Tag Archives: Life

Stepping Out

I just returned from Portland, Oregon yesterday, where I attended the World Domination Summit. I had planned to post about my experiences today, but while I did a good deal of writing, I’m going to hold onto it for a little while. It was an amazing weekend: interesting, insightful and really emotionally intense.

I am thrilled that I stepped out of my comfort zone to try something different.

This trip was a lot of firsts: my first time staying in a hostel (which housed quite a lot of conference-goers, adding to the overall experience) and my first time going to a personal development conference. It was also my first time with complete honesty and openness, making an effort to truly connect with someone at a level that made me twitch with discomfort but offered the reward of deepening a friendship that I truly cherish.

The weekend was all about connection for me, and learning to reach out for comfort when I need it, and not only when I want it. An intensely personal journey shared with many people and new friends.

I watched a person confess their deepest fears on a stage to 3,000, and saw a wheelchair-bound man fly. Truly amazing things can happen. 

“What if we treated a life like a memoir about to be written?” Donald Miller

Image

Advertisements

The Heart of the Matter

When I was 27, I was dating a guy for a few months when he asked if I had ever been married or engaged. I answered “no”. He looked at me and said, “What’s wrong with you?” Ouch. I felt that I had so much I wanted to do in my career, and I didn’t think I was ready to get married. And now, I was feeling somehow deficient. It hurt.

Fast forward fourteen years. Looking back now, I can see that I was in no way ready to be married at 27. Or at 37, for that matter. I have been doing a lot of soul-searching in the last few years to really get to know me; not the me that I presented to the world, and not the me that I thought I should be, but me. While knowing who you are isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for marriage, or even a successful union, I knew that it was important for me.

I’ve never had children, something that raises questions when I share that with people. Though no one has been tactless enough to ask me what’s wrong with me for not having children, I often feel that question in the conversation. Convention is to get married and have children, and I’m bucking the trend.

I can say that I never met the right guy, or that I didn’t want to do it alone, but the truth of the matter is that if I truly wanted children, I would have had them. I’m a very driven person. I did try fostering a teenager for a while, but that didn’t work and left me feeling that I just don’t have what it takes to be a mother. I’m not sure it’s true as being the mother of a teenager is hard. Being a mother to a teenager that you have only known for a couple of years is a commitment worthy of a saint. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that.

I’m also afraid I will feel like my mother, who felt trapped and forced to have children, even though she didn’t want to. As a small child, I understood this. When I got older, she shared this with me. It was really hard to hear my own mother say that she never wanted me. I never, ever want to make another person feel like that.

The truth is, that I simply wasn’t ready to get married, and to have children. And the bigger truth is that much as I love children, I don’t want to have them. There will always be a part of me that questions that statement: maybe I’m scared, or maybe I just didn’t have the right circumstances. And both may be true. Though my answer to the question, “Do you want to have children?” has flip-flopped through the years, my answer is now: no.

I do love being around children, though. I visit my nephews several times a year, volunteer with kids through Gabriel’s Angels (a non-profit pet therapy organization that works with children at risk) and with teens at Florence Crittenton, and love to see my friend’s kids. For me, that’s enough.Mason & Sawyer

So, when the teens that I volunteer with at Florence Crittenton were asking about my age a few weeks ago, I didn’t answer. Not because I’m unhappy with my age. Frankly, I find it kind of hard to believe that I’m actually 41 as I feel like I’m now growing up and finding me. And I love the self-confidence and self-sufficiency I now feel. But mostly, I changed the subject because their next question, in the tact that only a teenager can really get away with, would be, “What’s wrong with you?” And while I am comfortable with my age and single status, I still do get a little defensive when I feel I have to explain why I’m not following convention when it just doesn’t fit me.