Changing expectations

Recently I read a really great book by Connally Gilliam called Revelations of a Single Woman. In it she has a great quote from her mother that says “I feel as if I’ve enriched you for a world that no longer trades in our currency.”

The quote really resonated with me because she is absolutely right. The world that my mother and even my grandmothers grew up in doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s a new game with an entirely set of rules that even I’m not sure I comprehend.

I’m a child of the 80’s and a product of 1990’s feminism. But I was also raised by pretty traditional parents who were married in their early 20’s and had three children by the time they had reached my age. As a result, my expectations were to have a family and a career by the time I reached 30. (I’m pretty sure that was my parents’ expectation for me, too.) More specifically this expectation included a husband, two daughters adopted from China, and a career.

When the family portion didn’t happen it was a bit of a shock to the system. (I got the career and then some.) It’s the point when I realized that I didn’t know what was supposed to happen next. By now I was supposed to have kids with birthdays and graduations followed by grandchildren, right? What do you do when none of that comes to pass?

This was a whole new rule book where all the things my mother and grandmother had taught me about running a household and being a good mother and wife went out the window. Of course, I run my own household but it’s so different when that household isn’t inhabited by a family.

The worst part of this is the not knowing. Am I supposed to remain single or should I pursue the marriage angle? Should I go ahead and adopt while I’m still young? Did I really ever want a family in the first place or was this just something I was told would happen?

And I can’t leave out the faith angle. Through all of this I’m supposed to be trusting God to show me what I’m supposed to do. Unfortunately, He no longer deals in large, booming voices from the sky or pillars of fire by night. Just “closed doors.” (Recently, I pursued going back to school-again-but that door was quickly and firmly closed.)

It gets really confusing sometimes. Fortunately, I know I’m not the only one with these questions or trying to manage the same unexpected, perpetually single lifestyle. And that you just keep moving no matter what.

Jenn

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