For as long as I can remember, I believed that by the time a person was in their thirties they should have their life together. I thought that thirtysomethings had steady jobs, spouses, kids, a house, and a white picket fence. Every year as I crept towards 30 I slowly realized that this was not the case. Some people in their 30s have all of the above listed things, while some have none of them. I also realized that many people have no desire to be married, and I now know many individuals who do not ever want to be parents. Everyone’s road is a bit different, and that’s what makes life interesting. For some of us, however, we desperately want all of these things (except maybe the fence), but are just having a hell of a time making them happen.
I will admit that I have managed to find my dream job. I am a teacher, and was actually named Teacher of the Year at my school. I take great pride in what I do, and feel lucky to be as successful as I am career wise. I also have an outstanding foster son that I am thankful to have in my life everyday. As kids do, however, he is growing up quickly, and will be off to college in a little under 2 years. The thought of him leaving is hard for me to swallow because it means that I will be alone again. I’m stuck between this place of my ovaries screaming every time they see a cute baby because I am at prime baby making age, and becoming an empty nester in a couple of years, which is actually an odd situation when you think about it. Anyway, I have always wanted to find the man of my dreams, settle down, have lots of babies, and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, some days it seems as if I am a man repellant and my ovaries will forever be screaming because I will never have a birth child of my own.
This strong desire to get married and have kids sometimes leads me to dark places. I get really sad, and start to feel like I am not worthy of love. I can’t help but think that if nobody has loved me yet then they probably never will. I struggle to even look through my Facebook feed because I see smiling couples and new babies, and it makes me jealous and angry when I know I should be happy for my friends. These feelings do not last forever, and there are bright spots. Often times I am happy to spend time with my family and friends, but then something will happen that will remind me of the fact that I am alone and I find myself slowly slipping back into the darkness.
Many of my friends have probably noticed me distancing myself throughout the years. It is not because I care about them any less, but because it is so hard to be the third wheel all of the time. I love my friends, and most of their spouses, but hanging out with them typically makes me feel completely inadequate. I know that this maybe makes me sound shallow or like a bad friend, and maybe I am, but I just once want to have someone look at me the way my friends’ husbands and wives look at them.
Speaking of friends, they try really hard to make me feel better about my current situation, which I totally appreciate. They tell me I am a total catch, and worthy of love, which I honestly think they believe, and I love them for that. What I don’t think they understand is just how difficult it is for me to continue to believe this about myself. If I am as worthy of love as they say I am then why in the world hasn’t it happened yet? I just want a man to look at me the way my dog does, it that really too much to ask?
Sometimes people will offer advice in the form of a platitude, such as: you’ll find someone when you least expect it, or, there are plenty of fish in the sea. I have learned to smile and thank them, but inside I am screaming. I literally have no expectations left to find anyone so that means that people should be popping up left and right, correct? I know they have good intentions, and are trying to make me feel better, but I can honestly say that never once has one of these sayings actually made me feel like maybe someone will come along and sweep me off my feet.
Why am I taking the time to write about all of this, you ask? Because I want the other thirtysomethings who aren’t quite where they want to be in life to realize they are not alone. We are in this together. When you are in a dark place, chances are I am in one too. When your ovaries scream as you pass a cute baby on the street, there are probably others screaming somewhere too. We are not alone, and there is nothing wrong with us. No, our lives are not exactly what we expected them to be, but they’re ours. We should be proud of what we have accomplished and thankful for what we do have. Maybe someday our happily ever after will come along, and maybe not, but if we spend too much time lamenting about whether or not it will happen maybe we are preventing ourselves from doing other things that could be equally as great. Life is rough, and sometimes it just plain sucks, but we need to face it head on. So let’s get out there, moderately happy thirtysomethings, and take on the day!
Photo credit: EmilyAlita Photos