The most difficult thing about my age right now…
…probably has something to do with other people’s expectations of what a life should or should not look like.
Being from where I’m from in Wisconsin, being over 30, not being married (or divorced), and not having had a few kids, I’m basically a unicorn. People I went to high school with are on their second (or third) marriages, and have kids going to their own high school proms. Or graduating. It’s wild.
When I was kid I remember making the Barbies play wedding, but I also remember throwing a knock-off ‘Ken’ doll that looked like Elvis and came in a bathrobe that wouldn’t have been out of place in Hugh Hefner’s closet, across the room because my Barbies didn’t like him. Apparently they also preferred blondes.
I remember one of the first “couples” getting “married” on the playground on Valentine’s Day when we were in the fourth grade. Some of the teachers got quite angry that they were being disrespectful, but I was mostly confused by the whole thing. After that it was just kids pairing up and having their first boyfriends and girlfriends in fifth and sixth grade, but (as mentioned in earlier posts) this nerd remained puppy-love free. No awkward middle school dances for this girl, and lots of playing look out so one of my less-nerdy friends could hold hands with their crush on the bus.
The first official boyfriend finally rolled into the picture at 16, complete with pink tips and Jnco jeans. The late 90s were really weird. That was a good experience, in the end, but I went to college single. I was especially grateful for that as I watched all my new friends painfully try to hold their high school sweetheart relationships together for the majority of freshman year. Unsurprisingly it didn’t work out for any of them, though many of them went on to enter a series of long-term relationships throughout the four years.
Some even married those guys shortly after graduation. Similar to high school sweethearts, those unfortunately had varying levels of success.
There are a few conversations I distinctly remember having over the years. One of them came when I first met my random roomie (Courtney of the House Hunters extravaganza). She couldn’t wait to marry her high school beau, and had already picked out what sports all the kids would play. She was an athlete in high school and so was he, but the fact that she had put thought into that absolutely blew my mind.
Other girls routinely read bridal magazines, and cried over TLC’s ‘A Wedding Story,’ which mostly made me want to staple things to the subject’s heads. Who were these people?
Another memorable evening of summer drinks led to one of our friends proclaiming that she just wanted “to be pregnant in summer and wear lots of flowing dresses.” Or she said muumuus, and my memory just wants to be kinder to that statement… hard to say. But again, this was something that she had thought about?
For years, I had absolutely no interest in having kids, my rationale being that there were so many dogs in the world without homes. And kids, for that matter. Now it doesn’t seem like the worst idea in the world anymore, and some of our friends have created some of my favorite tiny little people on Earth. But I’m over 30 and I’m not exactly panicking that BV and I haven’t taken that step yet.
And yes, I do want to get married at some point in time but again, while it has been discussed… we’ve been together nearly five years so of course it’s come up… not panicking over that either. We’re very happy together, have built a pretty solid little life with each other, and that’s really enough.
I’m also profoundly thankful that the people who know me well are not the kind to be all *wink wink nudge nudge* on these kinds of things. I know a lot of people get a lot of pressure on these matters and “when are you going to get married/have kids/buy a house/get that pony” can get really old really fast. I’ve got no patience for that and if people know that about me and are too scared to ask those questions, honestly, I’m kind of okay with that.
At this point, I’m living a fairly conventional life, apart from the fact that I’m doing it in a foreign country, and we don’t have any paperwork to prove it. And that is good enough for me.
Editor’s Note: This is part of a 31-day challenge series for the month of May, in which I aim to spend at least 15 minutes writing about whatever strikes my fancy. Results may vary.