Baby Steps Toward Stability

I’ve been dreaming vividly lately about very odd things. My mother says dreams are meant to help us work out things we’re thinking of or things that are causing us trouble, regardless if we’re conscious of our ailments or not.

If she’s right, apparently my mind has been preoccupied with babies and proposals. (Though, as far as I’m concerned, it hasn’t been)

I’ve had dreams about being pregnant, about giving birth, about rescuing children from incapable parents. I’ve envisioned spoon-feeding and watching a cesarean performed on me (yes, I know, gross). A certain dream about being stuck in some unidentified room with what appeared to be an eighth-month belly felt so real that I woke up in a dead panic, waking up Mr. Possibility in the process and frantically grabbing my stomach to make sure it wasn’t so. After the fifth consecutive dream about babies, that time of the month came (whew!) and I started having elaborate dreams about proposals.

Some of the dudes were guys I actually know and still talk to, like Mr. Idea. Others were complete strangers I was apparently in love with. The proposals were ridiculous – some involved flying fish and tomatoes, some were in NYC and some overseas (I think, it looked Greece-like). There was dinner and fireworks, friends and family, crying and Coca-Cola.

I don’t know what I’m eating these days or what crosses my mind without me knowing, but wow, when the crazy dreams stopped a few days ago, I was relieved and as any addict would be, obsessed with trying to figure out what they mean.

After all, doesn’t everything have meaning if you dig deep enough? Any proper journalist would tell you it does.

To uncover my unconscious hidden agendas, I sought the counsel of my friends. After all possibility of actually being pregnant was put to bed, they pretty much all reached the conclusion that I was getting ready to birth a new change. Or something would be proposed to me – not a ring, but something else. (No dearies, I’m gladly nowhere close to even wanting to walk down the aisle. Let me find peace with the term ‘boyfriend’ first).

That makes sense and is about as rational of an explanation that I can find – having a baby or agreeing to spend the rest of my life with someone would definitely be a dramatic shift. My priorities, my health, my finances, my body, my lifestyle – all of it. But then again – when you’re in your 20s, doesn’t everything change…all the time?

The people I’m the closest to today, I didn’t know a few years ago. My speed dial assignments have changed at least a handful of times since when I signed my Verizon contract. I’ll probably have my mail forwarded a dozen times before I leave this city – or if I ever do. My single gal friends have a new leading man every week or so, some are dismayed by this fact, others relish in it. I toss out clothes as often as I buy new ones at H&M, and when a heel breaks, another pair makes it into my closet. I try this beauty product and then this one, and while I’ve tried to pick out a signature scent, I can’t decide on just one. I read and read, day after day, and so my views, my language, my direction is constantly shifting. I make plans, I break them. I think I know who I am and then I question.

Call me crazy, but sure, life changes a lot when you have a baby – but doesn’t it also settle down a bit? I’d like to think that at the point in my life when I’m engaged and eventually starting a family, I’ll have my ducks-in-a-row. I’ll be secure in a job I love, I’ll be confident in the person I’m picking as everlasting partner, and hopefully instead of renting, I’ll be putting my dough toward a home or an apartment I own. Friends will still change but some won’t. I’ll be stronger in my convictions, but maybe my viewpoints will mold too. However, those foundation-building blocks will be set in stone, instead of airing in the New York summer sun. Or at least, I hope so.

So what is it that babies maybe signify instead? A thirst for stability? A hunger to be working toward something tangible instead of all of those things that seem so indefinite? I don’t have a baby, I’ve never been asked to marry someone (expect on Twitter), but I think those changes may rock my world, but they’ll also steady it, too. Right?

I can’t attest for sure, I’m not a psychic or a dream-reader, though I could probably walk a block in either direction and pay $150 for a reading. For now, though, regardless if these dreams mean a change or mean I’ll found solid footing, I hope they continue to subside.

My ovaries can’t handle any more fear.

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Could I Be Happy?

Last night, as I was picking up groceries that make up my diet – orange juice, humus, grapes, bananas, Greek yogurt, and dark chocolate – I was forced to wait in a ridiculously long line. The grocery store by my current apartment is new and attracts customers from dozens of blocks away, and therefore, is always crowded. I usually don’t mind – it gives me the opportunity to eavesdrop and people watch.

