I got married the first time because it was expected that I would when I reached a certain age. It was a lousy match, and ended in divorce — for good reasons. (I got two wonderful kids from that marriage and I don’t regret it at all, but it wasn’t exactly my choice — more a matter of the path of least resistance.)
I gave up a good chunk of my life because it was “understood” that I would be the one to take care of my caregivers in their old age, so I stuck around the neighborhood instead of pursuing job offers that would have taken me elsewhere. Then I became a raging alcoholic and didn’t do so well at it anyway — in fact, I screwed it up royally. Occasionally I wonder if there wasn’t a hidden resentment at work there. I’ll probably never know.
Sometimes we have false goals: “I have to be married with a child before I’m 30, or I’m never going to be happy”; “I have to be married with a family in order to be fulfilled”; I have to get my medical-law-engineering-you-name-it degree” (when what I really want to do is have my own flower shop).
Are these our goals and ambitions, or are we trying to fulfill someone else’s dreams? Do we owe those people the rest of our lives?
If our life choices don’t seem to fit comfortably, perhaps it’s time to take new measurements, before it’s too late. The world needs its flower shops, too.