The older I get, the more it feels like our lives are broken up into various stages. From childhood to our mid-twenties, I think we are always progressing through some kind of phase. At least for me, it seems like I’ve always had one specific obstacle that stood out more than any others that I try to overcome. Then eventually I hurdle over that obstacle and in the next phase, I find myself grappling with a new predicament.
I’ve realized over the past year that I’m now in my “I feel like I missed out” or “my, how different my life has turned out to be than I thought it would” phase. I of course know rationally there’s no sense in dwelling on what could have beens or what weren’ts but I think to a certain extent, once you hit 30, it’s normal to have a little bit of this feeling, especially when your life doesn’t match up with the majority of others around you who are 30+.
We all have our own path and our own track. There’s no one right way or one mold for how each of our lives should look. But in a couple of ways, my life looks nothing like how I thought or wanted it to be at this age. I didn’t really want to be single as the number of potential mates seemed to dwindle away. I am of course happy most of the time about my singlehood but that doesn’t mean I don’t wonder if maybe I missed out some chances for happiness by having a relationship. If my insecurity left me so many missed opportunities and then later in life my own walls and fear of getting hurt left me invulnerable and too easily able to write someone off. I don’t want to be 40 and still wondering if I’m ever going to be in a relationship so at some point, I’m probably just going to resign to the fact it’s not going to happen (which is partially my own fault for not really wanting to try to find someone).
I had to find my own way in my own time but I still wish I could go back in time and tell myself to stop being so self-conscious. To not be so shy. If I had the confidence I do now, my life might have turned out so differently. I’ve talked about this before but people used to tell me over and over how the guys would be “lined up” when I got older because I was so pretty, etc. etc. There’s a pointed memory I have as I was getting my hair done for a friend’s wedding and her best friend was surprised to hear that I had never had a boyfriend because again, I was so pretty so she thought I would have had many boyfriends by that time. My response was “me too.” Not because I think I’m super gorgeous or something but when enough people tell you something like that, you start to expect that thing will happen. Because a bunch of adults certainly should know their stuff right? That’s just never how things went though. I never had boys lined up and I was never what you would call the girl guys picked. Again, that’s partially my fault because I was so shy and insecure, I was afraid to let anyone even see me or get to know me. I barely even spoke for most of my high school years.
I think the older I get, the more responsibility for my life I take, but the more blame I also put on myself. I could have done this differently. Why didn’t I give that a chance? Why was I so unable to love myself?
There’s nothing I can do about any of this other than go forward having learned a lot of valuable lessons, especially about myself. The only thing I can control are the choices I make now. Maybe my life doesn’t look how I expected, but I have no doubt there’s a reason for that. And it’s still a pretty great life.
Aging is hard. It is just a number, but when you live in a society that puts a lot of emphasis on physical looks and then on certain circumstances of your life that you’re “supposed” to have, it’s hard not to stumble and question sometimes. All we can do is use our backward to keep moving forward.