I feel uniquely qualified to write this blog, and not just because I just finished watching Dirty Dancing for the 7,294th time. And actually, I lied. Not about Dirty Dancing - I would never do that - but about being uniquely qualified. I'm no more qualified to write this than my neighbor, or my mom, or that guy walking his dog in front of my window, or you. Do you know anyone whose life has gone according to plan? Probably not. And if so, they're probably too perfect and annoying to be actual friends with. But what about when it goes really, really wrong?
Like, nuclear reactor wrong. Like, Justin and Britney's matching denim outfits, wrong. Like, waaaaaay off the rails?
If you're reading this and you're like, eighteen, you just need to get a grip because your life hasn't even had the chance to get off the rails yet. And if you think it has, you're wrong.
Whenever summer comes, I can't help but think of winding country roads, falling asleep in our hammock, jumping barefoot across bails of hay in open fields, and lemonade stands. Yea, my childhood was pretty much a Countrytime Lemonade ad - sorry not sorry. I wish I could blame all my life's problems on a busted childhood, but no such luck.
I had such promise back then - at least when it came to any goal not involving math skills. My one and only neighborhood friend and I would daydream under the big cherry tree that bordered our yards and I'd imagine my life as a writer for some big magazine in New York. Or a giraffe whisperer in Africa. They were lofty dreams, as they should be. Then when I was approximately the age of 24, I'd have three to five kids (I come from a tiny family, so I wanted a huge one). I'd be done before 30 because you know, you've got to be a "young mom." With all my extra time, I would travel to Italy frequently, and I'm assuming get a PH.D.
Hold On Tight.
Something I've noticed when talking to a lot of 20-30 somethings is - they are hell bent on how their lives should look based on their childhood dreams. Like, so hell bent that they exist in complete misery if those dreams don't materialize.
They can't find the right partner, so they cry themselves to sleep every night as friends pass them by in milestones. Or they married the love of their life, but can't get pregnant so they start skipping baby showers and taking out credit cards to pay for IVF. Or they have a great marriage AND great kids, but they find themselves with an insurmountable health crisis that zaps all the life out of them. Or they once found their happily ever after, but are now staring divorce papers and a very expensive lawyer in the eyes. Or they are so overwhelmed by their college debt, they just stay in their parent's basement eating Cheetos for the better half of a decade.
Real Talk For Those Holding On.
Here's the deal. Almost every. solitary. thing. I envisioned for my life has not happened. The closest thing I ever got to New York was working for a local magazine, headed up by a crazypants. I didn't get married in my 20s. I didn't even come up for air in my 20s long enough to make one logical decision. When I finally got married, I discovered I have two uteruses and the whole big family thing went out the window. Yes, you heard that right. I also got inundated with a myriad of health issues I'm still sorting out. And for goodness sakes, I never even finished college.
I guess you could call my life a total wreck. Although I will say that I did make it to Italy a few times while studying abroad - so that's something, right? Since I don't pull any punches around here, I want to go ahead and say that, yes, my life is an utter failure.
To my seven year old self.
To my 34 year old self? Not so much.
You know you have choices in life right? The choice to let things affect you or not. The choice to forgive or harbor bitterness for all eternity. The choice to love someone. The choice to not give a shit about your plans.
It was almost a decade ago that I chose to let go of all my "plans" and not rush myself into a marriage even though I was nearing 30. It worked out for the best, trust me. That sentiment continued when I made peace with not being able to have kids and just started enjoying the life I have without them. All the sleep. Traveling. All the "me" time for whatever creative endeavors I desire. It's pretty great really. A lot better than avoiding baby showers and losing my mind over alternative options. And when my health started failing, I couldn't hold down a regular job, so I started my own wedding photography business which is 1000% more fulfilling than any corporate job. And in my spare time, I started this health blog to help others going through similar issues.
And things are nothing like I envisioned under that cherry tree years ago.
See the thing is: we don't know anything as kids. All we can do is dream. It's a beautifully imperfect thing because we know nothing about ourselves yet. You have no idea that you'll hate writing for money or that you might love life without kids.
So why are we letting ourselves label our lives a massive disappointment because it's not what we dreamed it to be before we even knew what we actually wanted?
Let go. Don't waste your life trying to hold on.
Wondering who's the mysterious wordy genius behind these posts? Follow this little rabbit trail to read more About Me! The use of the term genius is open to interpretation. Like just about everything else on this site.