Family. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. You see, recently, I found out that a person I really care about a lot, a person that I thought might be my soulmate, well, that it wasn’t going to happen with him. At least not right now. And I was crushed. That’s never an easy thing to reconcile in your head and heart, but its even more difficult when you’re 45, still single, and all you’ve ever wanted was a family of your own. But like the good way, not the bullshit way where you settle to meet a societal deadline. If all I wanted was a warm body I could call my husband, I could’ve had that years ago. But I want more than that. I want someone I connect with on every level: intellectually, emotionally, physically. I want someone who laughs at my stupid jokes and gets all my movie quotes. Someone who understands the pain of my past because they have pain in their past too, and has the character that only comes from overcoming it. Someone who is the same kind of weird as me. You know, a soulmate.
But soulmates are rare. They don’t grow on trees, and you rarely find them by throwing the net out into the online dating world. Because soulmates are placed in your path by God. There’s nothing you can do to speed up the process of finding a soulmate. So I sit, and I wait. And at 45 I look ahead and I start to see the possibilities dropping off. The possibility that I might have a child of my own gets smaller and smaller each day that goes by. The possibility of that family of my own, diminishing every day.
I saw a meme the other day that read, “dating in your 30’s is like going thrift shopping but for human beings.” You should try it in your 40’s, I thought. CLEARANCE thrift shopping. It’s the sad truth: those of us who chose to wait for The One are sorting through a clearance bin of dirty unmatched socks while our soulmates are off probably married to someone else because they couldn’t be alone for long enough to find us.
Every day I go out into the world and have to face the fact that “I don’t belong.” I’m not “one of them.” I was in a Pottery Barn Kids the other day (because they have amazing pink draperies) and there were three different couples in the store, all bickering over airplanes or monkey sheets, or how much money was acceptable to spend on a pillow, just being toxic and nasty to each other. And I thought, is that what I have to be to find a relationship? Toxic and mean? Is there anyone out there who doesn’t want that, who wants someone with a kind heart who doesn’t take them for granted? Can someone with a kind heart ever find love? And why do these couples who are so awful to each other in public that I can only imagine how toxic they are at home, get a life partner when I have to cry myself to sleep every night while my dog licks my tears away? ITS. NOT. FAIR. And I started crying right there in the middle of a Pottery Barn Kids. So, apparently THAT’S a thing I do now.
I am sure there are a lot of people out there who assume my life (or the life of any single person over 30 for that matter) is easy. No family, no responsibilities, it must just be all frivolous fun. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I shot this series over Valentines Day weekend on a girl date with Sarah, aka my “straight wife” (because regardless of when / if either of us gets married, she and I will be spending the rest of our lives together, we decided). We had both set up this date earlier in January, knowing it would take a “swift miracle” for either of us to be in a relationship by Valentines Day. She’s also my only un-coupled friend, and therefore has the most time to spend with me.
I have to laugh when people assume that because I’m not married, I must just be out partying with my friends all the time, because getting everyone together with our adult work schedules and commitments to their partners usually requires an Act of Congress. So no. No partying and constant fun. My typical Friday nights are spent at home alone with my dog, and weekends, if friends’ schedules permit, a day at Disney, then back home to cry myself to sleep after having to watch couples get engaged in front of Cinderella Castle all day.
Family means a lot of different things to different people, but to me it means the people I choose to have in my life because I know they’ll always have my back. Those kinds of people are rare and don’t always come in the form of a romantic partner. So the next time a single person tells you they’re spending time with their friends, remember that they go home to an empty house every night, so those rare times that they can be with their chosen family are just as important to them as your actual family is to you. And as for this man, this apparent soulmate, “what’s meant for me shall not pass me.” And so I wait.