A year ago, I blogged about how I moved past hating Valentine’s Day. At this point, I actually kind of like it because it gives me an excuse to spoil myself—and as an introvert, I have always enjoyed the pleasure of my own company, so I take whatever excuses I can. But as I’m another year older and single for another year, I have to admit that I’m reflecting on some things.
Now, before I say anything more, I want to note that this is not a woe-is-me-I’m-single post. It’s not an OMG-my-significant-other-RAWKS! post, either. (By the way, those two things are equally annoying, so basically, everyone should just shut up about their relationship statuses.) But it is a musing on getting older and how I find myself looking at the future differently in my late twenties than I did in my early twenties.
You notice my bucket list here? Lots of fun stuff on it—skydiving, mountain climbing, and some stuff that isn’t in a Tim McGraw song, like owning a boat, recording a song, and being a bestselling author. I also have my list of travel goals that I hope to make some progress on over the next couple of years.
But the truth is, I would give up every other item on both of those lists if it meant that I could have only these three:
- Fall in love with an awesome guy who loves me back, have a wonderful wedding, and stay happily married for the rest of our lives
- Have at least two kids
- Own a house in the Boston suburbs
That’s it. Those are the things I want the most out of life. They are not extraordinary things. They’re things that millions of people manage to do without much trouble. And yet, for me, they might be the hardest items on my bucket list to accomplish. Let’s take a look at them.
Not only have I never been in a relationship, I have never been in love. So my heart has never been broken, but I also do not know what romantic love feels like. And as easy as it is to get cynical and think that real love doesn’t exist or that all relationships will end, I know that’s not true. I know people who are really, truly in love and will be together for the rest of their lives. And I always think of my paternal grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression and World War II and who were happily married for sixty-six years until my grandfather’s death. Real love happens, but it has never happened to me, and more than anything, I want to find someone with whom to spend every day for the rest of my life.
I also want at least two kids. The challenge here is accomplishing the part before that, love and marriage, in time to make that happen. It’s very hard to get pregnant without fertility treatments after age thirty-five or so. If I met a guy tomorrow, I’d have to date him for at least two years before I’d consider getting engaged. Then we’d be engaged for about another year and have at least a year or two of being married and childless before having our first kid, which would make me a first-time mother at about age thirty-two. Which is fine, but remember, this would be the absolute earliest. I’d consider adoption in the future as well, but even if I were to adopt, I wouldn’t want to be too old when becoming a parent.
The side effect of wanting kids so badly is that it has made me pickier about whom I’m attracted to. When I look at dating sites, I end up thinking things like, “Is his career stable? Does he seem mature enough to be a good father? Does he value the same kinds of things that I do?” I just feel like I can’t waste time with someone if I can’t see a long-term future with him.
The other reason I want to find someone who is mature and financially stable is because of the third thing I want: owning a house in the Boston suburbs. Specifically, a house that is on enough land to be more private than living in the city and has at least three bedrooms and a backyard. And a house that is located in a Boston suburb that is on the commuter rail and has a good school system. And, the hardest part, a house that my hypothetical future husband and I can afford.
Now, I am pretty good at saving money. Despite paying a lot in rent and earning the first word of my blog title by working in a not-so-lucrative industry, I have managed to save a decent amount. And one of the reasons I was so excited to become a sales rep was because if I make my number, I get a much bigger bonus than I used to get. But even so, the Boston suburbs are ridiculously expensive, even if you’re just looking for a modest three-bedroom house, and it will take me a long time to save enough money for a down payment. What if I can’t meet a guy who can afford to help me buy a house?
What do you guys think? Have you found your priorities changing as you get older? What do you want the most out of life, and do you worry about how you may never achieve it?