At 32, things aren't exactly as I thought they would be. It's been 7 and a half years since my last relationship. The last time I had more than 5 dates. I have no idea what kind of life I will lead, whether my expectations and hopes and dreams will ever come true. And sometimes this is hard to hear my heart say. Harder still to know it's true.
The expectation to couple up - not only in marriage and children and the traditional living happily ever after story we're told so often - but in everything. The grocery store. The mall. Cafes, bookstores, parks - the works. And friends are not always the answer. Friends who are themselves coupled. Or bitter.
No, that is not the way.
But there is comfort in little things. In realizing that time passes. That you will take classes, you will teach the job, your role will change - your role in the family, at work, in your friendship circle, even your role within yourself. And that is ok. You will work hard and play hard. You will do things and have feelings and outbursts that are unrecognizable even to you.
But these things are a reveling. And a reckoning.
There are days when it is too much, the ache to live the life seen around is so real. Weddings are especially acute. But so are days when friends' dreams come true. When my dreams are being realized by people I love - people so close to me. And there is solace. I read. Maybe once a month, maybe once a week. This article. It is a profound ache - one for which I've yet to find a suitable name. One that I know is real for me, and one that I know my dearly coupled friends simply do not, and at this point, cannot understand. It is so very real, the pain, the loneliness. The fear. The hope.
And so today, it's the little things:
* Buying a pair of jeans that make me feel sexy.
* Fish tacos with friends that make me want to dance.
* Taking myself on a movie date and discovering a film that makes my heart happy in the most unexpected of ways.
* Running to a park and swinging on swings and sliding down slides under a moon that is so bright, I cannot imagine how it does not wake the neighbors.
I may be alone. But I am not lonely. And I am grateful.