I feel like I should have had certain goals for my youth which I have not yet achieved, and really, I'm not sure I want to have achieved them yet. I am perfectly fine with living my life.
But I'm at this age where, on average once a week or once a fortnight, I learn of another friend who has met the love of her life, or proposed to his girlfriend, or is pregnant with their first child, or something equally moving-on-ish.
I don't want to begrudge them their joy, but I am not moving on and I miss them.
Do I wish I'd met the love of my life and set a date for wedding bells? Do I yearn to hold my own baby in my arms? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, but I almost inevitably feel some degree of peace and confidence that those things are not for today. But every time I get news of a friend hitting these life changes, all of a sudden I feel that longing, even while I know that it's not for the right reasons.
This week, there was one day where I felt perfectly content with taking transition slowly, and figuring out, one day at a time, what I was to do, so much so that I didn't want to talk to anyone at all. Then the next day, I received one of these bits of news and my entire emotional state was reversed. I imagine I should land somewhere in between: never complacent but always content.
It's funny, really, because I think I have a reputation as a person who moves fast, who jumps into change and transition quickly. To some extent I agree: once I've made up my mind about something I don't see the point in faffing around in preparation. So yes, it's true, that I put an offer on the 6th house I viewed, only a day after I'd started viewing properties. It's true that more times than my loved ones care to count, I've called up a brother or an uncle or a parents and said I'd be moving back from Timbuktu and arriving in two days' time, could I please crash at their place for a coule of days/weeks.
But these are the little things. And my loved ones also know that I've been studying listings and even had an estate agent on the hunt for my perfect flat, for several years already. They know that I was applying for jobs for two years before accepting the job which had me floating around the world as if I was driving from Manhattan to Brooklyn to Staten Island every day. It takes me a while to be ready for the change, but once I'm ready I'm ready.
One thing I know is that life is about the journey. I've learned several languages, obtained several academic qualifications, and done pretty well at work. These were the doors that opened for me, and so I walked through them. I don't regret them. What I do regret is that life would...not...stop long enough for me to enjoy those experiences and still have time for living the rest of life. I struggle with the fact that now that I'm back on solid ground for a while, the people I used to jaunt and scavenge and dream with, now have spouses and children and homes of their own. They are still my friends and I dearly love them, but their lives have moved on and mine has not. Yes, I suppose it's true that I walked away for a while, but while I was gone, that relational-hole in their lives has been filled up by others and there's not the same kind of space there once was for me. (Perhaps as a parallel, I could say that I haven't filled my hole, I just threw a lid over it.)
The other day, a friend was commenting about how women need to be careful because our childbearing years don't last forever. Sadly, this is true, but it honestly doesn't bother me so much for the sake of myself, as it does for the sake of the fact that if I do someday have kids, they'll be so much younger than my best friends' kids and than their cousins. I know I can't ask everyone else to stop living while I savour today's adventure, but sometimes I really, really wish I could.