In what ways has your life turned out differently than you expected?
It’s obvious actually—and I make a point of writing not about the obvious.
The plain answer is in the bathroom, devouring Harry Potter about seven years late.
He may be late to Harry Potter, but he came too early into my life.
Right about here you’re expecting me to go into landscaping, painting the scene of our first encounter: blustery November day, wearing a black shirt he later confided he didn’t like, and dinner with my future mother-in-law.
I won’t talk about it. No can do, tiger.
What I will confide is that even though it was too early for marriage, it was way past due for a boyfriend.
And that’s how God snuck up on me.
He planted this idea deep inside my mind, an idea that grew like a cancer until I was considering folks that should have never been considered. (Names withheld to protect the current/future spouses of my excursions.) It was a foolish time.
Coy as a cat I texted my newfound mouse soon-to-be-husband and we decided to play.
I just wasn’t thinking. The chemicals in my brain were altered by one love potion #9 and suddenly my biological clock was ticking without warning. I wanted to marry.
The cool academic nonconformist in me calmly insisted we play it safe and jump promptly off the matrimony train,
but soon I just realized I was done for. Because all I wanted was to be one of those hopeless girls married at 19 (At least I made it to 20). Really, the last thing I wanted was to be one of them. I wanted to be married without having to reduce myself to that category.
This is the lesson. Are you listening? Because I’m just going to tell it to you flat out in a regular sentence and that’s not something I do every day.
You cannot figure out another person’s life. You cannot say what they should have done unless you are a fool, and love being incorrect on top of ignorant. You don’t get her. She’s living life the best she knows how, just like you. So even if that’s waiting tables or being a prostitute or (no!) a stay-at-home mom, just know: she wakes up every morning a human being the same way you do. She goes to bed every night planning how to improve her future, just like you, sister. So go on then. Be a sister to her. Pity her situation, but not her intelligence. Empathize with her decisions and her vulnerability, knowing full well that you don’t know. She’s pieces of you blown up poster size is all.
So what was different about my life than I anticipated? Having to explain to myself that I was just like everyone else.