Curving around the escalator, I noticed a good-looking man in front of me. He looked early to mid-30’s, was well-dressed and groomed, and had a simple basket full of good food and good beer. Not really inclined to say much of anything to anyone, when he looked back and shared a grin with me, I returned one, and then took my eyes in a different direction. A few moments later, as I casually looked his way again – a family had appeared. His arm was around a lanky young boy in soccer clothes, and a pretty curly-haired blonde in boots was laughing with a little girl whose face mirrored her’s.

The children had been in the bakery, picking out the one sweet treat they are allowed to have with their mom, and when they returned – so did the light in the man’s face. As the kids were somehow entertaining themselves with a display of sugar cookies (seeing who could reach the top), the man leaned over and kissed the side of his wife’s face, and as she probably has since they met, she warmly laughed, and looked into his eyes. They were about the same height but she looked tiny next to him and their body language was so easy and so loving, I noticed the others behind me watching them too.

As any child would do, the brother and sister duo returned, begging for cookies on top of their goody from the bakery. The man automatically dismissed their pleas but mom chimed in by teasing, “But Dad, they are peanut butter. Your favorite.” Blushing at what seemed like an inside joke, he agreed they were his top pick, and allowed the kids to have them – under the condition that they couldn’t have eat any tonight. At 8 p.m., I thought that was a smart decision on his part, having baby-sitted and mistakenly given sugar way too late. Excited, the siblings returned to pick out the best dozen, and mom teased again asking, “But I want one tonight, can I have one tonight?” Dad wrapped his arms around her waist, squeezed her hand, and in a sweet-and-sexy tone promised, “Oh yes, you can have one tonight.

I had zoned in so deeply to their conversation and watching the family interact, that I hadn’t noticed my arm had fallen asleep holding a heavy basket, or that I was next in line. Minutes later after selecting debit and thanking a cashier that didn’t say anything to me, I walked the two blocks back to my packed-up apartment and for the first time, in a long time, I felt sad.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m really happy with my life. My weeks are spent writing articles and blogs, attending events and happy hours, trying new foods and neighborhoods, and spending time with friends I love and a Mr. Possibility I adore. Soon, I’ll be able to run in Central Park and this summer is filled with trips I’m counting down to, and within a few weeks, I’ll move into a new place on this island. My life is constantly in transition, I have more freedom than I know what to do with, and much of the beauty of my 20s is that they are unplanned, unknown, and uninhibited.

I’ve spent 203 posts – or 203 days – reaching this point of content. Of being ale to feel secure in my single shoes, of not feeling like a man is the end-all-be-all to my existence, of not feeling incomplete without admiration from the opposite sex. I’ve developed a security in myself and should Mr. Possibility and his many possibilities walk away tomorrow, I would be upset, but I would be fine. His presence isn’t the most important component of my life, it’s just a bright one. I’m no longer defined by a man and I don’t feel this incredibly intoxicating urge to be in a relationship or to be reminded of how wonderful I am by a guy. I think I’m pretty great without someone telling me, as I should – I’ve worked hard and loved long to get to where I am.

So why did I feel sad after witnessing a healthy, engaging, and adjusted family? Why did it leave a poor taste in my mouth and make me feel like my life was hollow – filled with boozing and blasé brunching? Even though I know I’m nowhere close to wanting or being prepared for marriage and children, why did I instantly want both of those responsibility-ridden things in that moment?

Well, because I want them. One day, that is. And while I can push at the American dream and work as hard as I can to raise myself up from my heelstraps, move to the city I always knew I belonged in, and go on countless amazing and awful dates – I cannot control success in love. Or in creating a family.

And maybe that’s what is the hardest about being single – the lack of control. Even if you do all of the right things, find a peace inside yourself, and love the life you lead – if you want children and you want to get married one day, you want it. It isn’t something you can or you should change, it is just part of who you are – encoded in a DNA that few understand. And if we observe the world around us, the women who have found it and the women who have not, we realize which category we’d like to end up in. Sure, happiness isn’t defined by if you get Cartier or if you are able to produce offspring, and there are splendors a career can give that nothing else can match -but for me, and the life I hope to have, I don’t want to kiss or be kissed goodnight by my byline forever.

The question is – if I’m not among the lucky who finds someone they can tolerate and agree to share a bed and bathroom sink with until death parts us, or if I can’t carry a baby or afford to adopt or if my eggs becoming infertile by the time I become ready for that chapter – then what?

Can I still be happy? As satisfied and blessed I feel to be where I am today – miles and miles away from needing to even worry or think about such things – I can’t answer that question. I’d like to think I could find happiness anywhere with anything – but I also know that I wouldn’t want to do it without anyone. I’d rather have a someone and few little somethings.