In Search of: The Unlived Life

I saw a quote a few weeks ago and pinned it to my desktop. I’ve been staring at it, thinking on it. This is the quote:

Most of use have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us.

I think it’s true. We do all have that portion of our life that isn’t there. It’s in our fantasies, our imaginations; but it’s certainly not a part of our reality.

So I’ve been pondering my “unlived life.” And I didn’t have to dig deep to find it. It’s the daydream that rests at the surface of my everyday. That which makes me question my choices, my priorities.

You see, I already live the unlived life of most 35-year-old women. I travel. I go on amazing, life-list hikes. I take chances. I chase dreams. I dance. I make art. I have a bucket list (one that I actively check items off of). I’m super active (hell, I can plank for 5 freaking minutes). So no, my unlived life is not typical. Rather, my unlived life is the typical life. My unlived life is this: I’ve never had the chance to be a wife. Or a mother.

And I’ll be honest. This reality makes me sad, defeated. It makes me question my choices, and sometimes myself.

In some ways, the fact that I’m not a wife or a mom at this point in my life is by choice. Though, in many ways it’s not. I always knew I didn’t want to be a young mother. I thought mid-thirties would be perfect. And I only ever wanted to have one child, so timing-wise that idea worked for me. Yet, here I am, and none of this is even close to happening. And there’s a strong likelihood the time will pass me by, the chance will be gone, biology will make the choice for me — and that’ll be that.

It all sort of boils down to this: I have shitty taste in men.

I spent eight years with a man that can only be described as completely and totally wrong for me. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal if I only allowed that relationship to last a year or two. Hell, even four years would have made a big difference. Instead, I wasted eight years, and we didn’t split until I was in my 30’s. And let’s be honest, the relationship game has been all downhill from there.

Now, at nearly 36, instead of being that cool, independent girl that men are interested in, I’m the girl that’s never been married and has no kids. And people are starting to ask: Why? What’s wrong with you? You must be a nightmare in a relationship if you’ve made it to this age without any previous legal commitments or kids.

For the record, I would like to state that I am not, in fact, a nightmare. I’m a dam good girlfriend. And I don’t know, but I bet I would be a dam good wife.

I’ve also discovered this little tidbit: men claim to want a woman that is independent. A woman that can take care of herself, that’s stable, that has a good job and a life of her own (interests, hobbies, friends, etc.). These claims, in my experience, are actually not all that true. And I’m not sure the men themselves even realize it. I can’t tell you how many guys I’ve dated have told me they loved that part of who I am and then turned around and hated that part when we broke up. I can’t tell you how many men left me for a woman that truly “needed” them. They like feeling needed. And let’s be honest. I don’t need a man. I just want someone in my life. I want a partner. Someone that I click with, that I can talk to, that I can share my everyday with. But I don’t need someone to rescue me. And most men don’t like that. Or maybe they’re intimidated. Or maybe they feel my lack of need might lead to my leaving them one day because I don’t actually have to have them to pay bills or fix me in some way.

It’s easier when you’re young. No one has their shit together in their twenties. So it’s hard to scare a man off by being strong and independent. But, like I said, maybe this all boils down to my shitty taste in men.

It’s just sad though. I have so much to give. I love my life — so much about it. I truly do. I love the person I’ve become. I wish I could share that with someone. I want a partner. I want to at least have the option to consider having a child. And if I don’t, it would be nice to know that was my decision and not the choice of my biological clock.

And I really hate that people assume that since I’ve made it this far without either of these things that I couldn’t possibly want them. This solo life was created by choice, right? No, not really. I’ve just had a bit of shitty luck and and a stubborn unwillingness to settle. (I’m quite sure we could dig deeper into this, but this is neither the time nor the place for that discussion.)

Anyhow, I’ll let it rest there. I debated sharing this, but it’s a part of me, right? And so I shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed.

So that’s my unlived life. Have you ever given thought to yours?

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