Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The trees that grow slower bear the greatest fruit

Current mood: Carefree
Current song: ELO - Mr. Blue Sky

In case you were wondering, yes this is the same blog. I'm the kind of person who likes change, and can't stand for things to be the same for too long. That's why I rearrange my room every year, why I change wallets every time I go to Target, and why my desktop background rotates between my hawaii pictures every 60 seconds.

So it seemed only a matter of time before I changed around the colors and design of my blog. I will probably start doing so every few months, so prepare for a new look pretty frequently. If my last theme was "across the day sky," consider this one "across the night sky."

Now, onto today's topic; life. Yes I know that's pretty broad. More specifically, I've been thinking lately about the speed of life's development, and how that varies greatly between everyone. Here's the average life course, as dictated by american society, in a gist: graduate from high school, move out of your parents' home and go to college, get a good job and find your soulmate, buy a house, get married and have a bunch of kids, work towards retirement, retire in a new home visited by grandkids every holiday. This is basically the order of things, and there is a certain timeframe in which each step is expected to be accomplished.

Of course, being a freethinking sociologist/borderline feminist, who hates the word normal and tries to break as many societal norms as possible... I find this to be a load of crap. Not the list itself, but the expectation that you *must* complete everything in the list, in order, in a certain amount of time, to be deemed socially acceptable.

The great thing about people however, is that even though society has this particular list for us to follow, everyone goes out and creates their own list anyway. Some people start their dream careers straight out of school, others go back and pursue their passion much later in life. Some women have children at 18, some women have them at 40. Sometimes marriage happens immediately, other times it never happens, and others it happens 4 or 5 times. None of these paths are right or wrong. Even when someone feels their life hasn't gone quite the way they planned, they shouldn't let that get them down. Every choice we make leads to something, and whether it's good or bad, it makes us who we are and we learn from it. And there is always time to go back and change the list around. The point is, you can't make concrete life plans. Even if you've made your own life list, don't let society dictate what that is. And be prepared to be flexible, because things can change at the drop of a hat.

Now, that list I mentioned above, the one that society deems acceptable, is actually the list I want for my own life as well. However, I don't plan on doing it within the "normal" timeframe, and I've already gone out of order with moving out of my mom's house. I've been living at home all through college, and as of right now, I plan to stick with my mom while going to law school as well. Being 25 - 26 and still living at home may seem pretty late, but I actually have many friends at college who are still at home. In fact, ironically enough, the *new* norm is for college students to do exactly that, hence why medical insurance for young adults on their parents' plan have been increased until the age of 26.

So my life list has gone in the order of college, job, THEN move out, and I am completely okay with that. But something that had been bugging me up until recently was the whole marriage thing. I have a ton of friends who are getting married soon, or who have been in long term relationships and who are already having kids.. and it really started grabbing at me. I began to feel self conscious, like the fact that I couldn't hold onto a relationship for more than a couple years, or that I certainly wouldn't be having kids anytime soon, meant that I wasn't planning my life correctly.

But then I started looking more closely at the individual cases of these soon to be married couples, and I realized that each situation was completely different. Some of the couples are my age, some are in their very early 20's, and another couple I know didn't get around to it till their early 30's. And on top of my many friends who are getting married, I know even more who have been completely single through their mid-twenties, still not experiencing a relationship or any physical intimacy even during their entire college careers.

The concept of life course norms are pretty ridiculous to begin with. During my grandmother's generation, families began early and they grew big. During my mother's generation, women waited until their late 20's to have kids and had only about 1 or 2. Most of my friends are only children or have just one sibling. Now during my generation, it seems to have reversed again, where couples are having large families early on again.

As for me, I'm between start and finish in terms of relationships. I've been dating for about 5 years and have gone out with a wide variety of guys. I've had both casual dates and long term relationships, I've been physically intimate and overall experienced in almost every facet of dating life. The only thing I haven't done yet is live with a man or get married. So really, I fall right in the middle of the two paths, between no experience and the end result of marriage, and I'm between the two average ages where women are having kids nowadays. Which seems pretty "normal" to me.

Even so, if it takes me till I'm 35 to get married and start having kids, then that's a-ok with me. I'm no longer going to worry about if and when I'm getting married, or if and when I'm having kids, or if and when I will retire in that nice little country home with grandkids all at my feet. I'm enjoying living my life in the moment, taking things one day at a time. My future life list is just that; my future. Right now, life is pretty great just as it is, and seems to me that it can only get better.

I may be a slow growing tree, but I will be bearing some mighty fine fruit one day.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the new design!!!

    You bring up some fabulous points here Lili! I agree with you wholeheartedly. The "typical" American dream blah blah blah is such a joke. I started down that path and got pretty far in before I realized it wasn't for me. It's sad how stuck in their ways people can get.