I’m not the type of person who likes to run late. I habitually show up early for meetings, doctor appointments, flights, movies – if I’m supposed to be there at a certain time, I try my hardest to get there ahead of schedule. However, sometimes something happens beyond my control and I end up getting someplace late – traffic is worse than usual, someone else is running behind schedule, I make a mistake – I really dislike when that stuff happens. Imagine my chagrin, then, when it seems like my whole life is running late.
“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!”
The Early Bird Gets the Worm…
I was your typical overachiever when I was growing up – mostly As, performing above grade level, taking college-level classes while still in high school. Early, I was running early, not late. My plans for my adult life were similar – graduate college early, get a rocking career doing something I loved, get married early, have kids early, buy a house. You name it, I was ready for it.
…Or Maybe the Night Owl?
Like many in our Millennial generation, I soon discovered that life had other plans for me. Instead of running early, I ended up running late. I struggled with various personal issues during my college years and graduated late. I did not get married in the time frame that I planned when I was younger. My career is not in the place where I thought it would be. I started grad school later than I anticipated. I don’t have kids yet and when or even IF I will have them is currently up for debate. I’m still renting.
I’m still accomplishing my dreams, I’m just accomplishing them later than originally planned. I am a college graduate. A year and a half after suffering through a really tough, life-changing breakup at 24, I married an amazing, wonderful man at 25. I’m currently in grad school and love it, even if I didn’t start until 27 and won’t graduate until I’m in my 30s. I know that I want to buy a house and have taken the appropriate steps to prepare, it’s just a matter of waiting for it to be the right time.
The Waiting Game
Waiting is hard. As much as I’d love to buy a house right now, I know it’s not the best time. My husband and I have actually come very close to buying a house on multiple occasions and soon after falling in love with a home, ended up needing to change our minds due to a change in our situation. We are prepared. We’ve saved up a down payment, we’ve gotten pre-approved before, we’ve been connected with a great Realtor, we know the areas we like, we know how much we can afford, we know what we want. We check off so many house-buying checkboxes. So, why are we waiting? Stability, we need more stability.
Right now, we’re both in grad school. My husband is also working full-time and I am freelancing part-time. As many know, freelancing is not an incredibly stable career. I feel lucky that my husband’s career allows me the freedom to only work part-time while I’m in school, to freelance remotely from home, and to try my hand at different entrepreneurship ideas, but this lack of stability makes it harder for us to commit to a home. I’m also in the process of potentially changing careers. When I started grad school, my life was in a different place than it is now. I had different plans. Now, I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing with my career once I finish my master’s degree. Luckily, I still have time to figure this out. However, so many unknowns do not contribute confidence to the decision to buy a house.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Sometimes I feel the need to mourn the dreams that didn’t come true. Occasionally my thoughts are haunted by spectres of such fairytales – a small, white house in Tallahassee where I am making dinner, aproned and barefoot, and two little girls run out to greet daddy as he comes home from work; a Georgetown courtyard in DC, perfectly manicured, my clothing effortlessly preppy and professional; a home on a road called Blueberry Hill, exquisitely painted in Paul Revere Pewter, with my home office in the dining room. I am a dreamer and a planner, and my dreams and plans give me hope. When that hope is extinguished, it is only natural to feel sad for a time.
“It’s a quarter past midnight, but we’re just getting going…Why are we always chasing after something like we’re trying to throw our lives away? Help me piece it all together, darling.”
However, that hope can be renewed. When the wick of one candle burns out, there is another candle waiting to replace it and burn with a new, joyful scent. So, I continue to dream, to plan, to hope, and to have faith that one day I will accomplish my goals, even if it’s a little later than I’d prefer.
“No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”
After all, so much of what I have now was once only a dream. I live in a beautiful apartment overlooking a pretty courtyard, I am married to someone who loves me and supports my goals, I have a bachelor’s degree and am working on a master’s degree. Years ago I lived in a rat-infested apartment, worried I’d be alone forever, and felt insecure about my educational accomplishments. Waiting for those things was tough, but now that they’re here it doesn’t matter as much that they ran late – what matters is that I have them. So, I try to be thankful for everything that I have and I try to remind myself that even if waiting is a pain, eventually I’ll accomplish what I set out to do and the waiting will be just a memory.
I wonder where my dreams will take me next?
What are some things that happened to you that did not go according to schedule? Tell us in the comments!