I grew up in a relatively old fashioned family. Everyone carried the same story. Life sounded a bit like this: Go to school, go to college, get a job, get a boyfriend, then start a life with them, get married, buy a house, have kids- or a few.
Now while all of these milestones make life exciting… SPOILER ALERT!
Life doesn’t begin when you get married.
From the moment I began dating, I pretty much always found myself in serious, long term relationships. I was never one to dream about my wedding, but I had daydreamed about what it would be like to be married with kids. After all, making a home together, cooking dinner, waking up with someone, family or romantic vacations… it all sounded pretty great. I always assumed I would be among the first few of my friends to tie the knot. Like most of my girlfriends, I believed I would be married with kids by 30.
That ‘life plan’ came to a screeching halt when a 5 year relationship I had been submerged in, ended. And there I was; 30-something, and single. I became anxious at first, unsure what to do with myself. I had no idea what it was like to live life alone. The idea of going into a restaurant or even to a small cafe by myself and getting a table for one made me uncomfortable, or even depressed about my single status. My best friends were either engaged, married, or already on their second child.
Shouldn’t I have someone by my side to go to dinner with, travel with, can’t wait to start and create a LIFE with? That question riddled me with angst.
Quite frankly, I was equally pissed and hurt at my ex for our breakup. Pissed because of how abruptly it all seemed to happen. And hurt because I felt like he was robbing me of my chance to truly experience this other side of life I daydreamed about.
But simultaneously, in that very moment of acknowledging my feelings, I chose to develop a long term relationship with MYSELF instead.
I chose to embrace the true woman I neglected to envelop for so long. I surrendered to the powerful woman I get to be; I chose vulnerability and began embracing what LOVE really is and what it meant for me. I wanted to move into the next phase of life. MY LIFE. A life where it didn’t matter if I was single or with the man of my dreams.
Embrace what your LIFE can become
A sense of freedom I had never experienced.
I chose to begin my real married LIFE. The life where I got to love everything my life is, without being in the relationship that society believed I should be in. Chasing life meant anything. For me it meant quitting my stable 7 year job to try on the unknown of accomplishing my dream of moving to California. Trusting it would work out and even if it didn’t I couldn’t fail anyway.
Life meant meeting new people, making new friends, and friends that felt like family. It meant become a woman of integrity and rekindling the fire inside me. It meant becoming a published writer and having my photographs featured in a New York City art gallery. It meant babysitting for my best friends baby and being the awesome aunt. It was discovering that the previous relationships I had with men were stepping stones, leading me to everything I now got to experience in life.
Life became forgiveness and gratitude. It meant closing doors on things that no longer served me, and opening up others where I had no idea where they would lead me. I no longer compartmentalized my life into things things that I couldn’t have because I didn’t have some-thing (e.g., a relationship, a husband, and kids), but about all the things I get to have simply because I say so.
Living a LIFE Fulfilled
Nothing about my life was boring. Because I chose that. And while my Facebook feed and Instagram scrolls were littered with wedding veils and baby announcements, I chose to document cross country voyages, and solo travel excursions. I wished I had done this long ago, but it didn’t really matter. I began to realize all I have is now. No matter what I have, it was enough, it always is enough.