My career is my 'significant other' - and why I'm okay with that
You heard me!
I'm single and ~not~ ready to mingle.
I go home to my emails and admin, spend my nights editing and expanding my business plans, and Saturday nights you'll find me drafting my Instagram feeds rather than heading out on dates with eligible singletons, and here's why:
Flashback to earlier this year, and I was looking at the love of my young life on bended knee asking me to marry him. I did what any woman does when the man they love is doing that and said yes, of course.
I thought that I had hit some kind of lifetime goal, some huge milestone of womanhood. But what started to occur to me after the fact, and in the months proceeding the engagement, is that we had made this choice out of feelings to conform to social norm not because either of us were passionate about the commitment.
After much discussion (and in honesty, many tears) we mutually made the decision to end the engagement and the relationship, (a decision that both of us still say is the best thing we could have done for each other) and we went our separate ways.
So, young and single, looking down the barrel of a fresh new year; pretty soon my focus was dating and exploring what was on offer in the market.
Disappointments, mistakes, confusion is basically how I would sum up that experience.
Feeling frustrated and annoyed after wasted months, one day I gave myself a stern talking to in the bathroom mirror. (Figuratively we're talking here of course).
Why was I dating? Because I could.
When I thought about it, did I actually want a relationship? No.
Was I even ready for one? No.
What's the thing that above all else is my focus and passion? My business and my career.
And there you have it. Months of flirting and flailing, looking for my purpose and it was right in front of me all along.
But how did I even fall into this trap in the first place?
If you ask me, from when we are raised as young girls (especially for women from my generation or older) there is this in-bred expectation that our life will see us settle down, get married have kids and fulfill our "womanly destiny" - usually in our early to mid adult years. (Before the wrinkles and the sagging starts to take hold). Sure these days there's more support and uplifting of women in careers and independence, but it's seen in conjunction with those "personal life successes".
But the thing is, that when these intentions start to form our thoughts and get into our psyches as young impressionable girls, we are what, anywhere between 6-13years old? And then the gap between those formative years and the time in our lives where those expectations should be coming to fruition is maybe a decade or two?? By the time we reach this age - there's been 10-20 years of change in community and social expectations!
There's absolutely no need these days for a woman to apologise for her career, or her independence, but yet we have these stresses and pressures for us to prove our achievements through a ring on a finger or a long term relationship and significant other, the existence of children etc. and mostly these are our own inner voices and expectations!
It all goes back to bucking the societal pressures of young women. Refusing to be pulled down by the weight of dated expectations. Don't get me wrong, there are some women who've genuinely found love and happiness with the right person, who gain honest fulfilment from experiencing marriage and motherhood early in their lives, and I'd never pass judgment on what choices make my fellow women peers happy. I'm saying that I've found freedom in being able to commit wholly to my businesses and my identity as a young career woman, and am stubbornly unapologetic for that.
So it's Saturday night tonight, if anyone's looking for me - I'll most likely being enjoying a wine somewhere at a bar, with my laptop.