Yesterday I bought my 59th pair of shoes. Not my 59th pair in my lifetime (as if I could keep track of that anyway) – I mean my 59th pair currently in my closet. Call it an addiction if you must, but apparently I find it necessary to have flats and flip flops and heels in every imaginable color.
I just finished watching the movie Penelope for the first time. I promise this is relevant. It’s essentially a story of a girl who learns to love herself exactly as she is. In other words, she learns to be comfortable in her own shoes.
This is a concept I struggle with. Even with 59 pairs to choose from, I feel like I often don’t fit into the mold I imagined – or anyone around me imagined – for my own life. The life I thought I would have by the time I was 25 involved being married with children, and that’s not at all where I am today. I belong to a church where marriage is not just important; a successful marriage and family is the end goal. This is because we believe that marriage is not just “till death do you part” but that it is eternal and continues after this life. We get married for “time and all eternity.”
I love this doctrine because it gives us hope for a future where we can continue to be a family forever. I want that! However, this belief tends to put a lot of pressure on people like me who are a little older and unmarried. The decision of who to marry is also extra important because it’s for eternity. I am trying to choose someone I can be with for the rest of my existence, which is no small task.
I suppose the real trouble isn’t choosing who to marry. The real trouble is that being married with children is where I want to be, and I haven’t made it there yet. So everything else in my life – my living situation, my education, my career – all feel temporary. They’re like placeholders until I find the life I’m “supposed” to be living. And the outside pressure feels immense sometimes. Married people often add to the feeling that my current life is temporary (and perhaps trivial) by making comments that suggest I’m just waiting around until I find the right guy. I absolutely love the married people in my life. They have been great examples and a huge support system for me. I just think sometimes they forget. They forget the heartache and worry and stress and sadness associated with being alone. Society itself tends to treat single adults as if they are somehow younger, less mature, or less responsible than their married counterparts. It’s an interesting situation, and one I never thought I’d be in.
But the bottom line is that I’m not comfortable in my own shoes. It has little to do with the outside pressure, the culture of my church, or the comments others make. It has to do with me not really knowing what the Lord expects of me. I don’t know where I fit into society.
I am not unhappy. I don’t feel angry with God or with past relationships or with friends who have married younger than me. Being angry doesn’t change my situation or increase my happiness. I am simply taking life one day at a time and trying to figure out where I belong. Until then, perhaps I ought to work on being comfortable with who I am now.
Maybe I’ll have to even out the numbers and buy my 60th pair of shoes. Maybe they will be a perfect, comfortable fit.