Going through the notions

Going through the notions


by Katie Goddeyne

I think it’s safe to say most of us have preconceived notions of how our lives will turn out.

Some people grow up dreaming of becoming star athletes, others of successful careers, many of making families to call their own.

If you’re part of the minority and are unfathomably lucky, you can have all three. The rest of us have to learn to adapt and readjust our expectations and our dreams, which is sometimes easier said than done.

My birthday is coming up. I’ll be 27 on January 26. My golden birthday was last year, so it’s all downhill from here.

I imagine a handful of readers scoffed at that last sentence. Because, if I’m only 27, I have plenty of time left, right? I’ll have to adapt and readjust more times than I ever imagined, right? I’ve only just begun, so I’ve no idea of the pressure to finish my unfinished business, right?

Let me begin my pointing out, I did write that sentence while sporting a bit of a smirk. But I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any truth to it, at least in my world. Twenty-seven will be the oldest I’ve ever been and tacking on the extra year honestly, and not so eloquently put, freaks me out a bit. 

Someday, if I’m lucky, I’ll be rolling my eyes at someone who hasn’t even hit the dirty thirty. I’ll laugh at his or her naivety. But today, as I creep closer to ringing in my third decade or life, I can’t help but wiggle uncomfortably in my chair while thinking of the ways I haven’t measured up to the person I once thought I’d be.

Don’t get me wrong, I like who I am. I’m proud of myself and all that jazz, and there are so many wonderful things and people in my life. I enjoy going to work every day. I have sisters that would do anything for me. I have friends who laugh with me and celebrate my wins, but that doesn’t change the fact that I haven’t met some of the expectations I had about being 27.

For instance, I’m not married. I’m not even in a relationship.  My parents were high school sweethearts, married before my mother could legally partake in a cocktail. I never had any intention of marrying someone before I turned 21. But I did imagine I’d be married by now – by three or four years ago even.

And yet, here I am without a husband or a boyfriend or even a date for this Friday night. It’s difficult to avoid the fact that I’m falling behind what I perceived to be the laws of societal norms for much of my life.

I also have no children. There aren’t any little Katies running, or rather stumbling, around this earth. Who knows? Maybe there won’t ever be any little Katies.

The fact that I’m childless doesn’t usually bother me. I enjoy my freedom. I like being able to do whatever I like at the drop of a hat and eating dinner at 10 p.m. if the day calls for it.

I also think I’d like having a little family of my own. I think I’d like teaching a tiny human how to go out into the world and how to find a way to be happy while doing so.

Social media isn’t especially helpful when it comes to checking things off of your list of expectations. Every engagement photo, every pregnancy announcement, every new-home purchase piles on the pressure. A little voice in my head seems to go up a pitch, becoming more and more horrified that she is falling behind and running out of time.

I do my best to quiet her. What does she know, anyway?

My goal for my 27th year is to go forward notionless and hopeful. It isn’t like my notions make much of a difference, anyway.

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