***caution: this post is a bit “deep”!!***
I often think back to a conversation me and my friend had in a café near Blackfriars when we compared notes on our life plan. It went something like this (we were 23 at the time):
- Work on our careers (I had planned to ‘make it’ as journalist by 25…)
- Marriage proposal at 26
- Get married at 28 and buy a house
- Start thinking about kids at around 30
We laughed when we realised our plans were exactly the same, and then even more so when we realised the man on the table next to ours had been eavesdropping our conversation and was staring us in disbelief. “Do the guys know about this?” he asked us.
The guys in question are the same ones we’re still with today, three years on. And about four months ago, my friend’s boyfriend proposed! I almost cried when she told me, I was so happy for her.
Soon after one of the Leaf’s close friends proposed to his girlfriend, and on Facebook it seemed as if engagements were being announced all over the place.
And then something strange happened. I started wondering whether I wanted to get married! (I don’t, by the way. Well, I’m not fussed about it right now).
I guess the thing I really like about the idea of getting married is the commitment, and the fact that someone loves you so much that they would be willing to commit to you like that. If we’re going to start analysing why I feel like this, I suppose it does come down to my insecurities and the need I have to feel wanted by somebody. And really, it is silly to want to get married simply because of that!
I think what also comes into is the feeling that people are further ahead than me. I also know that must sound ridiculous when it comes to relationships but I’ve never liked feeling like I am falling behind – much more so when it comes to careers though.
So thankfully I’m past wondering if marriage is for me as for a moment there I started seriously wondering if the Leaf and I were on the same page (I wouldn’t say he’s against marriage, but he’s certainly not pro-marriage!)
I guess a lot of people start questioning things in their life when it seems like everything is going hunky-dory for everyone else, but we have to be realistic about these things. I mean, would you really want your life to be exactly the same as everyone else’s, or would you prefer to do things your way?
And as I’ve got older (a line I never thought I’d come out with!), I’ve come to realise that comparing your life with other people’s can be a very dangerous game, because – let’s face it, there’s always someone who has got a better life than you. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of direction in your life, but sometimes making plans can lead to unnecessary disappointment.
I mean, say if I had ‘made it’ as a journalist aged 25 – but then when I got there it was my worst nightmare. If I stuck to my ‘plan’, I’d have to stick it out regardless, right?
Well, at 25 I did get my big break in journalism when I went to work for a regional newspaper as a trainee reporter. But once I was there I realised it wasn’t the kind of journalism I wanted to do. I stuck it out for six months and then I decided being happy was more important than my CV. So in some ways I am thankful my plan has gone a bit pear-shaped.
While I fully admit I do have my down days, like most people I guess, I think the key to feeling happier about myself is all about being rational and keeping things in perspective.
Ok, so I’ve had a rubbish day at work – and it’s only Monday. Surely it can only get better? I want to buy a house but I’m about £20k off having a deposit… For every £1 I save for my summer holiday, I should save the same for my new home. I feel like I’m miles away from getting that feature writer job I so badly want. Be patient, write when you can – good things come to those who wait.
I just think I have to remember that life really is what you make of it, and ticking off boxes from my life plan won’t necessarily make me any happier.