Most of us go through similar life stages. I don’t mean childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age, old age. I mean stuff like school, further study or training, career, dating, love, marriage, property buying, parenthood, grandparenthood, retirement.
So far I’ve done this: school, higher education, career, dating, love, singlehood, different career, dating, love, different career, singlehood. More or less.
I think I’ve just managed to create a career that I’ll be in until I stop working, but I don’t expect the singlehood-dating-love-singlehood cycle to come to any kind of life-long conclusion. I’m ok with that but it seems that many people are not ok with me being ok with that.
It gets tiring coming up against the disbelief of patronising people who assume that deep down I really want what they do. Maybe it’s because just about everyone else they know wants what they do: a job they don’t hate too much and that pays the bills, a (good) marriage, a house, some offspring. I know I’m simplifying but these seem to be the backbone of what most people want out of life.
Some of the things I want are: varied and fulfilling work, new experiences, connections with people, the freedom to work the way I want. I’m by no means anti-marriage or anti-children; they’re just not things I absolutely require from life. I love watching other people do them and being involved in their lives.
I only get attacks of caring about this when I fall into the trap of comparing myself to others. Luckily I don’t do that very often. When you stop and think about it, it doesn’t seem like a useful approach: I’m not other people and they’re not me so what possible benefit could there be in comparing us?
I think most people would agree that we all have the right to live our own lives. Sometimes I forget that being understood by everybody you meet is not a basic human right.
So then I get over myself, stop whinging and get back to the adventure of pursuing my own happiness.
Image credit: ‘Two Canals’ by MorBCN under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence