Do you have a life plan, or are you one of those people who decides to just see where things take you? Are you ticking things off on a list, or are you constantly re-evaluating what you want and need? As kids, many of us plan out our future life – e.g. school, college/university, job, marriage, house, kids – but then there comes a time when you start questioning that plan. But we all still need to know where we’re heading, right?
I have spent many years questioning the things I thought, as a child, were certainties in life. I knew I definitely wanted to go to university but, other than that, my little plan seemed to fall apart once I looked at it in more detail. Did I want children? Did I want to get married? Would my life partner be male? Would I only have one partner? All of the things I was sure that you had to do as a grown-up suddenly became the centre of years of pondering.
Once things started to become clearer, I realised that I now had more things marked off as “definitely not” or “unknown”, as opposed to “someday”. For a while, people would ask me if I wanted kids or if I thought I would ever get married, and the answer was always no. This made my friends start to think that I disapproved of such traditional things, which is really not the case. I know I’m not like everyone else, but… none of us is!
Some people love spending time with kids – helping them learn or playing daft childish games – but just don’t want to be a parent themselves. Some people think that others are far better equipped to take care of a small dependent human being 24-7, and so decide to be the fun friend or the awesome auntie instead. Just because someone doesn’t want to be a parent themselves, that doesn’t necessarily mean they hate kids or disapprove of others having babies.
I always saw it as a job I wasn’t qualified to do, but I’m really glad that other people apply for the role! I have some friends who are utterly amazing parents: the glamorous eco-mum whose space-cat skirt matched her baby’s bib; the adoring dad who spent hours being the tickle monster to entertain the kids at a friend’s wedding until he was utterly exhausted; and the awesome couple whose tiny little girl who showed me just why I wanted an iPad by being utterly brilliant with it. I could go on, but space here is limited.
It’s the same with marriage. Just because some folk don’t want to get hitched themselves, doesn’t necessarily mean that they think it’s wrong. I may occasionally ask people why they want to get married, but that’s because I’m genuinely interested. “Because we wanted to” is a perfectly valid reason. However, “because we’re at that age”, or “it’s what you do next, right?” make me wonder if the person I’ve asked is simply ticking things off on a list without giving it any thought.
Seeing other people continue to glow with happiness, years after the sound of the wedding bells has dissipated, is one of life’s great pleasures. When you know a couple are perfect for each other and they’re doing something they both want, it is a truly beautiful thing indeed.
Whatever you do in life, especially where romantic relationships are involved, you should try to only do things because you want to. Not because your parents want it. Not because your partner’s been nagging. Not because society says you should have done this thing by that age. Sit down and ask yourself if it’s right for you, and if you really want it at this point in your life.
If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then you will be happy and everyone else will be happy for you. Because it’s fine to have a life plan, just the same as it’s fine not to. Some people know for certain what they want from the start, and others don’t realise until they get there. We’re all different. However, you must make sure that whatever you do, you’re doing it for YOU. It’s your life, after all. Only you know what will truly make you happy.
This article was first published on BitchBuzz in 2011.