, happy hour & dating the wrong people - but on some level I still wondered when that (expletive) picket fence was going to show up already.

I was off by 3 & 7 years on the marriage and kid respectively. I have a bamboo fence in Austin instead of the Southern California picket one I'd wanted, and I'm still waiting on the "Father of the Bride" house and wildly interesting career - but, at the ripe old age of thirty-three, I'm here.

My religious slip is showing with this, something this Episcopalian isn't entirely comfortable with, but - I look back and feel so grateful that it unfolded how it did, on a timeline not of my making but capital "H' His. I wasn't ready for the family I craved at the age I'd thought I'd wanted it. Wouldn't have appreciated my now husband had I not first dated the Messrs. Wrong and You Can't Be Serious. Would have balked at the staggering responsibility of mothering had I not partied and goofed around and traveled through my twenties.

I hasten to add that I don't think this marriage/kid/house timeline is something everyone does or should crave, nor do I think we should all sit back meekly while we wait for whatever higher power you do/n't believe in to make our goals possible. It is maddening to feel like you've fallen behind on your goals, whatever they may be, when you're doing everything you can think of & then some to get there - particularly when those around you seem to be achieving them without effort. Nothing I'm saying here is meant to gloss over that pain, which truly just, well, capital "S" Sucks..

My thought is simply this - sometimes - not always, but sometimes - it works out even better than you had hoped, or the Lofty Life Goal changes without your even having realized it. Besides, when you take the scenic route to the goals your peers have already achieved, you get the benefit of learning from the mistakes they make by being there first - and that, darlings, is a price beyond Tory Burch, gang signs & all.


Katie Ferguson said...

Ah, I was JUST thinking about this same type of thing this week.  I turn 30 at the end of the month and I just laugh thinking of what I thought "would and should" happen by age 30.  

MauraLessa said...

I was also thinking about this today. It was more along the lines of a pity party, though. It's hard being 32 and divorced. It's hard reconciling the life I think I should have with what I have now. Don't get me wrong, I'm a billion [x infinity] happier than I was/would have been with my ex. But it's hard seeing others married, with babies, houses and TB gang signs. I know, though, that it's not in my control. (Something a Type A has a hard time typing let alone LIVING.) But, you know, I get by with a little help from my [retail] friends.

ClassyFabSarah said...

Since I am less than a month till my 25th birthday, I have been thinking about this kind of stuff a LOT lately... life just doesn't ever turn out the way we obsessively planned it, right?

Anonymous said...

I am newly 26 and a new reader. Love your blog! These words are so comforting. I am trying my very hardest to trust in Him and just enjoy my travel/happy hour 20's. Your words of encouragement are wonderful. God has a way of working things out just as they should!

Katie Baker said...

Love this. I read so many girls blogs that are so upset over their marriage timeline not being met and I want to tell them "Just wait, you don't know how He has is planned out, but it will be greater than you think." Great post!

Sassy said...

Thank you, thank you. :) As someone who is Super Type-A (+) myself, it absolutely kills me that I have no control over the major things in my life, like getting married, having kids, etc..Of course I do control them to an extent, but I've learned the hard way that God does NOT want me blazing my own trails in this situation. I end up dating the wrong guy or taking the wrong job when I take matters into my own hands. Truth.

So I wait. and wait. and learn patience. and build my shoe collection. And my heart still feels empty. But I know it won't be this way forever.

Happy Friday!


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