Experiencing the different life plans

Today we have a post from Stephanie Florence, 40:20 Vision’s contributing / Millennial editor, reflecting on her siblings’ recent weddings.

The wedding photos are beautiful, but these oldies will also be my favorites.

The wedding photos are beautiful, but these oldies will always be my favorites.

When I’m asked if I get home to Chicago often I typically laugh as I consider the last year. With siblings who were each married six weeks apart I think it’s safe to say I’ve been home quite a bit.

I am so happy that both of my siblings have found the person they will spend the rest of their lives with. I even captured the first duo-dance of the newlyweds, which you can view here. (My sister is the blond – thank goodness for the height my new brother is bringing to our family. And I think you can pick out my brother and my new sister to the left.)

While I raise my glass to different life plans, I will admit there is one piece of worry taking residence in the back of my head. When I went home for the holidays last year there were points when I felt like the odd woman out by not having a dude by my side. Couple that with everyone and her sister announcing on Facebook that she is either engaged or with child and you start to pay attention. Am I doing something wrong? Should I be in a serious relationship? Should I be concerned with settling down? Side note: whoever created the term “settling down” deserves a swift kick. The people in my life who are opening these new chapters are doing anything but settling – they’re launching new adventures.

As the holidays approach, I wonder if the worry will come back into play. My strongest defense to any of the negative questions is to remind myself of the feeling I get when I return to New York City. Anyone who has seen the skyline while driving over the Manhattan Bridge knows what I mean. It’s a feeling I can’t quite describe except for a sense of belonging. Just by writing this I’m quickly brought back to reality. I don’t need to set down roots in my 20s just because most people do. If something changes and I meet “the one” in the next three years – great. But if not, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing (going with the flo(w), as it were). Focusing on the strong friendships I have – the ones I’m continuing back home and those that I’m cultivating in NYC. And focusing on my career, one that challenges me and motivates me every single day.

Anyone else in the same boat? Do you have your version of my “New York City skyline drive” that brings you back to reality?

To the 40s, 20s and gals in between and all around those years: How did/do you handle the times when questions like these took/take center stage?



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  • M

    Stephanie,

    I believe we share the same newsfeed (McAuley Alum 05). The question you asked has been something that has been the topic deeply analyzed in my ‘new chapter’ of life which came after a breakup.Here’s what I gathered

    1. Guys our age that are professionals are not looking for relationships because they are focused on their careers. The friend that taught me this is a second year law associate & doing amazingly well climbing the ladder at his firm. Why doesn’t he seek a girlfriend to ‘complete’ his life? Because he is too busy engaging clients outside of work whether it be charity galas, saturday golfing or Sunday tailgating (not checking in with his significant other throughout). He is driven & considerate enough to know that he can’t accommodate a girlfriend at this point in his career. That was such a light bulb moment for me!

    2. At 26, I haven’t quite opened Pandora’s box of success yet but I’m on the cusp. I have another friend who is a female that married & then hit the jackpot on her career. Her economic success (which is quite substantial) & career fulfillment improved her self esteem so much that she sees life completely differently then she did prior to marriage. She knows she’s awesome, she’s enjoying her success & freedom… The desire for fulfillment from children is no longer the ‘secret to salvation’. She now sees life completely differently!

    3.the stats on divorce for our generation are out of control & all these fb posts of babies & blogs explaining the “truths of parenting” definitely takes away the hype. I prefer to take the road less traveled & well, 2 years ago I would’ve been one of the “early adapters” of my social media friends to have kids now everyone is doing it – lame 😉

    I decided I wanted to get married & have kids above everything else in graduate school when I was pondering what is my greatest purpose, what will I contribute to the world. It was really quite simple – the best thing I’ll ever contribute to this planet is life/humans. Following graduation, I pursued careers but men always got in the way because I valued a relationship (and what it could manifest) more than a career. It all makes sense to me now & I’m now thankful that relationship tanked 🙂

    So here’s to being fabulous & successful conquering & traveling the world while those who “settled down” well settled… I’ll have kids, I’ll find a husband but I’ll enjoy my 20s & maybe all of my 30s before those things occur & I’m now fine with that 🙂

  • CanadianChristy

    As a late twenty something, I’m totally relate.

    My “NYC skyline drive” is the memory of a bet my dad made me when I was 19. He bet me a case of beer that I couldn’t stay single for a whole year. All things aside, looking back his intent was for me to be comfortable and happy with being with myself and my personal expectations, rather than what people thought I should do. Consequently I have found that key to being with a partner and comfortable in the “yes we’ve been together for a few years, no we have no plans for marriage anytime soon, and yes we are serious about being together” scenario that pulls a lot of criticism from expectations of when marriage should happen.

    And when those kind of questions come into Center stage; I grab a beer, smile, and enjoy learning about other people’s perspectives while being quite at home with my own!

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