There are a couple things that I know for certain: life is what you make of it, and nothing in life is certain.
In the rush of weddings, pregnancies, births and deaths that make up life, especially in your late twenties, there are few things that you can take for granted. I consider myself to be a sentimental type, so even the changing of the décor in my favorite restaurant is enough to make me wistful for the good old days. Some of the more major life changes have a deep impact on me, and I can’t seem to stop thinking about them.
Regardless of the fact that I am less sentimental about material things and purge my closet and possession list with every move – and there are many moves in my life – I am nevertheless not a fan of change. I appreciate where I am in my life, and what I am able to do with my friends: girls’ weekends away almost every weekend, drinking until the wee hours of the morning and not having to worry about making it home if there’s no one to drive; generally easy-to-deal-with responsibilities that can wait and don’t need to ever be addressed immediately. When my friends started getting dogs I thought they were crazy; when they started getting married I wondered just what exactly the world was coming to; when they started talking about babies I had an almost uncontrollable urge to leave town and not come back until retirement.
It is not necessarily a fear of commitment that I think I’m facing. It is more a fear of being tied down to a life that will get messy at times and may not always be good. I love where I am in life, and it seems strange to me that others might want to limit these moments of freedom, camping trips and bliss for the sake of dirty diapers, parent-teacher conferences and mortgage payments.
Thankfully, I don’t suffer from the same pressures as other people. Few people ask me when I’m going to settle down, when I’m going to have babies, what exactly I’m doing with my life. The reason for this, I think, is twofold: 1) my parents are not the type to ask for grandbabies when it is obvious nothing is further from my mind, and 2) I have been avoiding that lifestyle for so long it has become ridiculous to ask it of me.
The problem is that, regardless of what I am and what I enjoy, I am not everyone. Others want the companionship that comes with live-in relationships; of expanding love and family, of making a mark in the world that will last longer than themselves. They want children that will fill the house with laughter, who will grow into new people that they can relate to and be a part of them. These are normal wants and needs; regardless, I don’t seem to want or need them, at least not at present. I am perhaps a late bloomer; perhaps in that respect I will not bloom at all.
I don't resent the changes that my friends are making to their lives, but part of me is sensing a branching path. I see them heading in one direction, to their families and homes. Then I see me: on Robert Frost's road less traveled, tromping through the bushes, pushing branches out of my way and wondering if I'm still on the path at all. It's where I want to be, but it's hard making your own path sometimes.
After thinking about this in depth for quite awhile, I began to wonder what it was I was actually worried about. Well, I thought to myself, I am worried that the next step in my life won’t be as gratifying as this one is. Then I started to think about other parts of my life: worrying about the same thing during my last recess of elementary school, the last day of high school, the last summer of college when all my friends had already graduated; the last days of any long-term trip I have ever been on. With each step, I feared the future. With each step, I feared the idea of change, and of not enjoying the next phase. With each step, I moved forward tentatively. When I thought about it, however, I realized that I have enjoyed each step even more than the last one. Each adventure is even better than the last, not the reverse as I have always feared. Each day is its own best day, with all its trials and tribulations, adventures and laughter.
So life will change. It's okay. I can let it. My friends can head toward their dreams and I can head toward mine. Even though we may not be on the same paths, we'll at least be within yelling distance. And even though it won't always be the same, each day will bring more adventure, more to enjoy, and more to love.
Love and life-changing kisses