I’ve always wanted to be a wife and mother.
For as long as I can remember, this has been my life’s goal. I’ve dedicated more time, energy, and passion to this single pursuit than to any other aim.
It’s been an exhausting and often devastating pursuit. I’ve felt like I failed because my life doesn’t look like what I always imagined it would. I’ve blamed myself, questioned my worth, and resented friends and even strangers who’ve found the relationships and built the families that have seemed ever-elusive to me.
I can’t begin to quantify the time and moneys I’ve put toward the goal of finding a mate. A few weeks ago, I was ready to spend $2800 on a match-making service that could only guarantee me 4 dates in 6 months. That’s $700/date. With, of course, no promise of connection.
Then, a friend gave me a very stern talking to. She told me what my “quest” looked like from the outside, essentially, told me how futile it seemed and how exhausting she observed it to be. She also said “You’re better than this.” I’d heard it before, but I’d never really heard it the way I heard it then, in the aftermath of yet another failed relationship.
It hurt. Her words felt harsh and uncaring. But I know her heart, and I know they came from a place of great caring. So, I shed some tears, took some inventory, then deleted my dating apps and decided, at her suggestion, to do the unthinkable: for six months, I’m abandoning my search.
The prospect of this is terrifying. When another friend suggested some time ago that I should “just stop looking,” I told her she was crazy. What would that even look like? How could I possibly separate who I am – how I live – from everything I’ve ever wanted?
Well, that’s what I’m about to find out. Or give a good shot at anyway.
Someone asked me recently “Do you ever think maybe you haven’t met your mate because you haven’t done all the stuff you’re supposed to do before you get to that phase of your life?” Well, no, I’d never considered that, or if I had, I’d left it at that – a consideration, nothing to actually act upon. But maybe, just maybe, I’ve got some unfinished business I’m supposed to tend to.
The morning after “the talk,” I read an article in The Atlantic about mid-life career change. Currently, I’m seeking such a change, so the read was well-timed. The article spoke of passion and purpose and got me thinking about how these qualities of life can intersect with career and/or be separate from and supported by career. I’m not sure which “route” I’ll take – seeking a career that aligns with my passions or finding a career that satisfies me and leaves me with enough energy to pursue my passions outside of it – but either way, I’ve never paid much attention to career pursuits because, well, isn’t that what husbands are for? Kidding. Kinda.
For the next six months or so, I’m gonna do me. I joined a dragon boating team. I registered for my first trail run. I’m taking rock climbing classes. I’m remodeling my kitchen and bathroom. I plan to join a book club, do more yoga, and enjoy my dinners out without constantly looking around for the next best thing (er, man) to come through the door.
I’m also finally starting the blog I’ve been talking about for way too long. My posts won’t always center on my not searching…but it’s that not searching that’s finally giving me the bandwidth to explore my love of writing…and, perhaps, the courage to share it.
Here’s to facing my fears. And finally getting around to finishing some business.