Tierra Encantada

Friday, February 24, 2006

Expectations Part 2

February 28, 2006

Birthdays are always a good time to take stock of one's life, review the past year's successes and failures, count one's blessings and set one's goals for the upcoming year. I guess that's where I am right now. I always had plans for an Expectations Part 2, but just hadn't gotten around to it.

When I was younger I always had pressure not to get involved in a relationship. I had to pursue my education and the world was before me just waiting for me to go out and conquer it. Being an overachiever with incredible focus, this wasn't a big deal. I knew what I wanted and was determined to get it.

I remember my first day of university and walking into the bookstore only to see Brides magazine at the doorway as I walked in. It came up during orientation activites on more than one occasion just how many married couples met in college. (My own parents met at college). I found it quite disconcerting. Why would people spend $25,000+ per year to go to college solely with the intent of finding a spouse? I was there to get the first class education that was going to make me financially and professionally successful, not to find a husband. Couple that with the fact that my grandmother told me before I left for school that I was going to end up like my mother, getting married without finishing college. She forgot the fact that they refused her any financial assistance after the first semester on the off chance that she might want to one day get married and her husband would take care of her. It was the 60s so you get the idea. She just didn't have the means to finish or the knowledge of how to go about getting financial aid. It wasn't her choice not finish. I was offended more about what she said about my mom than her expectations of me and became that much more deeply determined to stay focused. I made it through college in 4 years and without getting married or even having a real boyfriend for that matter. Sometimes I think about how different things might have been if I had been a different person at that time, if certain situations in my life had been different. I wonder if I missed out on an amazing guy, but really, there's no way to know.

Once out of college, the pressure to get married started to come from my culture, from co-workers and friends, from my family, except for my mom. She's always maintained that it should be a choice I make on my own terms, in my own time. :o) The change in attitude of people around me was confusing. First you say no, now you say yes?! Ugggghhhh. I spent so much time focusing on my studies, I never learned about functioning in a relationship. Well, that's not totally true - I did end up in a psychology class for my freshman seminar which dealt heavily with interpersonal relationships. It was too touchy-feely for my own comfort, but I did learn a lot about myself and how to resolve my interpersonal relationship issues. But still, reading books and controlled classroom exercises are a big leap away from the real world. I'm not very trusting by nature and like most people have had some experiences that I've never forgotten, things that completely changed me into the person I have become.

I've taken a lot of time to evaluate the root of my own dysfunction and fear of relationships and am happy to say I've worked through all the issues. My years of relationship avoidance have not been in vain! :o) I am truly more at peace and happier with every year that passes. I think being truly happy and at peace are elusive to most people. I know I've worked hard at it.

Still, I do get twinges, with the weddings and baby showers that pop up from time to time. My cousin's wife recently had their second child at the age of 35, by all standards on the cusp of high risk pregnancy age. I'm getting closer to that age and dare I say I hear the faint tick of my biological time clock?! My mother has resorted to calling my cocker spaniel, Dante, her grandson. lol I am comforted by the 62 year old woman that just gave birth, as controversial as that may be. lol

I am not one of those people that just inherently knows that marriage and motherhood are what I want. I certainly question my own selfishness, as in I love my life as it is, but I don't rule out the option. But more than the deep desire for marriage and/or motherhood, I have a deep curiosity of them. There is something wonderous about them. Sort of like before I visited Italy - it was mysterious and fascinating and I wanted to experience it for myself. After the trip, I was glad I visited and had the experience, good and bad, of visiting, but I was glad I didn't live there. And although I'd probably go back, I'd pick a different country to visit instead if given the option. I think there is also some fear of the unknown that tempers my enthusiasm and well as the fear that my expectations, my hopes will never measure up to the reality. I fear the disappointments of the experience will far outweigh the joys. However, the fear of regret works both ways.

I once had a horoscope that warned me not to get involved with anyone because no real man could compete with the one I had created in my head. If nothing else it has given me food for thought. lol I know that it is certainly true, but I like to think of this facelss man of my dreams as an ideal, a standard, made up of all the good qualities of men I've known in my lifetime. I don't expect perfection, but I certainly want the positives to outweigh the negatives and want the potential for more positives to develop. I think I have more empathy for men than 99% of women, so I don't feel like I'm being unreasonable in my expectations. I don't expect him to put the toilet seat down all the time or to be fearless in every situation or to have all the answers all the time or to make everything alright because somethings are beyond anyone's control. I feel like I understand men, most of the time their motivations are fairly clear cut, they're not a big mystery, unlike women whose motivations are much more complex and often conflicting. I'm a woman so I can say that right?! lol

I just want a rational means of evaluating any potential mate. People who just jump blindly into the fire drive me crazy. Their judgement is often clouded and they bring more grief and drama into their lives than necessary. If they had only taken some time to take a good look at the person and situation before they became entangled with them...I suppose on some level I would want fireworks, weak knees, and curled toes, but at the same time, that which is lasting and true needs to be grounded, rational. It needs to make sense on different levels.

Children are not so easy. Parenthood is certainly filled with joys and heartaches and the unexpected - you can try to be the best parent you can be, but your child will not always live up to the hopes you have for them and somehow you have to be okay with that and love them unconditionally, nonetheless. Sometimes they will excell beyond your wildest dreams and surprise you in the best ways you never imagined.

Perhaps my expectations, my ideals preclude me from marriage and motherhood or perhaps they are solid grounding. Maybe I really am my own worst enemy. For now though, I am content to yield my fate to faith and let what is meant to come to me, come in it's own time, but with my eyes open and my heart and mind more willing to see things that in that past I would have done my best to ignore. :o)


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