at age 32, i stand on the verge of marrying a man with whom i have a connection so deep and so historical across the courses of our lives that it defies description. i have, given the debt load and all the financial/professional headaches i have these days, a really nice life, all things considered. after spending my twenties doing all kinds of things that didn’t fit in various ways, and even though i’m not there yet, i am finally starting to understand the things that work for me and the things that don’t work for me.
but sometimes, even though it’s basically coming together, all i can see is all of the time that’s gone.
when it comes to the game of life, 32+ years is a long, long time to have elapsed. it’s not halftime yet. but it’s alarmingly close. i have a lot to look forward to. but there’s a lot that has just… passed me by. and every so often, that feeling of it’s over raises up and slaps me so hard that it takes a second or two to recover. and this is one of those times.
i remember being 20 and planning my wedding to my ex-husband. (i am still, all this time later, not used to typing or saying ex-husband. it’s like part of me is still surprised that things broke down the way they did. but i digress.) the one thing that stands out in those memories is how full of possibility the future seemed. i found my lifelong partner, we were going to make it official, and then we were going to head out into the great wide open to have ALL OF THE ADVENTURES. we had NOTHING but time. it was going to be grand.
and now, nearly twelve years to the day from the moment the ex and i got engaged, i’m about to marry again. i love the man with more intensity and energy than i can quantify. as jimmy buffett said, i can’t help it honey; you’re that much a part of me now. but this marriage doesn’t come framed in the golden haze of possibility. the man and i do not have all the time in the world. i’m slowly approaching the end of my healthy reproductive life, which is a lot closer than i’m comfortable admitting. the debt is limiting; we don’t have anywhere near as much time to save for a house, money to pay for school for said kid, and for our retirements than we could have if we weren’t leaving our early 30s at break-neck speed.
maybe that’s the genesis of this tension people my age seem to feel. y’know, the OMG I HAZ THE OLDZ syndrome i referred to yesterday. the loss of boundless possibility hurts. at some point, the limitations arrive, whether you’re ready or not. it’s hard to handle gracefully the knowledge that you’re running out of time, and in some cases out of time, every second of every day. it’s even harder when you’re in a situation that is basically the negative image of a time when you had all the time in the world.
the man and i don’t have all the time in the world. not even close. we have a limited universe in which to build our life, our dreams, etc. and don’t get me wrong; we have a great future ahead of us. it’s just significantly compressed, and some things will just have to go by the wayside. 88.6% of the time, that’s totally ok. another 10.4% of the time, it’s a tiny little bummer. but the remaining 1% of the time? like now? yeah, it’s a big-ass bummer. it makes me really, really sad. i hate that we don’t have boundless possibilities in front of us. i hate that i’ve, for lack of a better term, wasted so much time on things that didn’t work. that’s really a bummer. i wish we had a few more young years to play with – we could’ve had so much more fun, built up so much more of a foundation, dodged so many of the bullets that we’ve taken on. sometimes that stings like a bastard.
and there’s nothing to do about it. time only goes one way. sometimes you squander opportunities. sometimes you don’t even know you’re squandering them. sigh. all you can do is make the best of what you do have. and that’s what i do 99% of the time. i am so excited that i have my man by my side forever. i can’t wait to do all kinds of fun, wonderful things with him. i can’t wait for our life together.
i just wish, every so often, that we had more of that life to live.