Incomplete… Part III

Expectations

I remember watching the movie “Up in the Air” with a sort of fascination. This scene (scripted below) between the young, idealistic 23-year-old, Natalie, and the thirty-something career woman, Alex, struck a chord with me–it’s like the current me having a conversation with the fresh-out-of college me, which I found to be slightly disconcerting:

Natalie: I thought I’d be engaged by now. I thought by 23, I’d be married, maybe have a kid, corner office by day, entertaining at night.  
Alex: Well, life can underwhelm you that way. 
Natalie: Where did you think you’d be by now? 
Alex: It doesn’t work that way. At a certain point, you stop with the deadlines. It can be a little counter-productive. 
Natalie: Sometimes it feels like, no matter how much success I have, it’s not gonna matter until I find the right guy. I could have made it work–he really fit the bill, you know. White collar, 6’1, college grad, loves dogs, likes funny movies, brown hair, kind eyes, works in finance but is outdoorsy. I always imagined he’d have a single syllable name like Matt or John or… Dave. In a perfect world, he drives a 4-Runner and the only thing he loves more than me is his golden lab. …And a nice smile. What about you? 
Alex: You know, honestly by the time you’re 34, all the physical requirements just go out the window. You secretly pray that he’ll be taller than you. Not an asshole would be nice. Just someone who enjoys my company, comes from a good family–you don’t think about that when you’re younger. Someone who wants kids, likes kids… healthy enough to play with his kids. Please let him earn more money than I do–you might not understand that now but believe me, you will one day… otherwise that’s a recipe for disaster. And hopefully, some hair on his head. I mean, that’s not even a deal breaker these days. A nice smile… Yeah, a nice smile just might do it. 
Natalie: Wow. That was depressing. I should just date women. 
Alex: Tried it. We’re no picnic ourselves. I don’t mind being married to my career. And I don’t expect it to hold me in bed as I fall asleep. I just don’t want to settle. You’re young. Right now you see settling as some sort of a failure. It is…by definition. Yeah, but by the time someone is right for you, it won’t feel like settling. And the only person left to judge you will be the 23-year-old girl with a target on your back.

…………………………………………………..

I find that my expectations of where I’d be at my age are FAR different from where I am–I thought I’d be married in my mid-20s, have a couple kids by 30, a successful career, a loving husband. Reality: I find myself single in my mid-30s, few relationship prospects, not sure if I want to have children (I am not one of those women who would even consider single-parenthood for the sake of having a child–to each their own, but I feel like that would be unfair to me & the child), and finally, after much struggle & hard work, a successful career. One out of four ain’t bad, is it?

I’m not going to let my 20-something self (or anyone else) judge me for being single, either.

I could sit & lament about how or why my life isn’t what I expected, but why? Am I unhappy? No. Do I feel unfulfilled? No. But most importantly–what if I did have all of those things? Would I genuinely be happy? I have no idea. Why is that? Because I am not that person, I am not living that life. I don’t see the point of wondering “What if…?” because I don’t want to miss my current life… the life that I’m living. I want to appreciate what I do have in my life–whether it’s my family, friends, things, or just how it feels to sit on the beach and bask in the sun.

I refuse to sit around & blame myself or how I’ve lived my life for the fact that I’m still single in my 30s. I may not always be happy being single, I may crave a shoulder or an amorous glance or touch from a man who adores me… I can’t stop myself from wondering when I’ll find someone to go on new adventures with.

I have faith that I will continue to figure out who I am, what I want, and someone that will appreciate (most) of me. I don’t know when or where we’ll find each other, but I expect to have fun (& have more ridiculous stories) along the way!

6 comments on “Incomplete… Part III

  1. You Me Him and Her says:

    This post and that scene from that movie are very ironic to me, b/c in my life now I have been both people. As a young 20’s person like Natalie I thought the life of getting married and settling down and trying to do what “the norm” was in the deck of cards for me. But as soon as you do all of the necessary things to become “married” and make it all official, it all changes, or at least for me. Sadly to say, we barely made it a year married after being together for over 8 years and now being a single 29 year old male new to the game, I now find myself being Alex, only I pee standing up.

    I spent my entire high school and college and the few years after with one girl, one person, and one soon to be new family that I thought was perfect for me when it couldnt be farther than that. I think a point comes in all of our lives when we realize who we are and what are purpose partially is in this world. It took me getting married to realize the person that I was not. Now I am left learning more about myself in the almost two years of single life and I have grown more and discovered more about myself than ever. Its bitter sweet really, but its tough to let go of a past identity and almost recreate one’s self.

    But just to the point you made in your post, I have never been happier in my life, never been more content with the decisions I make on a daily basis, and never have I ever felt so right mentally. Acceptance is a beautiful thing. All the social norms and stereotypes that Alex mentions are just expectations. When we go through our days with no expectations, we feel a lot more satisfied. One day I will meet the one I spend the rest of my life with b/c one day I will find someone who can just chuck the expectations away daily like I do. Wishful thinking maybe? But ill be patient and enjoy the company of myself in the meantime. Happy Friday. Stay brown. Sorry for the novel. Hit a good nerve.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience–while I’m sad you had to go through that, I’m glad to hear you’re happy & enjoying your life & experiences. It’s interesting how our perspectives & expectations change as we get older, doesn’t it?

  2. Thank you so much for writing this, honestly it’s great to hear I’m not the only one! I’m going through much of the same having moved back in with my parents to take care of them and so I could start my own business, all the while seeing more than one kid I used to babysit, getting married with aunties pestering (judging me about it). I think I would have been unhappy had that happen to me, I may not have or had the ‘perfect, good indian girl’ life, but hell, it was a lot of fun and it was/is mine. Early 20s Me went through a lot between expectations and death of a very dear friend…she may have looked at Early 30s Me as some sort of failure for not being wildly successful (wealthy) and being alone (single). Early 20s me was also a raging idiot most of the time:P So interesting how time will give you perspective. My thoughts on a partner, on work, on life haven’t lessened in any way but just changed for the better. I think a big part of all this is realizing you can’t live your life on someone else’s terms even if they have the best intentions.

    • So true. I think we all go through this on some level–thanks for sharing your perspective & experience. I wish you luck on your current adventures & hope you continue to have fun & find success on your terms. 🙂

  3. Roy says:

    I just find it hard to believe that a woman like you is single with few relationship prospects. Wow. I guess you have pretty high standards, good for you that you don’t settle for any old trash that happens to drift your way.

    • Thanks, Roy. I meet lots of men, who always tell me that I’m too intimidating for them… Which makes no sense. I’m going to blog about that, too.

      As for standards–they have changed quite a bit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s