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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"alone" isn't a dirty word.



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"I'm on a journey. It's my journey, and I'm okay." - Marnie Michaels, GIRLS

OMG, if I can't find any excuse to implement a GIRLS gif/quote/meme for any and all areas of life. First of all, Allison Williams can do no wrong. Huge girl crush.

But back to the topic at hand... I've had this quarter-life crisis conversation a lot over the past few months. There's this pervading sense of failure that late-20-something women who want to eventually be married are immersing themselves in. It doesn't matter how much success she's shrouded in--if she's not married and wants to be, there's a feeling of, "oh my gosh, what have I done wrong?" I've been there--every woman in my family was married (and some, divorced) before the ripe age of 24. At 22, I thought the idea of having babies at 30 sounded positively archaic. And to be brutally honest, it's taken a while to be comfortable in my own relationship, confident that our long-term future awaits, and my socially-driven timeline doesn't have any room to dictate my life. 

That being said, I think goals are a pivotal part of life... I thrive most when I'm surrounded by ambitious, goal-oriented people. And, having been engaged before, I am endlessly thankful I've never been married. You're not the same person at 27 than you were at 21... I've changed in so many ways I'd never anticipated or envisioned. What I've wanted has evolved immensely. I love who I am at 27, and I love the confidence of being 27 and having goals for this lifetime outside of having a family. Don't get me wrong--college love can be built for the ages, to be sure... but it's not the path I've taken and I'm perfectly happy with that.

My earnest hope is for girls my age to embrace the years we have now... because the truth of the matter is, in not too many months, our lives will be completely inundated with diaper changes and day care drop-offs, playdates and pediatrician appointments. There really is time. There's time to be a mom and wife.

But right now? It's time to be 27 and alone. And "alone" isn't an ominous thing. There's a strength to being alone. To having the confidence to embrace the solitude. It's been a struggle sometimes, but I made it here, and I love it. I enjoy my ME time more than I can express without embarrassment. I love loving on and spoiling my baby niece and nephews, and all of my friends' adorable kids... ST's little man, too. But I've heard many variations, time and again of, "if we had to do it all over again, we'd wait a little longer." Again, not to blur the lines--I love being in a relationship. I love to love, and I'm good at being part of a twosome. I love the partnership, the adoration of my best friend, the plans we make, the way our belly laughs sound similar, the jokes we come up with even now, five years later, the ease and sweet comfort of familiarity. 

But I also love sleeping in... I love girls' nights, followed by the inevitable champagne hangover. I love shopping on my Saturday and not exactly sharing a mutual budget. I love eating mac-n-cheese and banana pudding on lazy days when he's out of town. It might sound menial, and I know the splendor of motherhood and being married will far outweigh a lot of experiences I've had before that era in life... but I definitely think more should be embraced about being an adult woman in the post-collegiate years when you're not rushing to play wife. There's nothing at all wrong with it. It's a good thing. There are so many cliche phrases revolving around "being whole before you can be half of a relationship." But it's so, so true... defining ourselves on our own terms, before Mrs. So-and-So is so crucially important--at least for me.

If you're married/a mama, would you change anything about your timeline? Were you stressed about it before you got to where you are now? 

If you're unattached/unmarried, do you struggle with not being a wife and/or mama?

I really want to know any and all thoughts... this is a topic that is endlessly intriguing to me.

7 comments:

  1. As I was reading this, I kept thinking one thing, and although I hate to say it and mean it in the best way possible -- easy for you to say.

    The nicer, but longer, way to get across my point is I think it's very easy to talk about the benefits of being "alone" and how everyone should be more comfortable with it when you have a seemingly wonderful man who is a phone call away (or less, now that I think you've moved in together?) when you need a hug or a person to complain to or a tire changed or anything.

    And not to say that you can't call friends, or AAA, but the grass is always greener. It's important to me too that I know myself and define who I am and who I want to be, but as a 24-year-old, pretty successful single-and-not-dating gal, sometimes it'd be nice to figure that out while also having the strong support system that comes with a boyfriend or even a husband. Once you get married you don't have to automatically become just "Mrs. So-and-So."

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    1. Megan--thanks for the feedback. Again, you can see my countless references to how this has been a YEARS-long personal struggle and I hardly think it's "easy for me to say," being that I've spent the bulk of my 20s defining my worth by how great my relationships are. There's nothing easy about it.

      Much like, there's not a lot that's easy about maintaining a relationship sometimes. And 24 isn't 27, no offense at all intended. Most people would love to be in a relationship, but my point is that you don't have to define yourself by whether or not you're attached. Moreover, we endured nearly four years of long distance before moving in together, and while there wasn't much that was easy about that either, perhaps it was the catalyst for my acceptance of being confident in being independent and "alone." You may not fit into the mold, but all too many 20-something women define themselves and their value based on whether they have a "Mrs." plastered on the front of the bills. And I don't at all think that's the way it should be.

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  2. One of the best things I did (actually in my early twenties) was learn to see 'alone' in a positive way. It wasn't loneliness, it was solitude. Solitude is such a gift to me these days!

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  3. As a to-be-31-in-one-day female, I love being "alone". I'm in a fabulous relationship, but I cherish my me time. Many years ago I would have told you I'd be done having kids by 25, and here I am, 31, not married and no kids. And I LOVE it. I do sometimes deal with the "I'm running out of time" mentality, but I love my life so much as is that it quickly passes. I was married for 1.5 years, and when that didn't work out, I thought my life was over. Little did I know that only revealed to me just how strong I am and just how much I love me.

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  4. I too have come to terms with being "alone," if not for any other reason that my endless boughts of traveling can at first be down right depressing. Like you, I enjoy my "single gal" behaviors like mac-n-cheese for one, watching whatever the hell I want on the dvr, and gosh, I miss not having to worry about anyone but myself. It's funny to admit, but things like that change so quickly once you say I do.

    As for babies, coming as a baby of the family and last of the grandkids, I used to have hopes and dreams (while at the ripe age of 18 no less) of having a little one of my own by now, possibly even two. Then along came my niece, Ava..and then along came my second niece, Autumn. Two precious beings that God granted me, and taught me that life isn't exactly easy when kids come along. Like my momma always told me, "Whit, you don't want a baby...you want a baby doll. Something people can ooohhhh and aaaahhhh over and then when you're done, you can throw it into a closet." hahaha

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  5. I don't struggle with not being a wife/mother, but I do struggle with being alone. It's been six and a half years since my last relationship, and to be honest I'm over it.

    Sure, I enjoy not having to plan my days around anyone but myself, but it gets lonely. I'd like to have someone to have dinner with sometimes, and to have a date to weddings so I don't have to be the awkward odd number that throws off the seating charts. Or someone to stay in and watch a movie with.



    So yeah... alone doesn't always mean lonely. But sometimes it does. Alone doesn't suck, but lonely does.

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  6. PREACH! I got married at 27. Thank god I didn't marry who I was dating at 21 because I am not the same person. At all. I spent my after college time exploring and doing whatever I wanted. I made it all about me. It definitely made me a better person. I see young girls fret about wanting to be married so badly but they just don't know yet how much growth is to come. Also, if you can't be alone then how do you really know who you are?!

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