I was in the middle of one of those mindless Instagram scrolls, procrastinating on work, when I came across the above photo, posted by Amy.
I stopped. I let out a breath. I read the words on the photo over and over again, wanting them to sink into my skin. My eyes dropped down to Amy’s caption and I sucked in a breath when I read the words, “What is meant for me is already mine.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about timelines lately. I’ve been thinking about how I’m not exactly where I thought I’d be at 28.
When I was younger, my only goals in life were to get married and have kids. (And also to be a vet, but I let that dream go happily after one college-level Human Anatomy & Physiology course that nearly crushed my spirit.) There’s a lot of talk nowadays about gender roles and sexism and misogyny… talk that I wholly agree with and embrace. But I still wanted that “girly dream” of a white wedding and lots of babies.
In my early to mid twenties, I was adamant that I didn’t want kids and I didn’t want to be married. I rarely dated. I told myself it was because I was too busy with school and work, but the reality was that I was scared of dating. I didn’t think I had what it took to hold a guy’s attention. I didn’t think I was particularly charming or witty, and I definitely struggled to hold a conversation. It was just easier to stay single and focused on other things.
As for babies, well, I spent my early to mid twenties working in a preschool and I wanted nothing to do with children when I left that world. I loved the kids at my preschool (well, most of them), but goodness, they were so much work. I’m someone who craves alone time and quiet and lazy weekends… I just didn’t think I had the personality to be a mother.
But here I am at 28, and this decade of my life is swiftly coming to a close. In 18 months, I’ll turn 30 and that scares me but excites me. It scares me because I don’t feel ready to turn 30. I don’t feel as if I have done enough in my life to warrant turning 30. I’m not married, nor have I even been in a serious, long-term relationship yet. I’m not a published novelist, nor in any sort of leadership role at my job. I still worry about money on a daily basis, and when I think about living alone, I wonder how I can afford it. I don’t feel as settled as I think I should be.
Key words there: “think I should be.” When we start living for the “should”‘s, then we stop living for ourselves. We’re living for others and their expectations, not ourselves and our own specific timelines.
Here’s what I know is true: I deeply desire marriage. I don’t necessarily want a white wedding, but I desire a companion in life, someone to partner with in this journey. I deeply desire children. I want to be a mother and I want to experience pregnancy and I know, deep in my bones, there are pieces missing from my life, pieces fulfilled by children. I don’t believe I would feel these desires as deeply as I do if it wasn’t meant to happen for me.
But it feels like maybe I missed my opportunity. I know I’m only 28, so I understand that this is a silly fear to have, but it’s a fear nonetheless. I’ve yet to meet someone that I’ve felt such a strong emotional and physical connection with that I can see us building a family and a life together. With each new date I go on, either the spark isn’t there initially and the conversation is stilted. Or maybe the spark is there, but we don’t fit each other in other important ways. It’s disheartening, either way.
What this quote gives me is the ability to release my fear and my guilt and my apprehension. I haven’t missed my opportunity because the actual real opportunity? The man I am supposed to be with for the rest of my life and build a family with? I haven’t met him yet. (Or, I have met him, but the timing hasn’t been right just yet.) Those other men, even if it felt like there was potential, were never meant for me. They were meant to take up a small sliver of my time, but there were never meant for anything more than that.
“What is meant for me will never miss me.” There is such freedom in that. I can let go of the expectations that I can control this part of my life. I cannot. All I can do is to be open to the possibilities and understand that this man I am going to marry? He’s already mine and I am his. I can’t wait to meet him.