They say “Write your own Story”. I agree with the intention certainly, but I question whether it’s all up to us or not. It’s a beautiful idea, deciding how your own life will go. But it’s never gone how you imagined, has it? Or has it?
Looking back, I can see how my vision evolved, as I evolved, and by taking certain steps, I ended up down alternative paths. The journey isn’t over yet, but I have some hindsight, and not only is God laughing at my plans, I’m chuckling over some of the original blueprints as well.
In college and early 20s, getting married at 26 and kids at 28 seemed totally reasonable and part of the plan. I figured I’d work for a fashion magazine or do something in advertising. (At that time, I didn’t know what “advertising sales” was. “Wait, someone actually sells the space where that perfume ad goes??”)
By my mid 20s, that plan seemed childish and naïve. My new narrative was all about becoming a high-powered network executive. Marriage and kids (plural) could be part of the storyline in my 30s. I set my sights on becoming an Advertising Sales Account Executive by 28 (which I did! BOOM) and maybe I’d run a network or a studio in my 40s. People in their 40s seemed unfathomable (and grown up, and responsible, and world weary) when I was 26.
Now here I am, 42, and unmarried, running my own coaching & consulting business, with one child. That narrative of married with 2 kids and a sleek corner office doesn’t fit me any more than being married at 26, kids at 28, did.
And I’d always assumed I’d have 2-3 kids. I am one of four, and that felt “normal” to me. I believed all the negative storylines about only children; they are lonely, they are selfish, etc. And here I am, 2 years after giving birth to the loveliest little angel girl, and I feel absolutely no drive to have another. It surprised the hell out of me. And sure, I could use the excuse of ‘old age’, but if you know me, you know that if I want something, I go after it with everything I’ve got. 42 isn’t too late. There’s IUI, there’s IVF, there’s surrogates, there’s adoption. It’s all available, if you’ve got the resources, the desire, and the emotional stomach for it. It blindsided me that I don’t have the desire. It doesn’t feel like a biological imperative. In fact, it feels 100% natural & authentic to have only one child. And give her all the love and affection I’ve got. It’s enough. It’s just right. And once again, it doesn’t fit into the narrative I wrote for myself all those years ago.
Should we stop planning, dreaming, hoping? Nah. But make it a story with several “choose your own adventure” alterative endings. Allow in the “what if’s” and the “maybe not’s” because the life you live can be more fulfilling and more magical than any story you’ve spun years ago.