When I turned thirty at the beginning of the month something inside of me just clicked. No longer did I have the desire to try to play catch up to all the people around this part of the country that seem to think the only way you have value at my highly advanced age if you are married and have children. I have an amazing life. I do a lot of volunteer work, I am finishing my Masters, I have amazing ideas of how to help the world, and yet I spent most of a decade thinking that wasn't good enough. Basically I wasn't good enough for me. And that is stupid. I spent a long time trying to do the things that others in my world were doing, as much as I could without the necessary husband and children, just so I could keep up. Do you know what I realized this week? The ones I was most trying to keep up with were the ones that I disliked the most. Why on earth would I want to be exactly like people that overall I don't even like?
Yeah that was a life changing moment. One of those where you look at your entire life and start thinking about it in the correct perspective. Over the last month I have made some pretty big decisions about my future, following graduation in May. I am really excited about these decisions and plans. What I have found, though, is when I mention that I have big news people automatically assume that it involves dating, engagement, marriage or babies. It doesn't. It has to do with me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to dating, engagements, marriage and babies. They are all fine for other people, but at this point in my life they are things I am completely not interested in. I am swearing off dating until next June (at the earliest). When I say this I don't mean it in the reverse psychology sense of thinking "well if I say I'm not going to date then magically Mr. Right will appear from around the corner while I'm not looking." Oh no, I am so serious about this one that I am looking around every corner, just to make sure someone isn't lurking that could mess with the plans I am making, which I truly believe is the perfect path for me. If I hadn't been through everything that I've been through then I wouldn't be set up so perfectly for this adventure.
Yesterday I was at Borders' closing sale and while looking for the travel section (everything is all consolidated as they have less and less inventory) I happened to find myself in the self help section. Whoever thought of this section I truly think should be shot, as well as most people that write the books that find themselves in this section. A particular book stuck out to me:
Words cannot express how offended I was by this title. For starters it has one of my least favorite words in it: settling. After fifteen years of dating I have learned the most important lesson: DO NOT SETTLE. I have settled, over and over and over again. I have been the girl that looks (and looks and looks) for any guy who will pay the slightest bit of attention to me, which is, settling. When it comes to spending my life with someone under absolutely no circumstance will I settle. Period. I would rather have a full life that involves no husband than settle for someone who is just good enough. Two things stand out in this to me. The first is that the woman who is settling for "good enough" doesn't truly value herself as good enough. The second is that the guy that will allow a girl to settle for him as "good enough" doesn't value himself. I refuse to be with someone who makes me feel less valuable than I am and I refuse to be with someone who does not have high value for himself. Just not happening.
Thankfully in the past when I have started to settle the relationship ended. I totally value those relationships now because they taught me extremely valuable lessons about myself and about who I want to choose to spend the rest of my life with. While I think there is an element of fate to falling in love I also believe that there is an element of choice. We can choose to fall in love with the wrong person, or we can choose to fall in love with the right person at the right time. I don't like using the word "wait" when talking about falling in love. I truly don't feel I am "waiting" for the right guy to come into my life. By waiting I am impatiently looking at some cosmic clock that is ticking away until the alarm goes off. Instead of "waiting" I am living my life, completely to the fullest. Right now living my life involves a large amount of alone time, self reflection, and working on being the best "me" I can be. I do not view this as making myself better for someone else. I see this as improving myself to be who I want to be, not waiting on Mr. Right to come out of the woodwork.
I know how many thousands of conversations I had with my closest friends during my twenties about wanting to know when "he" was going to finally show up. I can honestly say, if "he" doesn't appear I'm going to be okay. Forget that. I'm going to be a whole lot better than okay. My self worth does not come from another person, it comes from inside myself. My confidence does not revolve around who I am in a relationship with or how many children I have. My value does not come from what I have or how I can impress people, it comes from how I choose to live my life and what I do to make this world a better place.
It has taken me a long time to finally grasp this concept and truly understand it and most importantly to believe it. If in the future I meet someone who loves me for exactly who I am then I will consider myself extremely lucky, but at no point in time am I going to sacrifice the person I am to be in a relationship just because the world around me thinks that I should be in a relationship.
I would apologize for this post, just in case it offends any of my MWC (married with children) friends, but this was tweeted this morning and I truly agree with it:
Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth. - Benjamin Disraeli
I tend to be a people pleaser and I don't like to hurt people's feelings. Because of this I tend to get my feelings hurt a lot. I want to make everyone else happy and tend to ignore myself and my own feelings. I have finally realized that I cannot be everything that everyone else wants me to be. I cannot be at every football game, every birthday party, every little thing that goes on in other people's lives. I would love to, but I can't and I have finally come to the point that I am okay with that. If these people love me, for who I am, then they understand that I cannot do everything and they shouldn't expect me to.
What I hope people can understand is that not everyone fits into the mold that you may have for your life. I am glad that so many of my friends have children because whenever I need a baby fix I can get one. I also am glad that they have this so that I can see how wonderful my nice, quiet house is. I don't think that anyone has made a wrong decision in their life. The decisions that you make are what is best for you at the time that you make the decision. Just please understand that the decisions that I have made, while they are not the same as yours, are the best decisions for my life. You do not have to understand my life, but please do not down play it because I do not have the same responsibilities you do. Just because I am not in a relationship or have children does not mean that my life is any less important or stressful or busy or fulfilling than yours.
Because I love quotes and I love Sex and the City I leave you with some good ones:
When it comes to relationships, maybe we're all in glass houses, and shouldn't throw stones. Because you can never really know. Some people are settling down, some are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less. Than butterflies...
Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.
And one that I think sums up how I feel about my life and the kind of relationship I want in the future, if it is meant to be:
Maybe some women aren't meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free til they find someone just as wild to run with them.