Day Nine: Introspective
Betcha thought this one was gonna be “independent,” didn’t ya? I could have chosen that word, but I’m independent anyway, not just when I was single. Plus, I think that would be the expected word, and I’m not into doing the expected.
No, “introspective” is the word today. It’s kind of a meta-post, considering this whole series is introspective. But as you may have guessed if you’ve read previous posts, I spent a lot of time before Cory wondering when it would be my turn. My friends were getting married. When was it my turn? Girls who were in my mom’s eighth grade Sunday school class when I was a senior in high school were getting married. When was it my turn? Girls who had once despised the idea of marriage were getting married. When was it my turn? Girls who had their guys under their thumb were getting married. When was it my turn? People who had only dated one or two people were getting married. When was it my turn?
If you were to add up the number of hours I spent worrying about why I was in “last place,” formulating a plan of how I would choose a better guy or be a better girlfriend, brainstorming a Plan B if I ended up middle-aged and still single, you would probably be better off adding that time up in days rather than hours. I didn’t just dwell on it, I dwelt in it. I slept in it. I ate in it. I took showers in it. I had parties in it. I paid a mortgage in it. I got to know every crack in the floor and squeaky door hinge of that state of mind.
Please don’t hear that I was jealous of my married friends. I didn’t want their husband, or their house, or their dog, or their baby, or their wedding ring. What each of them has works for them, and I’m glad they found it when they did. I didn’t wish for it all to be taken away from them just because I felt miserable at the pity parties I routinely threw for myself. In this case, misery did not want company. Misery just wanted a transformation.
In full disclosure, perhaps I have been jealous of one thing, something I expressed to Cory the other day: I wish I could have known Cory sooner. That’s pretty simplistic, considering neither of us were likely truly ready for marriage before we met each other, and of course there’s the whole hangup with time travel that countless films and books have warned us about; but I’ve discovered that, in longing to be closer to Cory, I also long to know more about him, which seems to evolve into longing to have known him when he was in high school and college and in his twenties. Not because I wish I was there to change his life, but just because I love the stories he tells me about being a radio DJ, anchoring his high school’s newscast, working the night shift at a local motel, driving within 20 miles of anywhere in our home state of Kentucky, and so on. It’s almost like when you read a really good book and you wish those characters were tangible, or wish that place was your home.
At the same time, I realize that neither of us probably could have had the experiences we had if we’d come into each other’s life sooner. Still, I hope that my already married friends and acquaintances appreciate every day of every year they get to know their spouse. I am.
I certainly don’t look at my and Cory’s absence in the other’s life as lost time. We found each other when we were meant to find each other. Now we have just a few more stories to tell from our lives before.
And to my unmarried friends, some of whom I know personally who struggle with depressing introspection: I know you hear it all the time, but try not to waste another minute on worrying about your romantic future. This probably falls on deaf ears, because I know when I would read articles and blog posts like this, I just thought, “Oh, sure, it’s easy for her to say. She’s got everything she wants.” Please don’t read this as some self-important, rose-colored-glasses wearing, pompous engaged girl telling you just to do one little simple thing and your whole life will be better. All I can tell you is my experience, and my experience was just like yours. I’m not more special or more enlightened just because I have a diamond on my finger.
I probably aged my body and spirit by fretting over why I was still single, and I wish I hadn’t. All my worrying didn’t get me to Cory any faster. In fact, I stopped worrying altogether and decided I didn’t really care, and that’s when I met Cory. I’m not saying that happens to everybody, but it happened to me. It could happen to you, too. So maybe give up the introspection for a while.