When I was 20, I imagined by the time I was 25, I’d be done with school, married and pregnant with my first child; and by 30 me and my little family would be happy and travelling the world. Little did I know, God had other plans. And subconsciously, so did I. For some reason I just thought it was the right order and age that things were supposed to happen. And deep down, it is what I wanted – eventually. I see the value in having a marriage and family; I believe it’s a great way to contribute to society. I don’t think it’s out of the cards for me, but it definitely didn’t happen within my timelines. If you want to know how things actually turned out in my 20s, keep on reading.
Let’s start here; Early-Mid 20s. I’m kind of over that stage where I broadcast my sexual preferences to prove a point that no one actually cares about; but I’ll mention it here for the sake of this topic. I used to consider myself bi, the stereotypical “greedy” type that would prefer to date both at the same time; I wasn’t really interested in one without the other. Weird. I know. And can you believe the audacity of my partners not wanting to take me seriously? For whatever reason, I thought it was fine and that I just needed to find two people that loved me enough to accept my conditions. My ex of 7 years put up with it for a while until he figured out that he deserved better. Good for him… Don’t get me wrong, I know there are plenty of people who have successfully mastered the art of convincing their partners to be okay with a non-monogamous relationship, but somewhere in the depth of my soul I knew that such a lifestyle was not going to work for me long term.
Late 20s, single and confidence at an all time high, I always kept this saying in my head “I’m a strong independent black woman; I don’t need anyone!” That actually stuck with me for most of my 20s. Then suddenly, I’m 27, I find myself living in some African woman’s home that I found on craigslist, crying hysterically in my room where the floors were flooded every time I came back from work. No, not flooded from my tears; the floors were actually flooded, like pipes had burst underneath the foundation near my room leaving about a half an inch of water covering the entire floor. It was awful. But the thought of moving again was more daunting, so I put up with it.
After my ex moved out of our shared condo, I decided that I wanted to leave West Orlando and move Downtown where I’d be surrounded by night life, shops and good restaurants; But in order to do this, I had to save money and build my credit. With that being said, I was overall grateful that my craigslist landlord opened her home to me; however, in those moments I realized that I didn’t want to have to be strong and independent, I was lonely, stressed and at a breaking point. I wanted a partner. Someone I could trust. Someone that would provide comfort. I made a list of 8 qualities I was looking for and I prayed.
So here comes 28, shit is starting to get really real. Why am I still single after 2.5 years? I’m smart, beautiful and totally capable of being an amazing girlfriend and wife.
After 3 months of being extremely uncomfortable, I moved into my bachelorette pad in the heart of downtown Orlando. I felt relieved. This was the first time in my life that I’ve lived alone. It was so liberating. I thought I was finally ready to settle down. I was comfortable, making a decent living, and finally enrolled in a degree program that sparked enough interest in me to be excited about finishing college. It seemed like the perfect time to find a mate and start my happily ever after. Sure enough, four months before graduation I met someone that blew me away. He was basically everything I had prayed for and everything I wrote on my list. It was almost too good to be true. I immediately told my bestie that he was the one. I knew it, I felt it, and I was willing to put away my childish desires to nurture this new experience.
Then, something interesting happened; My new boyfriend asked me a question that caught me a little off guard. He asked if I would rather have a successful career or a successful marriage. Without hesitation, I told him that marriage was most important to me. At least I thought it was at the time. I had been waiting for a genuine connection with someone as special as he was so the answer to his question was a no brainer.
God had answered my prayers and I just knew that there was nothing that could break this apart. About 9 months into our relationship, I began to study really hard for an important exam that was going to help me in my career advancement. I had become so obsessed with the idea of passing this exam on my first try, that everything else in my life was suddenly not important. After a small disagreement with my boyfriend, I had the opportunity choose whether I wanted to work through it and move forward in the relationship or call it quits to eliminate the distraction. Can you guess what I chose? Come on… take a wild guess. I told him I needed space to focus on my exam. To me, space meant 2 weeks. To him, you don’t take breaks, you break up. Apparently some people don’t believe in “needing space” in a relationship… who knew??
I ended the relationship – So here I am… 30 and, single again. Wondering why my feelings of wanting a traditional lifestyle are contradictory of my actions.
As I look back on the last 30 years, everything that I wished for had manifested in my life; but the feeling of always wanting more made me believe that I was always lacking something. I’ve made it a mission to start appreciating the present because it’s a gift and it’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. Thank God I have amazing parents. My mom always told me to go after the things I want and never doubt the power of faith and prayer. It took me 30 years to grasp this non-empirical concept but when I did realize it. . . wow, life changing. And sometimes doubt still clouds my brain but in those time I call my father, he’s such a wise old man and I like to believe that I’ve inherited his personality. In a recent conversation where I expressed worry to him, he stopped me and said, “don’t you know that the desires of your heart are already yours? You have to know it and believe it!” That simple statement completely changed my mind about everything.
Even though I thought I was supposed to have marriage and children before 30, my deepest desires during that time of my life did not align and I’m so grateful for finally realizing it. I started to think something was wrong with me lol. But nah.. I’m good. I have faith that my happily ever after is going to happen in the moment where my heart truly desires it the most.