The Truth Is, The Holidays Are A Harsh Reminder That I Am Not Where I Want To Be In Life
There aren’t many conversations that I have with my all-knowing, wise mother that leaves her speechless. She is always able to offer some anecdote or bible verse that seems to soothe my worries and calm my fears.
But when I found myself overwhelmed the other day, with the desire to start a family and have a home with no means to do it, she sat quietly on the other end of the phone line and just listened.
“Mama at 30, you were married and owned a home. I don’t have those things. I don’t even know how to start to have those things. I did everything I was supposed to do.” I told her, frustrated. There was nothing she could say. It was the truth.
I have become so grateful for the little New York group of friends I have amassed over my seven years in this city. They have been a source of comfort, laughter and companionship throughout this wild ride, and I don’t know where I would be without their light.
But now that I am at almost thirty, I find myself craving connection beyond my friendships. I want my family. I want to create a family.
Many young professionals, like myself, who live far away from their actual families, share in potluck “Friendsgiving” traditions that offer us a cozy space, delicious food, and a home away from home. When I first moved to NYC I looked forward to these days to keep my mind off of not being able to share the holidays with my loved ones back in Cincinnati.
But this year I was suddenly resistant to them. Not because the dynamics have changed–they are still the fun turn up and throw downs that they’ve always been. But something about them felt like not enough. It felt like settling. I want to create a home. I want to be home. I want to deck my own halls and make a plate for my hubby in our house. I want to snuggle by the fire while a baby coos in my lap. I want to create Christmas tree decorating traditions while The Temptations Holiday album blasts in the background.
These fantasies are a long way away from the small, box apartment I share with my little sister in Brooklyn. And yes, I know that the above dream montage comes with financial and time sacrifices all their own, but it’s frustrating to not even know how to begin to work towards that part of my life.
It’s difficult to look at my bank account and have no idea how I can build a life for myself beyond this. Yes, I have achieved many of my wildest dreams. I’ve done all the schooling. I’ve traveled around the world. But all of my striving, at the end of the day, wasn’t just for myself and to say “I did it!” It was to provide for, care for and love a family.
It’s hard to admit these things because it comes across ungrateful. Some people don’t even have friends to call their own in this city, and some people don’t even have homes to return to. But part of my growth as a woman means being honest with myself, in whatever form that comes in, so that’s why I’m writing this today.
I was chatting with three of my girlfriends today from all around the world, one lives in Los Angeles, one lives in Bali, and the other lives in Philly. At some point in our conversations we chatted about how frustrating it is that in order to survive, we’ve had to lead lives so separate from our loved ones. It feels unnatural. We are ancestrally tribal and forced to do it relatively all alone. Something seems off about that, and I haven’t found the way to solve it yet.
So for any woman reading this, with her head nodding in agreement, I see you. It’s okay to want what you want. Cherish what you have and be grateful for the people who are around you, but it’s okay to acknowledge there is more in your heart you desire–especially when it comes to family during these holiday months.
We weren’t meant to do these big career lives alone, and in the space between this moment and the moment when you have all that you yearn for, I wish you peace.
Happy Thanksgiving, my loves.