A young, beautiful (doesn’t need makeup pretty) colleague and I were standing at the copy machine last week. She’s bubbly and fun and full of life. “Any news on the dating front?” I asked.
She turned and said, “No. It’s not going well. ”
I completely remembered myself ten years ago in her shoes. I spent so much time worrying about my future that I didn’t give myself time to enjoy all the amazing things in my life at the time. I had mapped out what my life should be: college, meeting my future husband, getting a teaching job, getting married and having a family all by age 30. But as we all have to figure out: life doesn’t go the way you plan.
Instead I gave my heart and soul to my students and my profession. On the weekends I had down time to rejuvenate and make time for fun. I traveled all over the country and the world. I got to hold my brothers’ babies and spoil them rotten but go home to a clean, quiet house. I bought my own townhouse and painted and decorated exactly as I pleased.
I remembered something that I felt necessary to pass along to this young colleague of mine. “When I was in my twenties I worked with a teacher my age who saw me stressing out about the state of my love life and he said something I’ll never forget. He said, ‘I’m enjoying today because I know someday I’ll have a family to care for with many obligations.’ He said it like he knew it to be true for his future. It made me pause. All this time I was worrying about what hadn’t happened yet. I needed to let go of the worry and believe that my future would entail a family. Instead I needed to enjoy what I did have.”
“Someday you won’t be able to go out last minute for drinks with friends on a Friday afternoon. Someday you’ll want the chance to leisurely walk through Home Goods or T.J. Maxx but you will have others’ schedules and needs to contend with. If possible, enjoy all that you have now. You’ll love the obligations of a family someday but you’ll be glad to have these memories to look back on too.”
She said, “Thank you. I really needed to hear that today.” It made me feel good to pay that message forward. She is a real catch and someday she’ll meet someone who will make her feel that way. For now, I hope she enjoys every bit of being young and carefree.