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!