19 October 2013

missing out



So I had a mini revelation, or maybe it was just a realisation, either way I'm not sure why it hadn't occurred to me before.

I was driving in the early evening and I saw people getting off the bus after presumably a days work and making their way home. These people looked about my age, in their early-mid twenties and I started to wonder what their life was like. What it was like to return home after being at work all day, where they lived, with friends/housemates or a partner. What they would be having for dinner, if they were going out that evening, if they were doing a job they loved, on a career path or simply just working for some money to spend or save...? I wondered all of this and then I realised that I, and Rob also are never going to have this. We sort of skipped over that whole early adulthood, wondering about who we are, what we want to be and getting to know each other in our adult lives.

Rob turned twenty-five a few weeks ago, and my 27th birthday is approaching at the end of the year. I mean I feel like we've achieved quite a lot at quite a young age; we have a child, we've just got married, Rob is in a settled permanent career building job, we live in a nice area, have good friends etc. A few decades ago these life events would have been the complete norm for people our age, my parents got married at a younger age than we did and I could have even popped another child out by now. But still sometimes, in this day and age I feel like we've missed out on something.

Some friends of ours have just taken a gap in their job and career to go travelling together for six months. They worked hard and saved enough money to go and I'm very excited for their adventure, but obviously slightly jealous! I know that Rob and I will never have that freedom and chance to do something similar. Even if we weren't saving to go travelling we don't really have the chance to live that life. To both be in full time work, to be saving, to be spending the evenings with each other, going out with friends when we feel like it and doing spontaneous things.

For me I don't feel quite so bad, I'm a few years older than Rob and I feel like I have experienced quite a lot in my life pre-baby already. I started going to festivals when I was 14, have been on two gap years travelling around Eastern Europe, solo around Scotland and Norway, spent six months in India and Nepal, lived in a yurt and two communities in Wales for a year, learning to garden, look after goats and chickens and building our own little wooden house. I've learnt to drive, seen quite a lot of places, completed a University degree and generally had quite a lot of fun. I do however feel for Rob. sometimes. I know I shouldn't feel guilty as having a child was his choice (and perhaps responsibility) too, but I feel that he has missed out on things a little more that I have. He's worked incredibly hard to get to where he is today and to support our family, and I have to remind myself that this all happened when he was 22 years old. Most men his age might not have done the same as he did. I know he had plans to work and save money to travel, as he didn't before he went to uni and that obviously changed when we found out I was pregnant.

Of course some things you can't have control over. Well I mean we could have decided to make the decision to not have a child, and I wonder what our lives would be like then. Where would we be living, what would our jobs be and would we even still be together? I don't know, and really I don't care because that didn't happen and Theo exists in this world and I wouldn't want it any other way. But still sometimes I do wonder. What would have happened if we'd even just had a few years out of Uni together, to get to know each other before we had children? Have we missed out on something that we're never going to be able to get back?

Of course the benefit of having children early is that when they are grown up we will still be fairly young and able to do some of the things we have skipped over now, like travelling, saving and enjoying time together...but it won't be the same. I don't really know what I feel, I feel happy that we have chosen the life we have, and as you never know what will happen tomorrow I'm glad we have experienced the things we have. Learning how to support and grow together, experiencing the love you can have for a child and of course more recently celebrating our marriage. But at the same time I do mourn a little the life that we could have had, the life that the rest of our friends are enjoying. I know that the grass is always greener etc...but I guess you do have to wonder sometimes.

But at the end of the day, things aren't going to change or ever go back to how it was or could have been. I do feel immensely proud of what we've achieved in a short space of time and we've just got to continue to enjoy the life we have been given and accept what comes our way. We are lucky to have the things we do have, our health, family and friends and sometimes it's all too easy to start worrying and focussing on what could have been or what it would be like if things were different. In reality I'm not sure if I would want it any other way, this is the life we chose and I'm happy with that. 

7 comments :

  1. I got married when I was 27 and Mark was 25; he was the first of his friends to get married. We didn't have a child but our friends did look at us like we were alien beings. That was 25 years ago. Since then we have had adventures together, including 4 children, some time in NZ and building a home and a future together. Now as our children are beginning to fly (2 at uni) we are dreaming of adventures to come. It seems to me that both of you have made great choices so far and your adventures will still come where ever you are. You made a totally beautiful couple on your wedding day by the way!

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    1. wow 25 years, congratulations! Thanks for the reassuring and kind words, I do look forward to all the adventures to come!

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  2. It was my birthday last week I'm 38 - that must seem like a lifetime away for you (I like to refer to myself as having been '36 last year'). I still have all the same feelings of what ifs and could have beens. It's sounds like you have done a huge amount - more than me for sure! I often wish I'd had children sooner... we tried though and it didn't happen. It's good to reflect on things. We can't have it all... but we all have a lot, being happy in the moment is the most important thing I think.

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    1. Happy birthday for last week! Yeh I need to remember that, and that sometimes it's easy to just make assumptions about the way other peoples lives are, and all too easy to say what if this and that had been different. Hindsight ay? But I definitely need to remember that things tend to happen for a reason and that I need to remember to be happy with what we have!

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  3. I identify with this so much. Sam was 23 and I was 25 when I fell pregnant. We never lived together beforehand. We didn't get to do the marriage before kids thing. I did some travelling, but Sam didn't and I worried for a long time that he was missing out. I am happy with our chosen life, but I am also mournful of the things we will never have. I feel guilty for even thinking wistfully about other possibilities other than the one we've ended up with. It's almost as if there's an unwritten rule that you should never be anything other than completely happy with your life with children because they have 'changed your life' 'couldn't imagine it any other way' etc etc.

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    1. Thank god I'm not alone! I totally agree with you about feeling as though you're not really allowed to think wistfully about how things could have been, I know it's a decision we made but sometimes it's hard not to think about how our lives might have been different!

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  4. I understand this completely. I'm 30 next year, so not so young anymore, but I spent most of my 20s pregnant and breastfeeding, when most of my friends were partying, travelling and studying. Sometimes I wonder what we could have done. I too feel conflicted. But I also know that every child was my decision, as was where we live and the stability we are trying to provide for them. I too know I am happy with the life I chose ... it is nice to occasionally daydream though!

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