“I hope you aren’t held back because of a number. And that you don’t rush into things because it feels like time is slipping by. I hope you do what’s right for you. Hold on. Slow down. And breathe in. Your age is your age. But more importantly, your life is your life. Don’t change your journey so that it matches someone else’s. We need to walk different paths so the whole world can be explored. Revel in the differences. And enjoy where you are, in this moment.”
Too often I find myself saying, “But I’m almost 29…” or feeling like I should be doing this, doing that, or at a specific point in my life – a specific point in which I’m not. Family get-togethers are constant reminders that I’m 28, not married and without children, like some of my younger cousins. Being the oldest of 10 grandchildren on my mom’s side, Grandma telling me I’m next, and uncles questioning how I met the current arm candy. A lot of pressure to be where they are, or have already been there, but I’m not yet.
Those reminders aren’t it though; they aren’t the only things that make me think I’m “behind” sometimes. Baby showers, engagement parties, 30+ weddings in the past 7 years, cute little family cards from some of my best friends. I think about it on my own, all the time. Believe me; I thought life would have taken me down that path years and years ago, but it didn’t. So, I found myself rushing through life, jumping into relationships too fast, thinking that all of them were “it”, having baby fever, and too often wishing I was somewhere else, doing something else, sometimes being someone else. Completely forgetting that friends who are in that stage sometimes miss girls nights, solo vacations, first dates, a full nights’ sleep, to move across the state, to do whatever they want whenever they want – the things I’ve had the pleasure of doing for the last however-many years.
Don’t get me wrong; I crave the days I can wear a shirt that says “WIFEY” and go on trips with my husband and best friend, wake up with a 2-year old loving on me, book family photo sessions to send adorable Christmas cards of my family, cheer super loud at my kids’ sporting events, and finally use a majority of the ideas I’ve pinned on Pinterest. (Thankfully, I’m able to use all of the FOR THE HOME pins now.) But my life is my life. And I’m beyond thankful for the path that it has taken me so far – even though it’s different than expected and originally “planned” (word of advice: don’t try to plan life, it rarely works).
My journey didn’t involve marrying my high school sweetheart or knowing exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up (not that either of those are bad things!). Instead, I zigzagged through life, winding up and down so many different paths – good ones, wrong ones, life-changing ones, scary ones, new ones. I dated entirely too many people, worrying about who would be the one, and sometimes wishing I would’ve embraced the single life more. I moved across the state both for a long-distance relationship and for a new job (which in hindsight was a great decision!) I left a couple jobs after just over a year, hoping a new opportunity would bring me a little more satisfaction. I traveled to 3 new places in 2015 and 5 new places in 2016 – for work trips, to visit friends, to explore new places, to help me realize this world is much, much bigger than I. I moved back to West Michigan and purchased a home in an attempt to “catch up” to everyone so far ahead of me in life.
And here I am now – not 29 yet!, a single homeowner, with another good job, still no kids, but an extremely grateful attitude about where life has taken me so far. I’ve learned more about myself in the last few years than I ever imagined I would, and I can honestly say (despite a few moments of weakness or times I’m ready for what’s “next” in life), I’m truly enjoying where I am, in this moment. Holding on, slowing down, and breathing in.