Author: JC Gardner
I often hear people say “I have no regrets.” Then they go on to say that all of
their experiences made them who they are today and without “trials and
tribulations” there would be no “testimony.”Hmmm. I wonder if some of our
“trials and tribulations” could have been avoided if we had just listened or
heeded some good advice that we received, but ignored, because we knew it
For most youth, turning eighteen marks a huge milestone. We’re labeled
adultsat that stage of our life and our parents’ legal responsibility to
care for us is technically over. Most of us couldn’t wait to grow up and be on
our own, but there usually was a huge obstacle in our way: If you didn’t have a
full-time job with benefits and a salary to afford an astronomical rent, more
than likely, you ended up at your parents’ house just a little while longer;
okay, a lot longer.
I was one who suffered under the disillusionment that ten plus eight equaled freedom. But I was also a dutiful daughter who went to college, got my two-year and four-year degrees, and then got married at the age of twenty-three. I thought getting married was being on my own. NOT!
In my immature brain, marrying my college sweetheart seemed to equate to independence, to sovereignty, to getting up and leaving when I pleased; to cooking what I wanted when I wanted, and sleeping as long as my heart desired.
My first apartment was with my husband. Living in a college dorm does not equate to living independently. I thought it did. Truthfully, that was just a taste of independence – one I did not embrace as fully as I should have.
I’ve been married since 1986, probably a record these days! I’ve heard the term “midlife crisis” a lot and couldn’t really relate, until recently. I started feeling trapped and restrained, like an unseen force was keeping me from doing what I really want to do, and I found myself saying, “If I lived on my own, I wouldn’t have to consult with anyone; if it was just me, things would be more smoother; Would-a, should-a, coulda!
What I was really missing was “me”time. Getting married so young and thinking I knew everything didn’t allow me to find out about myself – my likes and dislikes; how
I like to spend my days AND my nights; how would it feel to answer to nobody, and the list goes on.
One day I told my husband, “I need my own apartment.” He looked at me strangely and
then, naturally, had a ton of questions about my happiness, was everything okay,
and what did he do wrong.
Truthfully, he hadn’t done anything wrong. I blamed myself. My mother tried to tell me early on to go out and explore the world and live my life first. But I was in love and love conquers all, right? I really regret not doing that, especially living on my own. I love my life today and God’s blessings have been on my life; I love my family, but there is a part of me that yearns for that solitude of loving and taking care of just me. How would that feel? What would that look like? Is that selfish? These are questions I wrestle with internally – my very own midlife crisis.
Sure, I have spa days and girls’ night out. That definitely helps. But I can’t help but wonder if my life would be different if I had just taken a year or two devoted to embracing my womanhood and exploring life as a single person.
They say the grass always looks greener on the other side. I bet
in this case, it was neon green, with sunshine and blue