“Dreams are lies. A waste of precious thoughts.”
I read that recently. I wish I could remember the source. All I know is that I did not come up with it myself, so I give credit to the person who did.
That line has been on my mind quite often these days. As I find myself at 31 years of age, single and childless, I am beginning to realize that I must come to terms with the reality that life has no guarantees. This means that I need to start imagining a different kind of future. One that does not involve a family.
Lest you think I have given up, dear reader, I will assure you that is not the case. I have not given up on what I want. Rather, I feel that it is disingenuous to go forth with the mindset that I will have the family I so dearly want someday. The sad, unfortunate truth about the universe is that it owes us nothing. The world does not stop turning when a heart breaks, or a child dies, or any other devastating event occurs. Life swiftly marches forward, and if we don’t keep up, it will leave us in the dust. It will do this no matter how desperately we want to grasp the clock and turn back the hands of time in an attempt to change the outcomes of our present.
I have been trying to imagine what my life could look like without a husband and children, and in doing so, I have had to ask myself the question of: “What makes me happy now, and what would make me happy in the future?” I brought this up in counseling today, and my therapist agreed that I am doing the right thing by imaging different possibilities for my future. She even straight up said: “Life has no guarantees.”
This brings me back to the opening line. “Dreams are lies. A waste of precious thoughts.” The heartbroken cynic in me agrees with this 100%. Why waste your brain space on dreams when the randomness of life will hit you with unpredictable events at a moment’s notice? Why bother to plan for a future that may never come to pass? It’s easy to dive into a sea of negativity and float out in its water like a sad, pale bitter melon. Are dreams just lies we tell ourselves about the future to make the present seem more bearable? When we think about future possibilities, are we just deluding ourselves into imaging a life that may never come to pass? The only thing certain about life is its unpredictability, so perhaps dreams really are just a waste of precious thoughts.
The truth is, that is even too dark and depressing for me. I may be a sad, pale bitter melon, but I want to hold on to whatever shred of hope remains in my psyche. I want to hold on to the dream that someday, tacked onto my refrigerator, will be the picture of me, hubby, and baby.
But in order for me to set a foundation for a healthy future, I cannot bank my entire life on that image. I have to make room for other ideas of happiness. Maybe I will never be a mom, but I could volunteer with kids. I may never have a honeymoon, but I can travel to amazing places anyway. I can try new things and surround myself with wonderful people and work towards making peace with that version of life.
Because when you are 31, single, childless, and female, you must make room for the possibility of a different kind of happiness. Especially when you self-sabotage relationships. I had to admit out loud today that I may end up alone, because if I don’t come to terms with that now, it will be all the more devastating to try and come to terms with that at 41, single, childless, and female.
Despite all of that, the deeper truth is that I am a fool for love, and will never stop looking or trying. I may end up doing this my entire life, being a sort of Johnny Castaway of love, hanging out on my island alone, just waiting for that opportunity to come along. I’ll dodge falling coconuts and hum loudly, and fall asleep just as the cruise ship sails by.
However, as I sit on my lonely island of one, I can’t help but wonder if maybe the question shouldn’t be “what else would make me happy” but rather “what is worth fighting for?” At this point, I’m not sure what to fight for anymore. I was recently in a relationship with a man who made me laugh every day, until things went to hell after I got pregnant. At this point, I just wish he were around to make me laugh again. Is that worth fighting for?
I have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that despite planning on being a family, we didn’t know each other very well. I heard that from him and from others. “How could it have been love? You didn’t know each other,” one person told me.
So, how do I reconcile the concept of us not knowing each other with the connection that I can’t seem to shake? Is that just the silly, rom-com loving, hopeless romantic dreamer inside of me, lying to myself? Do I just need to resign myself to the reality that I made that connection up in my mind, and let it go? Is this the desperate, lonely, 31 single childless female inside of me that doesn’t want to end up alone?
Or, is it something worth fighting for? Because the truth is, he is a good man. If he reads this, I’m sure he is shaking his head back and forth in disagreement. He stood by me during pregnancy, and only left when it all became too much- the grief, me pushing him away, his old demons… I know how overwhelming it was for me, so I can only imagine how overwhelming it was for him. And so I stand by my assertion. Nothing will ever convince me otherwise. He is a good man, and he is someone worth fighting for. It may not be me who does the fighting, but that won’t be because I didn’t want to, or because he doesn’t deserve it. The reasons will be entirely different, and much like my behavior during pregnancy, will be all about me, and nothing to do with him.
Only time will tell what I end up fighting for, and what my happy ending will look like. I do know this: I will continue to dream, and allow myself to utilize my precious thoughts on the idea of a happy future, no matter what comes to pass. Life may have no guarantees, and the universe may be moving forward without care or compassion, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up hope. It doesn’t mean I have to stop fighting, because I may not be fighting for love, but I will at least be fighting for myself.
Until next time ~ B