In my day to day life, I tend to pride myself on being on time. For job interviews I’m always 15 minutes early. Doctors appointments are the same way. I’m consistently in the parking lot at work 3 minutes before I’m supposed to be there. I hate feeling like I have to rush anywhere to be on time. And I REALLY hate being late. I avoid it at all costs.
It should be no wonder then, that watching friends and family grow up, get engaged, married and start families while I am still single, has been difficult for me. I always thought that my life would follow the same general course of events as my parents. I would meet a guy in college, get married and have kids by the time I was in my mid twenties. And now as I’m staring down the barrel of my 26th birthday and have only been in one (short) relationship in the last several years, I am met with mixed feelings. Because despite being on this journey of finding myself I’ve often felt like I’m running late. That my life isn’t where it is supposed to be. And while it may be foolish to think that I am running out of time, my mind inevitably goes there with every wedding invitation or baby announcement that comes in the mail.
And so, my feelings of running behind and missing out on life only add to the boy-crazy inherently in me and cause major problems. My mind tells me that I’m behind, that my life was supposed to be different, things weren’t supposed to happen this way. And I get frustrated and impatient and I want to make things happen before their time.
But none of this changes the fact that in 2010 the average age of women getting married was 26 years old. Obviously there is something in today’s culture that is hinting at (or maybe shoving me towards) my desire to settle down. And while that is a goal that I have for my future, I have decided that I am taking 2012 off. I am not worrying about things like that. My ‘break-up’ with boys is something that needs time to settle into my bones. I have to learn to be okay with just being me down to the core.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the reaction that I have gotten from people in my life since beginning this journey. Because even though I officially ‘started’ it only 2 days ago, I have been thinking and praying over it for about a month now. Everyone I have talked to has been amazingly supportive, but I have to admit- I was nervous about telling my parents.
On Saturday (New Years Eve) I went shopping with my mom. I got in the car and looked at her and said “I have something I have to tell you.” She got that nervous ‘uh oh’ look that I’m sure moms everywhere would recognize. I explained to her (with a little crying) that I was tired of being this girl who measures her worth based on what guys think. I told her about my reasons for wanting to do this and even though I knew she would support me in it, I was afraid to tell her. The ‘always waiting’ girl inside me was scared to talk about it. Because talking about it with Mom meant that it was real. I could tell anyone else and it would just be an idea, but Mom made it tangible. It went from being this far away ‘maybe’ of a thought to an actual plan, and that scared the crap out of me.
During the course of my conversation with my mom, she asked me one serious, thought provoking question. “Why a year?”
I have actually thought long and hard about that question since she and I talked. And here’s what I’ve come up with. A year is enough time to be a challenge, but also long enough to make it stick. It would be easy for me to say “I’m taking a month off.” Or even two months. But would I really see the changes that I want to see in myself? Will I really give myself the time I need to heal, to fix the broken pieces inside me and find a way back to the girl I could be? I don’t think I would.
But a year… 12 months, 366 days. It’s long enough to keep myself from making excuses (which I’m extremely good at). It’s long enough to see a change in myself. My goal isn’t to force myself away from guys. In fact, my goal has very little to do with men at all. On the contrary, it’s about learning to love myself. Learning to BE myself BY myself FOR myself. Men may come and go… but I’m stuck with myself for life. If there is anyone in this world I need to learn to love, it’s me.
And so, this is my great unveiling of my ‘bucket list’ for the year. Below is my list of 25 things that I want to accomplish before Dec 31, 2012. And the accomplishments are just for me. Through them, I hope to become the person I’m meant to be. And I hope to discover just how much that girl can be loved.
- Get and stay right with God. “In all your ways acknowledge Him.”
- Lose 25 lbs
- Get a tattoo
- Take a roadtrip
- Take a class (photography/cooking)
- Spend a day at the best spa you can afford
- Have photos taken of you that you actually like
- Evolve your look
- Finish story (I’ve been stuck in the middle of it for a year already)
- Build and stick to a budget
- Learn how to spend TIME wisely
- Buy yourself flowers, just because
- Invest in a Little Black Dress
- Buy something frivolous and expensive that you LOVE wearing.
- Host a girls-only night
- Purchase a decent piece of furniture not previously owned by a family member
- Dress up just because
- Plan a summer concert tour- even if it’s just a short one
- Be spontaneous (day, weekend, who knows!)
- Create. 2 craft projects a month
- Purge. Spring clean every room in the house.
- Yard Sale/Flea Markets on weekends. Give old things new life.
- Read. 2-3 books/month
- Take pictures. Everywhere.
I’m not claiming it will be easy. I’m not claiming it will always be fun (okay, the spa thing will be fun), but it is something that is necessary. There’s a lot of year left and huge list of things to do!