Image via Smitten Studio, who is in the middle of a house remodel I wish was my own. Waiting sucks.
I’m 30, but you knew that. Up until now I’ve always felt like I had time. Time to do everything I wanted to do. Short term, long term.. “what’s the rush?” I thought. Now it seems to all be catching up with me. I’m starting to realize that I had subconsciously imposed deadlines on myself to accomplish certain tasks. Things like getting a good job, buying a home, buying a nice car, having a baby, etc. Notice marriage is not on that list.
My mom was never married. She even told me she set out to be a single mom. Whether that was true, or not, I’ll never know. Maybe she wanted me to believe that she controlled her own life to that degree so that I’d be able to do the same one day. It took a long time for me to realize my mom was a feminist. A big one. I’m pretty sure she would have never referred to herself as such, either. She believed in taking care of herself, if only to be able to say that she did. Somehow she managed to instill an independent spirit and a healthy dose of pride while allowing me to form my own opinions about the opposite sex. This doesn’t mean she was careful when she spoke to me about men. She once told me never to trust a man when he cried. Deep down I knew what she really meant was that I needed to be careful about wolves in sheep’s clothing.
I’m pretty sure this is why I’ve never seen marriage as something I had to have. It was something that required another person’s participation. Another person’s permission, if you will. Permission.
“But Paola!” you say, “You kinda need another person to make a baby. It’s like physics or science or fact or something.” Totally. Except that they don’t need to be around for the whole thing for you to continue to have a baby. Marriage cannot exist if the other person is no longer there. Silly? Maybe, but it makes total sense in my head. With all that said, I am completely head over heels in love and cannot wait to marry the man of my dreams. It’s odd to go through life feeling indifferent about something and them BAM! it consumes every thought, every second of every day. I think it makes me appreciate it that much more. However, something I’ve noticed happening since being with this wonderful man of mine is that I’ve become dependent. Suddenly, tasks that I wouldn’t have thought twice about doing by myself now seem daunting and scary if he’s not around. Making calls, speaking up for myself, going grocery shopping, getting gas. Simple everyday shit are among the list of things I’d rather not do without him. Some days it pisses me off and I sit and sulk. Other days I find myself getting quite comfortable with the idea of this being my life. I don’t like those days. I don’t see anything wrong with relying on someone and trusting that they’ll have your back when you need it. It’s, also, nice to be pampered but I’ve never been all that comfortable with being taken cared of. Constant struggle.
It took a lot of work for me to get to this point. To where I was thinking about how my actions would affect someone besides me. A part of me still struggles with being able to make compromises in a relationship while not compromising my own individual dreams. Every now and again I’ll find myself really wanting to do something. It won’t happen because I’ll be waiting for him to get on board and he won’t. He’s not being mean about it, but maybe he has other things on his plate or he doesn’t see it as much of a priority as I do. For the past seven years I’d try to force myself to sit down and shut up about it. Stop being a brat for not getting what I want when I want it. I’m slowly starting to realize that there’s nothing wrong with saying “Hey, I really want to do this and I’d love it if you did it with me too. If you can’t, no biggie I’ll just do it by myself.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that and no one should make you feel guilty about it just because they weren’t ready. Unless you’re being passive-aggressive about it, in which case… stop it! It’s okay to have dreams that are only yours, it doesn’t diminish your partner’s role in your life. If you’re willing to chase them without him or her then more power to you. There are times when waiting just a bit would make it so that you can do it together and other times when waiting could mean missing out completely. I’m doing my best to try to decipher between the two.
We officially became engaged over a year ago. I’ve never subscribed to traditional timelines that end up being subjective anyway. In most latin cultures waiting until you’re in your thirties to have a baby is odd, while in those same cultures waiting 2 or more years after you get engaged to actually get married is completely normal. However, not being married yet is starting to feel like one of those things that I’m running out of time for. I promise that the only pressure I’m getting is self-imposed. It, also, has more to do with what happens before & after the wedding.
When we moved in together in late 2009, we thought we’d live there for 2 years. Enough time to save up for a down payment, buy the house, save some more, remodel, get married, travel, have kids, live happily every after. Simple plan, right? Right. Except, we’ve been living there for almost 5 years and we don’t seem to be getting any closer to actually buying the home. In fact, we’re not any closer to the down payment part. Which, if you recall from 5 seconds ago, was step number one. You can see where I’m going with this.
A lot of why we’re not ready has to do with both of us thinking we have time. Loads of it. And I guess we might. But these decisions feel like the type of decisions that affect the rest of your life. How old you are when you have your kids is directly correlated to how long you’ll be around after they’re born. I’d like to enjoy my kids (and hopefully grandkids) for as long as possible. I know you can’t ever be truly ready for kids, but right now… I’m feeling as ready as I think I’ll ever be.
Besides thinking we have all the time in world, there’s also not letting go of certain things. Things grown ups need to learn to let go of. Like buying that 45th pair of shoes. I’ve been reading Sophia Amoruso’s book #GIRLBOSS. One particular chapter titled “Money Looks Better in the Bank Than On Your Feet” struck some serious chords. Stop. Shopping. I have everything I need. I have to sacrifice the little things I want now to be able to get the big things I want later. I know these things. Now it’s just a matter of applying that knowledge. Time to buckle down. Stop waiting for my happily ever after to just happen and try actually making it happen.