Ever get the sense the universe is talking to you?
No gentle nudges, no hushed whispers. I’m talking shoulder-grabbing, ardent and arresting conversation.
The universe gave me a talking to these past few weeks, and it prompted a long pause.
The first agenda item involved my lifestyle – the one without a family and kids. A casual comment by a stranger reared up some hard feelings I’d buried in the wet and mealy sand covering my forgotten hopes and dreams.
The fact I do not have children is a census data point I wrestle with at every GYN appointment and during each new introduction. Yes, I am a 37-year-old singleton. No, I am not a member of one of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys. Yes, I am a fully grown grown-up.
I make money and pay bills and manage a bunch of responsibilities like everyone else.
For some reason, this is a popular inquiry when women meet other women; I can’t be certain but I don’t think it’s something men lead with. I suppose women ask in attempt to find an olive branch of commonality or commiseration, but sometimes my reply makes me feel less than adequate and, dare I say, less of a woman.
While so many women are quick to ask about my procreation history, I am painfully apprehensive about asking another woman about her profession. I worry about appearing dismissive or superior because I have a career; I know plenty of stay-at-home moms (my amazing sister Brigid is one of them) and am impressed by their ability to handle what may be the hardest job on the planet.
And so, when in the company of a bunch of women I’ve never met, I tend to rely on the vaguely generic and hopefully benign, “How do you spend your time?”
Sometimes working women and SAHMs don’t even mention their daily vocations, and instead lead with tales of wild athletic adventures, fascinating investment opportunities and Martha Stewart-worthy crafting talents.
And that kicks ass.
Because at the pith, we are a hell of a lot more than how we spend our days. I am not a marketer/PR pro. I am a world traveler. I am a fervent urbanist. I am a champion of the less fortunate.
That’s how I hope people describe me long after I’ve turned back to dust.
Which brings me to the second agenda item for my deep conversation with the universe.
Our time on this rock is a long game.
I have the propensity for anxiousness and eagerness. I worry now about what will happen later, and sometimes I want now what I deserve later.
The universe offered up a few occasions recently that reminded me that life is a game with a long lead time; easy pay-offs prove to be fool’s gold or uninformed disappointments.
Sometimes I have a running monologue in my brain that is peppered with a bunch of trite expressions like this one and this one and this one. They’re strings of words I use to remind me to pace myself.
At 37, I’m in the middle of the second quarter of life. I can see half time, but there’s plenty more to play before I get there.
My life might take the same path as my sisters, friends and neighbors. Or maybe not. But I am certain this journey is unique and will give rise to amazing adventure, unique opportunities and plenty of rich memories.
No better, no worse. Just different.