Today is my 31st birthday.
So far life has taken me on quite a journey and not at all the one I was expecting. Isn’t that usually how it is? The things I planned for myself are not what happened at all.
As I’ve hit my thirties, I’ve struggled with the distance between where I am and where I want to be. I try to remember that life would be boring without the adventure and the striving for something we want. Striving and achieving makes us feel alive, right?
Even though I have always had goals and worked towards achieving them, there were things that I was not yet ready to have and I think that God knew that and didn’t give me what I wanted until I was really ready for it. It was hard for me to go through my twenties without getting married. In my community, getting married young was very highly prized. I wanted that with all my heart. It hurt very much that I didn’t get it.
Here was my plan:
- Married young
- Four kids
- Be a housewife
Being a stay at home mom has been my dream ever since I can remember. I built my life around the assumption that that is what I would be doing. Because of that I didn’t prepare very effectively for taking care of myself and being able to support myself financially when a husband did not materialize for me.
I went to college planning to find a husband. Yeah, I was that girl
But in the meantime, I needed something to focus my energy on. I had been writing stories since I was a child. I struggled with socializing and communicating with people and I found that I was much more effective at it in writing than any other method. (I learned much later that I’m on the edge of the Asperger’s scale). Telling stories was the way I connected with other people and so I figured if I needed to have a career plan, writing would be it.
Not journalism. Research sounded like a drag! I just wanted to tell stories. So that’s the plan that developed as I waited for marriage. I would be a novelist.
So where am I now?
- No children
- Working a job I really don’t like or care about
Pretty depressing. However, the silver lining is that I’m making great progress towards getting myself where I want to be. I’m so tantalizingly close to the life that I want! I guess it takes patience and it takes faith to get there.
1) I’m finally getting married at the definitely old-maid age of 31. But I can honestly see now that I was not prepared for marriage before and I would have been miserable with any of the previous guys I considered (not due to them in most cases). I did not understand the importance of compatibility through most of my twenties. I also had a lot of adjusting to do to function in the modern world. In a lot of ways it was like I stepped from 1900 directly to 2000.
My husband-to-be really “gets” me. He lets me be me in all my kooky eccentricity. I realized some time in my twenties while living alone that I kind of really suck at the cleaning and tidying side of being a housewife. I was never cut out for that. I am not detail oriented and often don’t actually notice mess (yes, I’m blaming this on Aspiness!).2) I’m finally in the right circumstances that I can start trying for children. I’m so excited to start that journey. My best friend had her first child a few months ago and it is such a delight to hang out with them and plan for when I can give my “niece” a playmate. I don’t know that we’ll make it to four kids like I always wanted. Partly because I’m starting late (although my family has a history of crazy amounts of fertility), but mostly because I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to financially support more than two. Plus I worry about the environment and I don’t feel right about adding to over population of the planet. (Sure wish I didn’t have that conscience because I totally want a Dugger family with, like, fifteen kids!)
3) Another discovery that I’ve made about myself over the last decade is that I don’t do well working for other people. I start out fine, but after a few months I start getting bored and also feeling suffocated and trapped. I’ve rarely stayed at a job more than one year in my whole life. The job I’m at now I’ve been at for more than three! I’m going absolutely stir crazy there. Especially because my job involves little beyond data entry. I don’t have a head for numbers; I’m definitely a creative type. Not only am I bored, but my boss finds something wrong with my work every single day. I want to do better, but nothing seems to help me to get there. So I just feel deeply discouraged. However, I have still been writing and publishing books.
It takes a while to get a career going as an author, but it is actually possible. More possible now than ever before with the popularity of the Kindle. Over the summer I started my own publishing company. I’m publishing my own books and stories, but I’m also publishing a few other people’s. I have a niche genre which means little competition and the authors I have so far are friends who share my interests.
I’m really hoping to develop and build this business to the point where I can leave my office job. Particularly when I get pregnant! I want to be able to work from home by the time I have kids and I’m not willing to wait to start trying for kids! I have this blog and I’ve been finding odd and off-ball ways of making money from home. I am fanatically frugal and couponing is a hobby of mine. It’s not enough yet, but I need it to be enough money soon!
So, that is my progress report for my 31st birthday. Things are going well and they are on track to get even better. Life didn’t follow the path I planned for, but it has given me greater gifts than I expected. I wish I could reach back to my 21-year-old self and tell her that things are going to be fine and in ten years she’ll be happier than she’s ever been before.