My parents had a plan. From the time he was a kid, my dad knew he wanted to be a doctor. My mom was fostered into a career as a physical therapist — in high school, she fell in love with gymnastics. She was naturally strong and interested in fitness. Becoming a PT just made sense.
I never knew what I wanted to do. While the rest of my friends fell into paths almost identical to their parents’, I was not a science person. I hated Chemistry and Biology. Give me a literature class any day! And besides, I’d seen how hard my parents worked and what working with people in pain could do. I knew I wanted to help people, just not with their physical health.
Fast forward several years. A college graduate with a B.A. in English, but now what? . . . I’ve held a handful of jobs since I graduated, ranging from being a copywriter, to an ophthalmology technician, to an ESL school teacher (in Taiwan and Hong Kong), and now, to a freelance writer. I’ve been trying to come up with my long-term plan: But what? I’ve wanted to return to Asia: I have this HUGE fear of getting tied down. The world is too big and too beautiful and too full of need to live in one tiny pocket my whole life . . . But. But.
Do I always want to be alone?
I’ve been on my own the majority of my life. I mean that. Sure, I’ve had boyfriends, but there’s never been that spark. Never been that, “He’s the one.” Usually it’s just been me: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” — apologizing for who I am. I stand tall and tell myself I’m independent. I don’t need anyone. And I learned a long time ago that it’s far better to be single than to be in the wrong relationship. My independent spirit is what enabled me to excel at a college 3,000 miles from home. It’s what helped me thrive in Asia. And it’s what’s fueled my pride in myself: I am Jessica. I am strong. And I am alone.
That’s right, folks. I met someone, and he has changed my world. Suddenly, I am not alone. Suddenly, I don’t have to cry myself to sleep: When I have a bad day, there is someone there who cares.
And even better? He like me just the way I am.
But what does that say about me? Am I still me? Does it mean I am weak if I let someone in?
To be honest, I already know the answer. I’m not looking for relationship or any other advice, really. Some of you are probably disappointed to hear I’ve met someone. Message me if you want to complain. What I’m trying to point out is the way we view ourselves, and that all of life is a journey. My parents were never supposed to get divorced. Three years ago, I got a phone call in Taiwan, “Jess, we have some bad news…” I was supposed to marry my high school sweetheart. He chose to become a Catholic priest instead. I was supposed to have life figured out by now. I’m almost 30 and nowhere near having life figured out.
But that’s just it. I’ve been shifting through life in the way that we all do. I’ve been a daughter, a sister, single, a girlfriend, a friend, a coworker, and more. Soon I will be a sister-in-law to my brother’s fiancée. I’ve been a lot of things, but all the while I’ve always been me. And that is never going to change. People who lose themselves in relationships frighten me. Because who are you if you are not YOU??
And as for my future? I don’t know. I’ll figure that out as I go, too. My parents always had a plan, but even their plans haven’t played out without hitches. All I know is that maybe my plans won’t only be around me from here on out. And maybe that’s okay.
Images: Pinterest and mine