Ever heard the saying “we plan and God laughs”? Pretty sure I embody that saying and all it's implications.
I’ve always been the kind of girl who likes to plan things out. Like, lay me out a timeline, give me a run of show and I’m one happy camper. I can’t begin to explain the kind of joy I feel when I can check a task off one of my to-do lists, and when it comes to laying things out in an excel document? Oh, that’s like giving me the keys to heaven. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. In fact, when I was a naïve young girl I mapped out a plan for my life that, at the time, seemed fool proof:
Go to a very prestigious university in California where I would play basketball. Graduate by 23.
Get a really good job. Rise to the top quickly.
Get married by 25.
Own a home by 28.
Have kids by 30.
Insert God’s laughter.
I find myself at the tail end of 31 without many of these boxes checked.
Kyle and I are about 2-3 years from even being ready to buy a home.
We are at least 2 years from getting married (a wedding we will be paying for ourselves which is another post for another day), and kids? Yeah that's not happening for at least 5 years.
Nine of my friends are having babies this year. Nine. That's the entire starting lineup of a basketball team with four substitutes. Three of my friends got engaged this year.....two are getting married before the year is over. About 90% of my friends own a home, or are in the process of buying one. It feels like all of them have their shit together and I'm over here trying to not to spend more than $100 at Trader Joe's each week.
I have to admit; lately I’ve felt really behind when compared to my friends. I feel like I’m the last one in the race who holds everyone up as they struggle to cross the finish line. Sometimes it’s hard to hear them talking about babies when I realize that by the time I have a baby, their babies could babysit my baby. Sometimes it’s hard to stay in a friend’s guest room, knowing all I have to offer them if they come to my house is an air mattress on the floor or a spot on the couch.
Often, in those moments when I’m green with envy, I remind myself that life is not boxes to be checked or milestones to hit. Life is journey; one that we are all on, but experiencing in different ways. My journey has lead me in a very different direction than what I planned for as a little girl, but when I think about all the experiences I’ve had, all the lessons I’ve learned and the person I’ve become those milestones become less important. I’m learning to feel lucky to have friends that want to stay with me, rather than worry about the kind of bed they sleep on. I’m learning that being “Auntie Ashten” is almost just as fun as being a mom and that my relationship with Kyle is just as sacred now as it will be when I get to call him my husband.
Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell that naïve little Ashten that life is not meant to be planned: it’s meant to be experienced to the fullest. That we are meant to find the people who we are meant to do the journey with, not worry about the plan, because life just kind of figures itself out. And isn’t it more fun that way? I mean, if you’re not a Type A planner who thrives in spreadsheets and timelines? Or even if you are?