The years between college and marriage are in many ways far more self-defining than any others. They're filled with the simplest, yet most complex, decisions in life: choosing a city, picking a career, finding friends and a mate--in sum, building a happy and satisfying life. For me and for my group of friends, these years have been eye-opening, confusing and fabulous at the same time.
The more choices you have, the more decisions you must make--and the more you have yourself to blame if you wind up unhappy. There is a kind of perverted contentedness in certainty born of a lack of alternatives. At my age, my mother, whether she liked it or not, had fewer tough decisions to make. I don't envy the pressure she endured to follow a traditional career path and marry early. But sometimes I envy the stability she had.
Once again I've been unable to resist the lure of a new city. So, as I start my legal career in Chicago, I'm again building friendships from scratch, learning my way around a strange new place. Yes, my friends and I could have avoided the loneliness and uncertainty inherent in our journeys, and gone back to our hometowns or stayed in the college town where we had each other. But I doubt any one of us would trade our adventures for that life. I have a sense of identity and self-assurance now that I didn't have, couldn't have had, when I graduated from college. And I know someday I'll look back on this time--before I had a spouse, a home and children to care for--and be thankful for the years that just belonged to me.
Sometimes I find articles that just speak to me, this was one of those articles. We all take different paths in life, and for those not traveling on the one I am this probably meant nothing to you. But just know, this is where I am as a person. And sometimes it's very important for me to take a step back and really appreciate it. I don't do that enough. I think I spend too much time wishing my life away, or wishing I was living someone else's journey...I really need to stop that.