You know all that garbage you see in movies about meeting your one true love and living happily ever after creating little packages of equally contributed chromosomes with one another? Don’t put too much weight in that, sweety. I know it looks wonderful and pretty and it makes your heart all juicy and gives you that ache in the back of your throat but honestly, there’s this other thing you should be focusing on–you.
Like many other little girls, I grew up pining for my ‘one true love’ and settling into the perfect little domestic life with our perfect little children. As an added contribution to this, I have a father who comes from an extremely traditional culture that dictates that women be obedient, supportive, servants to their men–the men are the breadwinners, here, the only worry of the woman should be finding a man who can support her and their offspring. Did I concur with these beliefs? Not for long. I’ve always had the natural tendency to push back on such oppressive, subservient beliefs. So while other children around me were busy dreaming about their future professions, travels, aspired hobbies and crafts, my aspirations were as follows: get educated, find a well-paying job to support myself and any possible offspring, be all-around prepared to have a family when I find said ‘one true love’. So, progressive in terms of impressions put upon me, but deeply flawed.
Did I find said ‘one true love’ and create those beautiful little offspring? The answer to that is an assertive and resounding NOPE, thankfully. Why am I thankful for this? Because at this point in my life I’m pretty sure that if I had done that, I would be finding myself 1) unrecognizable 2) deeply depressed (moreso than I can say I am now) and having no idea why or where to start in finding my way out of it. My spirit doesn’t fit the bill of subservient mother and wife–there’s so much MORE I want to do and so little time to do it in and so much of that is not conducive to also having children who depend on you. Even more than that, I’ve recently entered my thirties and I’m just starting to figure my shit out. I’ve spent so much of my life floundering about because I never had the focus to identify a direction for myself, and here I am just starting to chart my course. Never mind the fact that there are at least three other subjects I wish I had majored in during college, or the possibly infinite list of skills I’d like to acquire or hobbies I’d like to take part in–I’ve got so much I want to do and I feel as if I’ve wasted a rockstar life (used as measure of time, here) just figuring that out.
At this point I’m beginning to accept the fact that while marriage is still a possibility, it’s not at all a priority for me. Relationships, for that matter, have also been tirelessly redefined in my head. And children? Probably not. As much as I love children and I feel like I would crush at raising kids (they’d all rule), I’m getting to the point where it likely won’t happen and if it doesn’t, I’m okay with that. The older I’ve gotten the more I enjoy my alone-time, the more particular I am, the more I like being able to do whatever the hell I want when I want, the more I like not feeling obligated to share my treats with any little mouths. Selfish? Definitely. But if you’ve been alone this long, it becomes part of life and there’s nothing wrong with that. I still want so badly to leave a positive mark on the world in some small way, to make a difference in the time I have left here, to be an advocate for youth and humanity and life in general; the difference in my thinking is that now it’s directed outside of myself rather than inwardly on a small group of people I would have created.
My point in talking about all of this, Youth Me, is that I’ve only just begun to realize all of these aspirations for myself as the possibilities of marriage and child-bearing have fallen by the wayside. If, instead of focusing on these, you look ahead with only intention for your very own success and contributions in life, maybe come your thirties you’ll be a whole lot further than I am. And, instead of wishing for those 48 hour days, you’d have a list of accomplishments, an ever-growing set of aspirations that build upon one another, and a five to ten year plan that would knock the socks off of any potential employer. So, youthful me, when you hit 18 and have that itch to move out of the house and relocate to a completely different city; do it. Don’t worry about having a reliable car that will serve as a family wagon. Don’t buy into those silly romance stories you see in films–they are all exceptions and occur so seldom. Instead of looking for love, look for good friends and make an effort to keep them. Research your interests. Never shy away from a conversation that requires you take a stance or share your opinion–you’re smart, reflective and thoughtful–you’ve GOT this. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have shitty taste in anything. Taste is relative and people who say that are secretly insecure and just wearing the coat of pretension. Instead, find and embrace those people who, while they may have differing tastes from yours, still have developed ones and respect your interests for being your own. If anyone makes you feel shitty, cut them loose. If anyone does something shitty to you, speak up. Be confident in how awesome and interesting you are and know that you deserve to be loved, even if you’re not. Love yourself. Love others and tell them so. And most importantly, don’t ever convince yourself you should own birds.
I love you, youthful me. When I think about you I just want to envelope you in a warm, firm hug that lets you know that no matter how much ‘icky Sunday feeling’ you experience in life, it will all be okay. You have the power and presence of mind to make a life for yourself. Regular exercise helps, eliminating toxic people from your life helps, too. I want you to indulge yourself in your interests, be brave, know that you’ve got an autopilot that will get you through virtually any situation; and trust it.