I never thought I’d settle down in my early twenties.
I never thought I’d own a house and be married at twenty-five. If I had told my short skirt, dream matte mousse wearing, sixteen-year-old self she wouldn’t have believed me. She probably would have been unimpressed that we fell for the out-dated path we were told to take, but we did.
The truth is I was never interested in marriage. I had never met someone I thought I could marry, let alone spend the rest of my life with. My parents were not married, and it didn’t seem important to them, so why would it be different for me. They always said “you don’t need a piece of paper to show someone you love them” which I thought was romantic. Not to mention when I was a teenager, I used to think that if they broke up at least they wouldn’t have to get divorced. Much less paperwork. However, I did like the idea of batting them off against one another to assist me in getting my own way.
Naturally, following suit of my parents and being exhausted by the thought of marriage and divorce I assumed I wouldn’t go there either.
Adding to the list of things I thought I would never do is own a house and settle in the same town I grew up. Like most I seemed to spend my time from the age of fourteen to nineteen dreaming of living anywhere but “this” town, where I couldn’t escape mistakes I’d made at school and where the pool of attractive men was about as shallow as the graves I planned to dig for one of two them. More to the point, I never thought I’d be able to afford to buy a home, but I also thought I’d never be wearing size twelve jeans. Things change.
Alas, here I am. Writing in our home, wrapped up warm on a rainy Tuesday afternoon wearing a wedding ring and a different surname than the one I once had.
It got me thinking (enter Carrie Bradshaw), I never dated in my twenties.
An entire decade of dating mishaps and sexual partners avoided. Meeting up with my best friends over a six-pound bottle of wine to discuss my hilarious dating faux pars has slipped from my grasp and I didn’t even notice. Having little to no responsibilities and comparing our last night’s conquests over brunch was gone. Tinder was only present in my life for short six months and I barely used it, I’ve never been on bumble or had a ‘real’ one night stand.
All the men I have slept with I’ve known, been fond of or loved.
Looking back, I’ve only been single for maybe a year in total from my first boyfriend Harry at fifteen to my last, Dan.
Feeling a pang of jealousy from a single friend chatting about their romantic first date is okay. Feeling a small pining for a late night texting session with a new love interest until you both fall asleep and the butterflies it brings with it, is fine too.
Letting your mind wander down a less trodden path, the one you didn’t take, isn’t something to feel guilty about. We are human and our minds will always wonder about the life we’re not leading, the one that someone else seems to be living so well.
I never thought I would settle down, even though I fully intended to keep having boyfriend after boyfriend as long as they’d have me. As I said, this was because I had never met someone that I could imagine myself settling down with, until I did.
You don’t realise you’ve ‘skipped a step’ until you sit there and find time has passed without your noticing and so has the twenties dating scene.
As I walk around our home, I’m comforted by the coffee mug I use every morning. Dans unusual number of grooming products piled high on his bedside table and his half of the bed with crumpled sheets that look like he only jumped out a few moments earlier. Toothbrushes standing uniform, side by side, as a reminder he will be still be there when the sun rises and sets. Looking at the life we’ve built together always washes over a sense that where I am is where I’m supposed to be. I love home, I love the small simple rituals we have included into our day without any intention to do so and I love the commitment we’ve made to one another.
This life I’ve chosen is right for me but it’s not for everyone and there’s no correct way of living your life no matter what others tell you.
We cannot have it all. I may never go on a first date again or kiss someone for the first time. I’m okay with that because I feel nothing means as much to me as the relationship we have, but there’s nothing wrong with wondering. There is no one right path to take, all that’s right is that you are committing yourself to doing what’s best for you and being truthful to how you feel.
Please know whatever stories you play out in your mind or those small moment of insecurity and doubt do not taint your relationship or mean you don’t love someone fully. It’s okay to let the mind wander. Controlling every one of your thoughts is quite impossible, especially if you’re a bit of a daydreamer like I am.
As I always say, you are not perfect, you’re not supposed to be.
Lots of love,