It seems the mid-twenties are a time for engagements. I know I have said before that everyone is starting to get married, but I was lying. Now really EVERYONE is starting to get married. I am up to counting on three hands the numbers of friends that are engaged. It literally is someone new almost every week, and I know it is only going to keep going up because I have even more friends in very serious relationships. I think I have too many friends.
The thing is, I am genuinely happy for my friends. They all deserve happiness and companionship and someone to share their life with. I genuinely like all of their fiancés. Truly, no one is marrying someone evil or crazy. They are all good, solid people. I genuinely am not even jealous because I am not ready to be married. So on the surface there is nothing bad about any of these engagements.
But then there is this hole. There is this knot in the pit of my stomach that grows every time I learn someone new is engaged. There is this underlying sadness I feel amongst the happiness. There are always tears that I have to fight from surfacing when I find out someone new will walk down the aisle.
You know when you’re a kid, and everyone gets picked before you for a team on the playground? Or everyone gets invited to a party that you don’t get invited to? That feeling of being left behind you get when someone is experiencing something you aren’t? That is a feeling I can’t shake.
When you think about it, most of your childhood is on par with all of your friends. For the most part (in regards to all my close friends), you all move from grade to grade together. You get your drivers license together, go to dances together, graduate together, go to college together and get jobs together. Everyone completes the same steps around the same time but in their own, individual way. No one is left behind.
Relationships are not set up for everyone to be on the same step all the time. I get that. Some people have more friends than others; have more boyfriends/girlfriends than others. Some date for a long time before they get married while others are quickly moving to the next step. Some are serial monogamists while others only date someone serious every few years. Everyone is different. I know.
Still, even though I understand it and don’t question it or judge those or even compare myself to others, I can’t help but wonder: Will I ever get that? Is everyone else experiencing this wonderful thing that I will never get to experience? What am I missing out on? And more importantly…will I ever catch up?
I have had long conversations with my mother about the uncertainties of her mid-twenties and having to be ok with who you are and what your life will be. She, in the mid-1970’s, was considered “old” for not being married until she was 27, so what I am experiencing now is similar to her experiences. It has been nice that she relates to me so well in how I am feeling. And from my life experiences and talking with her, I know that not everyone’s life is the same. Everyone gets to each step differently. Happiness is the most important (and being married does not guarantee happiness). Your life is in your control for YOU to make the best of it. I know. I get it.
I also know that I have many years of weddings left. And they will be wonderful and fun and exciting. I will go to them all with a smile on my face and love in my heart for my amazing friends. But this knot. After the weddings fade and excitement dies down, will it ever dissipate?