There a lot of things I used to think about life, before I got too involved in living it. One of them was doing things in the right order was best – meet the guy, get married, have babies. In order, all in a neat little row.
Now, I was fortunate that it all worked out that way for me – I followed the prescribed narrative. Chris and I met, were friends for a while, dated for about 5 months, were engaged for just over a year, then got married. We never lived together before marriage, or even considered it. We took a full year to get used to being married before starting our family, and Abbie was born just before our two year anniversary. By those standards, we did everything the “right” way – date, marriage, baby.
But you know what? As I’ve gotten older and gotten to know more people and situations, I’ve found that the “right way” is a bunch of crap. It’s not a recipe for success, and it just doesn’t matter to anyone but yourself.
I know people that did everything in the complete “wrong” order. I know people who are single parents. I know people who were pregnant first, married afterward. I know people who bought houses together before they got married. I know committed couples who haven’t gotten married at all. I know couples that have decided not to have children. And you know what? It’s all fine. We don’t all have to follow the prescribed way of doing things.
I distinctly remember when I was pregnant with Abbie and my rings stopped fitting because I was so swollen… and I hated it. I hated it not only because I love wearing my rings, but because I was worried about what people I didn’t know would think. I didn’t want to be seen as the one doing things the “wrong” way. It’s so silly to look back on now.
I don’t know why I used to think it mattered so much. I think we’re taught a narrative, a story, as children so we can live up to that story. Is it ideal to have all your ducks in a nice little row? Of course. But it’s not real life. It isn’t how people truly live and love. It shouldn’t matter at all, and it certainly isn’t an indicator of how happy you’ll be.
Just my two cents for this Wednesday.