I always thought I would be married in my early twenties, perhaps mid-twenties at the latest. I didn't come to that conclusion after lots of pondering and soul searching, it was just something I knew. As far back as I can remember, I always just assumed that would be how my life went-- I would be married and starting a family in my twenties. Married. Kids. House. Garden. Happily ever after. That's what my parents did. That's what my sisters did.
And here I am. Twenty-eight and living with my cat.
I suspect that this is the point at which some of you are rolling your eyes at me. If you've changed your mind about reading this post, no hard feelings. You're excused.
I don't want to sound bitter or whiny or some combination of both. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining. I'm not looking for sympathy or cheering up. Honestly, I just want to be able to feel how I feel and have that be okay.
I thought I would be married by now, living with a man I love, starting a family. But I'm not. And that makes me sad. The life I was so sure I would have is not going to happen the way I thought it was.
It makes me feel sad that I probably won't have a child before I am 30. And I know all the reasons why it perhaps should NOT make me sad-- lots of people don't even start to think about having kids until they are in their thirties, I still have plenty of time to have children in my thirties, I'm still in school, etc. I know that many people don't think about having kids until their thirties but you know what? That isn't me. I HAVE started thinking about having kids. I DO want them. And sure, maybe I still have plenty of time but I don't have UNLIMITED time. My fertile years are slipping by and I don't care if that sounds ridiculous coming from a 28 year old. I have been told that my "timeline approach" to dating and starting a family is nonsensical and sure, maybe that is true in a way. I do tend to hang onto dead-end relationships because I feel like I have invested so much time into them and I just don't want to start over again and ugh, yes, I do see the flaws in that. However. It doesn't make sense to me to just not think about it. Because there IS a timeline-- a physical, biological timeline. THAT IS SCIENCE.
Just because other people want to wait to have kids or they want to put their careers first or they don't worry because they still have plenty of time does not mean that is true for me. I don't want to put my career first. I don't want to wait.
But here I am. Waiting.
And this makes me sad. Not unbearably sad, not cry-myself-to-sleep sad. Just... meh... sad. Feeling this way does not mean that I'm unhappy with my life. It does not mean that I don't appreciate all the wonderful, truly amazing things that I have. It does not mean that I don't love my family or my life just exactly the way it is. And I'm also not disregarding the things I've learned or the relationships I've had. I know that I will definitely make a better wife/mother/partner because of my past than if I had started earlier.
I know that so many people have so much heartache. So many people can't have children or they have children and lose them or their spouses die or they are living with debilitating illnesses or a million other sad, terrible tragedies. I'm not saying that my sadness holds a candle to theirs, or that the loss of something intangible is comparable to the loss of something whole and real.
But my feelings are real. My grief is real. The loss is real, even if what I've lost was only a dream.