Saturday, January 9, 2010

Let Me Set the Record....

I'm not anti-marriage.

My parents have been married for 28 years, and I believe in love and Happily Ever After.  But I also believe that everything takes some effort and work. Even the Happiest of Ever Afters have some hardships.

Sure, one day, I'd love to have a family and house of my own.  Sure, once in a while, I feel this longing to have kids.  And..okay...fine...I have a couple of names picked out already.  When I was about 5 years old, I answered the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" with "A mother."  So, I do want to have children one day.

But I'm not wanting to rush into anything.  I'm well aware that being unemployed means that it's probably not a good time to do any sort of settling down or having a family.

Let me take another step back.

Once upon a time, I truly believed that I would be married soon after grad school (I would have been 24, the age my parents were married) .  My ex and I were totally planning for it.  We even took our parents to dinner to tell them our plan (that so didn't go well...and my parents felt so bad for my ex that they paid for dinner.....I'm pretty sure his mom hated me....).  But in the end, after almost 9 years together, we broke up.

It was quite an awakening.  A true reality check.  But I also reflected on how I played a part in the whole relationship and its demise.

I knew I hadn't grown up enough.

Now that I'm in another long-term relationship, living with the guy and all, I don't feel that he and I need to rush into any sort of situation.  I still feel that he and I both need to work on some things on our own before we're able to handle the responsibility of each other and a family.  Seriously, if he asked me to marry him right now, I'd have to honestly say (and he knows this), "I love you...but I'm just not there yet..."

Believe me, I've taken ALL of 2009 to think about this.  The year started with a wedding, and ended with one of my childhood best friends having her second child.

This past year was the first time I've had to attend multiple weddings of my friends - 1 in Hawaii, 1 in Los Angeles, and 1 in the North Shore of Massachusetts.  In true social work fashion, I've really had to check myself throughout the year.  "How am I feeling?  Am I jealous?  What is it that's bothering me?"

Now, weddings....well..that's a different blog post.

Jealousy, while I can be guilty of it, was not playing any part in my feelings of 2009.  I believe that all my friends who got married and are planning to get married are all at a point where they can be, and that's the right step for them.

I talked in one of my first posts about how I feel like I'm not physically, emotionally, or mentally ready to "settle down."  Most of what was bothering me was how fast everyone else was "growing up" and maybe even "leaving me behind."  But I just don't want to be an expendable part of their lives as they move on and create new ones.  The whole experience really had me feeling whatever transition period I might be going through.  Yet, I'm still not in any rush.

When I'm ready, I'll know.  It's my own pace.  And I'm quite satisfied with this pace.


Have you been told that you need to "hurry up" and get married or have babies?
What about feeling like you have to follow in your family's footprints?
Are you doing something you love even if it's costing you more than you make?

I want to hear about your experiences and feelings about being pressured to "grow up," following your passions, and whether or not your satisfied with your choices!!!

I encourage those of you who are currently unsatisfied to think of concrete steps you'll take to take more control over your choices!
p.s. Self-proclaimed strengths-based social worker here.

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