Three-legged Race

December 27, 2011

Scott and I talk a lot about our future, where we want to go from here, what we want to do. We also talk a lot about what it’s like to be thirty, how it’s hard to figure out what that means we’re supposed to be like. Do we keep holding on to being 24, where we stayed out late, sometimes drank too much, lived in apartments that weren’t coherently put together, with mismatched furniture. The job itself wasn’t so important because it was just a stepping stone to something else, a place to gain experience the world was open (it was also pre-recession). Most of the time it feels like we’re beyond that–we crave a more “grown up” apartment. When we go visit friends who have bought their places and have had shelving units installed, it feels like a logical next step. On the other side, the baby thing is just starting to happen among people close to us. The first baby felt like an outlier, a crazy thing ahead of the curve, but now it’s happening. And not just in a facebook way, where the pictures in the newsfeed transitioned from wild nights out to weddings to babies (though that’s happened, too) it’s real. It changes when and where and how often we can see people we used to see all the time. Doors have closed on some jobs and we expect ourselves to be in certain places by now, to have certain responsibilities, or at least ideas on what the trajectory looks like. Our peers own companies, they are in charge of other people.

And so we’re somewhere in the middle, too old for the things that felt acceptable and comfortable before, and not quite ready for the next thing. It feels like adolescence, making concerted choices about who we are and who we’re going to be. Only this time, we’re attached to another person, married, a pair, with separate ambitions that must go forward at the same time. As we talk about the choices that we’ve made together so far and how they might look next month, next year, marriage during this period of our late twenties and early thirties feels like a three-legged race. Sometimes we coordinate and move seamlessly forward, as we did in moving to Brazil. Sometimes it’s choppier. I didn’t realize until long after that my pull toward graduate school yanked Scott away from that country too fast and it was much too late to fix it. Enter the word that will now come up in our lives because it has to: regret. Many times in trying to please the other person, to help, to guess what they might be feeling or want, or trying to anticipate what they might need, we wind up tripping all over one another, not going nearly as fast as we might go on our own. And that’s scary, but I guess also part of the deal. In the end, it just points to the advice we’ve gotten over and over again as we embark upon marriage, communication is paramount. I wonder how long it will take us and how consistently we can follow that “inside, outside, inside, outside, inside, outside” rhythm.

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2 Responses to “Three-legged Race”

  1. emily said

    great post.

  2. […] realized today that I most often feel my age when I’m scared. As I’ve mentioned before, this period of my life mostly feels like awkward adolescence all over again (with a few important […]

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