I am approaching a milestone birthday in a little over a month, and it’s causing me some anxiety as I assess my life at this moment. I’ve felt “behind” my friends in a lot of ways. Many of them have been married since we graduated college, and are working on baby number two or three now. Even six years ago, I felt behind, when I went to buy my first house. I didn’t understand any of the words in my mortgage, but I signed the papers like an adult should. That said – all of my friends had already done this, years before me. Ask any of these friends, and they will tell you that I’ve never been one to follow the crowd, so these feelings of anxiety are coming out of left field.
In my case, marriage and kids aren’t even on the horizon. That’s not to say that I’m not happy for my friends. I don’t begrudge them in any way, but I am finding myself attempting to compare our situations. On the flip side, when I talk to these friends they will ask me what my plans are for the weekend. Well, guess what? I don’t really know. Or I can decide last minute because I don’t have any responsibilities. I mean, there is a plus side to not having to think about how to occupy toddlers every hour of every day. Which is why I’ve been struggling with whether or not I should want this. On one hand, I love spending time with my nephews. They’re adorable (except when they cry), and I have a lot of fun with them. In fact, I’m the “fun” aunt. I bring them gifts, run around with them for two hours, and then go home to my quiet apartment. But do I want kids of my own?
As I approach this milestone birthday, I have to think about this from the right perspective. Having a child or getting married isn’t something to rush into. I had previously been in a bad relationship and I could have had all of those things. Except it would have been with the wrong person. I find myself now in a loving, well-adjusted relationship, so maybe it’s not just about my age, but also my circumstances. If I had become pregnant in my last relationship, where would I be now? Certainly tied to my ex, and that’s one person I am glad to be rid of. I likely would have stayed in my safe job, rather than moving to another city to pursue loftier career goals. Ultimately, I don’t know that I would have been happy.
What I’m getting at (and something that I keep reminding myself) is that everything happens for a reason and in its own time. If I’m being honest, I never even thought about wanting kids until my current relationship. I mean, he’s wonderful and I think that makes me consider the possibilities. But, I’m currently in a long-distance relationship and living in a tiny apartment while I get my life in order. That includes selling my house (in another city) and paying off debt. These are all good and responsible things, but I’m not in a position to have a child, so why beat myself up over this idea?
I also think it’s important not to compare your life to someone else’s. This is the main reason I gave up Facebook. There is competition in life, but you shouldn’t compare where you are in your life, to that of your friends or family members. I personally think that I need to give myself a break. I have gone through a tremendous amount of change over the last two years. Maybe more change than the average person really can handle. But it’s also all happened so quickly. I spent so many years in a bad relationship and the days just seemed to drag on. And yet, I’ve been with this amazing person for less than two years now, and it seems like yesterday that we first met.
This has been a hard post to write. Not only am I opening up about my life, but I’m also looking at my fears and anxieties. I don’t know where my life will go, or what will happen and there’s something scary about that. That said, there is value in waiting. If things had happened differently for me, I wouldn’t be in this incredible relationship now. I wouldn’t have had the wonderful experiences that I have over the last two years, and I think I’d be a different person. So if you are evaluating your life and wondering how successful you are, think about what you have done and try not to beat yourself up about the things you haven’t done yet.