Today I am 36 years old. I am single, childless, and now… jobless. This was not the plan.
Now, if you think you know where this story is going, you are probably wrong. This is not a sob-story about how my life did not turn out as I had planned. Quite the contrary.
From the time we are children, we are taught to prepare and to plan. We are taught to get good grades so that we can go to college, and get a good job. We are taught that we are supposed to get married, settle down and raise a family. Well that was certainly my plan. When I was 17 my high school Spanish teacher asked us to write an essay about where we thought we would be in 10 years. Looking back at this essay is one of my favorite things to do to this day. As my 17 year old self, I described how at age 27 I would be living on a farm in Vermont, with 3 kids and 2 dogs. Now anyone that knows me well is surely laughing out loud right now. For one, I am so not a dog person! Second, the thought of living outside of an energized, bustling city makes me want to curl up and die! But of course at age 17, I had such a narrow perspective on the world. What I wrote in that essay was all that I could possibly imagine from my limited experience.
Well, thank goodness life does not go as we plan. Since I wrote that essay, I have lived in a foreign country, I have lived in 4 different cities in the US, I have traveled to 4 continents and 18 countries. I have loved furiously and passionately, and I have lost, to the most painful depths of my soul. I have laughed and cried feverish tears of joy. I have experienced love, in its purest form, and I have experienced pain and betrayal in its ugliest form. And I have learned more hard lessons than I can count. But most importantly, I have lived. And not passively. I have experienced every emotion to its extreme high and low. I have drunk life and have let it fill up every ounce of my being.
So this all sounds great, right? Well, yes, but I’ll be honest; As wonderful as all of that sounds, when I found myself in my early-30s, and heard the loud ticking of my biological clock, it was very painful to watch friend after friend getting married and having children. After all, I’d always known that I wanted children, that was one thing that had never changed and that I had never questioned. Doctor after doctor kept asking me, “Do you plan to have children? If so, you should get started.” “Gee, thanks for the revelation.”, I would think to myself, “Let me just snap my fingers and make that happen.”
For the last few years I have been wrestling with these demons, feeling sad that it was apparently not in my cards to have this lovely life of marriage and family that I had dreamed of all of my life, and saw so many friends enjoying. The grass looked greener elsewhere.
Well, as many of you already know, I have lived through a “dark night of the soul” during these years. And the beautiful thing about living through such a period, is that if you are strong enough, brave enough to trust and let go, you will learn some profound universal secrets. One of those secrets is that try as we might to plan our lives, it will inevitably not go as we plan. And the sooner that we let go of our life “plan”, and the sooner we surrender to the Universe, the sooner it will all fall into place.
Over the past few years, I have gotten so good at the practice of letting go and each time I have truly managed to surrender myself to the invisible forces, I have experienced nothing but awe and magic. I have also learned that because our own view is so myopic, we very rarely have the capacity to even imagine what the Universe can create for us. So we can fret and toil and plan all we like, but at the end of the day, we may be defeating ourselves, because the Universe may have something so much more spectacular in mind. And this is what I have realized.
I am 36 years old. I am single, childless and jobless. And I am happy. I am no longer worried about the biological clock, nor fretting about if I will find my true love. Instead, I have surrendered, and I am filled with excitement and anticipation about what the Universe has in store for me. For I am looking at the grass over there, and I have to say, it’s pretty damn green over here.