In the thick of last minute Birthday Party plans, I have been on the verge of an anxiety attack for days, days that have felt like weeks.
I’m laying in bed when it hits me like a swift kick in the chest:
I know why I’m REALLY upset!
It’s not the “bad birthday ju-ju” that has followed me throughout my elementary school days, into my teen years when parties were a bit passe, and even cast a shadow upon my early adult years, and is now threatening to rear its ugly head for the umpteenth consecutive year.
It’s not because I have NO idea who’s coming.
It’s not because all I have heard all week are apologies about not being able to make it.
It’s not the expense and all the trouble I’ve gone to to plan it for myself.
It’s not even because I’m turning thirty. Being upset about getting another year older is like getting mad that you can’t physically see oxygen.
What’s really got me twisting in knots is that I am twenty-nine, on the cusp of turning thirty, in the doorway of real adulthood, staring at the shadow of middle age, and I am alone. Single. Unattached. And not just a little bit single. Utterly, completely, soul-crushingly, heart-shatteringly single.
As girls, we grow up with an image in our heads of how our lives are supposed to turn out. A white picket fence and trips to the soccer field, or an urban loft and two working parents – we’ve got it all mapped out. What our wedding will be like, what our husband will look like, right down to how many kids we’re going to have and what we’ll eventually name the little tykes.
So, at what point do we give up on that image of life, that ideal picture?
When is it time to settle as opposed to settle down?
Why do we have to?
While it is true that we are the creators of our own destinies and that in order to have a happy ending, we must willingly accept the circumstances we are faced with. What we are not prepared for is the day when we must let go of all the things we’ve spent our entire lives hoping for.
For years my mother has hounded me to “get a man,” as if by some chance it were as simple as stopping at Sobey’s for bread or milk. And for years, I have gone from one extreme to another, deluding myself into thinking I am better off alone – happier. Or that I am simply too intolerable to be loved by another human being.
Neither being true, I have spent the last year of my life in search of “middle ground.”
I’m more content in my own silence than I have been in my twenty nine years. I have a wonderfully small and close knit group of girlfriends. I have a family whom I love, and who loves me.
So what’s missing?
None of my puzzle pieces fit the way I, as I was growing up, thought they would.
I thought by my mid-twenties I would have a wildly successful career, a wonderful and handsome husband, and a few kiddies to chase after in the backyard of my ridiculously gorgeous house. I have none of these.
Again, the question that seems to have no answer:
At what point am I supposed to give up on that image of life, that ideal picture?
When should I quit searching for Mr. Right and forget the picket fence, handsome hubby and beautiful babies?
When is it time to settle?