Is 28 too early or too late to just come out and say that I don’t want to ever have to fathom a future where I have not become both a wife and a mother? 27 was the age, at least for me, when this reality started to creep in—and yes, out of absolutely nowhere. The reality that, oh no, if I’ve always known that marriage and motherhood are special to me should I have been searching all along for the very relationship that would reward me with both?
Should I have at least dated smarter and cut ties as soon as my heart knew that what was between us would never be enough? I reason we can’t look back and think this way. I mean, we can, but how will that ultimately serve us? And anyway,
we need to experience relationships that cater to a vision not of marriage or even love but the smaller dreams, too.
Like, the dream we have for our ego. The dreams which beg for our attention as we come of age. These are dreams that we must attend to before the final act, so to speak, before the fancy wedding and forever love. These are the dreams which we mustn’t obliterate, ignore, or devalue but, rather, must demystify. These are the dreams we must bring down to earth and feel out and often overcome the dreaminess of.
That said, these visions, the crushes and hookups, are absolutely necessary though. They inform the very foundation of ourselves—of who we are behind the facades or who we are in relation to them, who we are after we’ve attained our fantasies and been blindsided by them, too. What does our heart yearn for then? How comfortable do we feel in the arms of someone we have longed for the attention of?
Because love that is long and lasting is not sustained by attention alone.
Our small and superficial and vague encounters are meant to teach us this. They are meant to motivate us toward deeper meanings and higher qualities. Which is why we need them. We need relationships that will only ever be meant for right now. I believe it is because of our journey along the way, our journey through our small and unrealistic, our early and circumstantial loves, that we grow into our own acknowledgment of what we viscerally beg for and realistically and inevitably need.
Coming into this recognition and then acceptance, however, takes time and patience, strength and fortitude. Our vision for marriage and motherhood and greater love takes perspective. And it’s a perspective gained through the time we take playing with the ideas we have of people and the ideas we have for ourselves. It’s a perspective gained by rubbing our dreams up against their realities. A perspective gained by the influencing power of singleness. Datelessness. Periods of romantic sobriety where we face down ourselves and come to terms with what we really want for ourselves as well as what we are most designed for.
To understand who we are, to understand the “I” in ‘I love you,’ we must make our “mistakes” and have met with our crushes and fallen down into our heartbreak. To be ready for not our dreams but our greatest realities, we must live through the experiences that don’t go according to plan.
We must have thrown our heart behind something and invested ourselves in someone only to learn that neither was ever meant to take us to the alter
or stand by us through and through and to the end. This is how we develop ourselves and our vision for the future.
Through emotional chaos and then some sort of sexual sobriety. Through acknowledgment and acceptance. Through our venturing on the high tides and golden arches of perspective. What carries us forward and rewards us forever and changes us the most though is our appreciation. And appreciation comes from an accumulation of these many smaller dreams and loves and experiences. Experiences that have come and gone and broken our hearts and lured us down other paths and persuaded us into opening new doors and stampeding through them, too.
We don’t just wake up suddenly understanding this, right? Maybe it had to take me 27 years to realize the elements I cannot fathom living without. And maybe I’ll need even several years more to see myself for all I really am and to have that clarity and confidence take me into the arms of a husband and a future of golden opportunities.