After nearly four months of being desperately single I found myself dreaming about a high school boyfriend, and what would have come of us if I had loved him.
I realize that the issue wasn’t anything I could help, if you don’t love someone there’s nothing you can do. And yet I was still shaken by this dream.
The high school boyfriend was engaged to and living with a woman he seemed to care very much about. I was happy for him, I was just unhappy for myself.
I felt lonely. I wondered why relationships hadn’t worked for me, while everyone around me were in long term relationships, engaged, married, or even starting families. The people I had graduated with just a few years prior were buying houses and strollers. While I was spending ninety percent of my time cleaning and watching Sex and the City.
It wasn’t that I hadn’t met amazing men who cared for me, it was that I just couldn’t find what I was looking for in them. Even worse, I wasn’t sure what that was.
I brought this up to my mother one evening as we drove through the country to pick my brother up from a basketball game.
“I just feel like I’m going to be too old before I find what I’m looking for. I’ve been having these dreams about old boyfriends and what would have happened if I’d stuck with them. I know it isn’t just love I’m worried about, love and relationships are almost an allusion or metaphor for all the other things I’m worried about. What if my writing doesn’t work out and I never finished school so what will I do for work? I’m so worried about my future and career, I don’t even know where I am at this point.”
And my mother, in that way she does so well, surprised me when she said, “You’re in your early 20’s. You have no commitments, no kids, no real responsibilities, and no one pushing you to change that, except yourself. You can do whatever you want. The only way is up. From what I can see, it’s the ideal situation. Stop searching and waiting for the future. Enjoy today, and stop worrying about tomorrow. Cause the things you can control, you will. And the ones you can’t, you’ll deal.”
She was right, as she often is. I needed to enjoy where my life was. I had nothing tying me down, I could go anywhere or do anything. I could spend my time how I pleased without having to make time for another person. I wasn’t stuck in a relationship with doubts, or even a job that I couldn’t stand.
I had all the time in the world to write about everything and nothing and figure out what I did and didn’t want out of life.
Why keep rushing towards an uncertain future, when I had a safe and open present at my disposal?