Yesterday, I celebrated the Easter holiday by having a long lunch with my parents, grandma, cousins, and their nine month old son. It was nice being with family and spending time with the adorable baby that I haven’t seen since Christmas.
Holidays are usually the time when you reconnect with loved ones and share what has been going on in your life: new relationships, job promotions, plans to have children, and big purchases like homes and cars. So what do you do when there aren’t any of these developments in your life? Unemployment is an easily understood symptom of the current economy and relatives always have advice or empathy to share when I talk about job hunting. Subsequently, milestones involving spending large amounts of money to buy a house or vehicle and work related accomplishments can not exist without a good full time job. But, when it comes to relationships, there seems to be no excuse for not having one to share the details about with my relations.
When girls reach maturity, society starts to expect certain things of them. A steady boyfriend and plans for marriage and/or children have a new and growing urgency the older women get, despite our evolved and progressive times. At 21, after college, the countdown to spinsterhood begins as if committed relationships, wedlock, and babies have an expiration date that says “33 years old.” So what do we do when we don’t have those plans fulfilled or set in motion, or even want some of those things that we are supposed to?
I can say that I’ve never truly been harassed by my family to move faster when it comes to these plans, but the holidays are the time when interest is piqued, questions are asked, and I, myself, begin to wonder, where am I going with my life?
There have been the purposefully nonchalant inquires as to if I’ve been dating anyone and who I’ve been seeing. Last Christmas, my Uncle asked “when are you going to have yourself one of these?” as he held up said adorable baby cousin. While I know my family means well and a genuine interest in my life is the motivation for annual inquisitions, I tend to turn them into philosophical self-assessments that leave me questioning if I am where I want to be in my life. I am definitely too young to have regrets and I have the world ahead of me, but sitting at the table yesterday with my happy family moving out and up into life experiences, I feel a bit like the last horse out of the gate.
While I love my “nephew” and unabashedly admit that my cousin had to practically pry him out of my arms when we said goodbye and went our separate ways, I know I don’t want children and that that lifestyle just isn’t for me. I love being an Auntie, but don’t think I will ever want to be “Mommy.” I enjoy being single at this point in my life, and while I am not in a serious relationship, think I could one day consider marriage. Without worrying about my reproductive years passing me by though, what’s the rush? I want to focus on creating a career for myself and initially find a job that will ease my financial strains and give me a platform to grow in my field. I want to go out with my friends on Friday, or Saturday, or maybe both nights, because I am social and haven’t reached my “settling down” period yet. I realize all of these “I wants” make me sound a bit egotistical, but they are also goals and choices I have set and made that help me better understand who I am and what I want out of life.
So, if I am so sure of myself, why do I tend to get the holiday blues and begin to reevaluate my current relationship status? Maybe it’s the antiquated expectations from society (that I partially aspire to, respect, and disagree with, simultaneously), the sight of my own extended family with those things already attained, or maybe it’s all in my head. Whatever it is, it makes me wonder if I am behind in the race for being single and loving it, or if I am smarter than everybody else for taking my time with life and knowing ahead that some traditional aspects of domesticity aren’t for me? I’m a long shot in life’s race that will either win with a big payout or fill my predicted position of last place, but only time will tell. I’ll get back to you in forty years.
I hope everyone had a fun and lovely Easter, Passover, or Earth Day this week and lets give a big shout out to Indigo, who had a birthday on Friday too! What a festive weekend it was!