I am a 28-year old unmarried female living right in the Bible Belt of beautiful Oklahoma. I am, what some might call, a "Black Sheep.
Actually, I have been called that. A lot. Jokes have been made about how I let down my university by not getting married after graduation like 90% of the student body. People have asked me if the University has asked me to return my diploma because of this. I have introduced myself to a person, and their first question was "What was your maiden name??" I've overhead conversations about how unmarried women over 25 are basically "old maids." I started dating a guy, and when his friend found out how old I was, and that I'd never been married/divorced, he WARNED the guy, saying "Dude, if she's almost 30 and she hasn't already been married, something's wrong with her!" If I got out of or into a relationship faster than people expected, I'd hear the phrase "well, I guess she's just in a hurry to get married!"
Fun times all around!
But I wasn't frantically chasing down a bachelor, and I wasn't "unmarried" because I wasn't "marriage material." I could have gotten married right out of college if I wanted to, but my parents had given me one request before I put a ring on it. "After graduation, live on your own for 6 months."
That advice is marked in my "History of LJ" book as one of the biggest life-changing attitudes.
In the beginning of college I assumed I'd graduate with a marriage propspect locked down (after all, that's what all good Christian kids do right?) There were big-ticket things like debt, work and the future that I never bothered worrying about, because I figured "I'll be married during/right after college, so If I don't know what to do, I'm sure my husband will take care of it: If I don't find a self-sustaining job and make enough money, the husband will! If I can't cook or clean or I struggle with raising kids, the husband can cover those! I was already putting a lot of pressure and expectations on an invisible husband.
But after I agreed to my parent's request, my attitude shifted from one of dependency, to that of independency, and learning how to carry my own weight in the world. There were no more instances of "whatever I fall short of, the future husband will cover." Instead it became" I need to make serious choices to be able to live on my own means, and I need to learn not only how to live on my own, but live with joy and spirit, rather than one of waiting for "life" to happen.
So I graduated unengaged and moved out of my parent's house and began this thing called "adulthood." And I can say, without a doubt, the first 6 months of living on my own after college were some of the most life-changing and revealing things about my character. I was faced with scenarios, dilemmas and possibilties that I had no one but myself on call to decide what to do. Questions and answers like
- How important is my faith to me? What community does my faith thrive in?
- How do I spend my money, what things in life are worth the financial investment?
- Am I content with my choice of degree and my job? Do I want to look for a different job, or do I want to go back to school, or move forward?
- What do I want to accomplish in life? What things might I look back on and regret doing/not doing?
- What are my love languages? What traits are critical in a significant other? What things are deal-breakers?
I'd known of several seasons of life. The season of being a kid and depending on others for everything, the season of going to college and making lifelong friends, the season of falling in love and getting married, the season of starting and raising a family, the season of when any kids you may have had are gorwn and out on their own now. I thought I knew about all the seasons, but I never realized there could, even SHOULD be a season of just me, a season full of life-changing experienecs, of asking myself the hard questions and persevering until I had firm answers to those tough questions.
That is what I want to bring to those that read this. I want to share the knowledge I've gained along the way, display my successes and failures, but most importantly, I hope that the things I share, whether it's about love, heartbreak, success, failure, fear, courage, joy or grief, that somebody out there can take the little snuggets of wisdom and find new meaning and suprises in their own uniqueness and abilities.
Life will be unexpected, but we can determine how hard or easy those surprises will be by the attitude we develop, the faith that we hold onto, and the people we choose to have in our life.
Thank you so much for reading everybody, and welcome to my current season of life!