We are no longer cool, hip, going out on weeknight newlyweds (although did we ever do that anyway?). We are now two thirty-something adults with real jobs (public affairs for me, firefighter for him) with real salaries and real bills. We have a two-bedroom home. We have a gardener and a bi-weekly cleaning service. We own an SUV and a truck. We vacation about twice a year, and we’re expecting our first little one in less than 5 weeks.
We are an average, nothing-spectacular thirty-something couple with a baby (on the way).
I get pings of jealousy as I watch my friends who live in major cities and live a much faster and cooler-looking lifestyle than I do. Or I watch other friends that work as freelancers or have their own business and get to set their own hours and they’re not tied to a 9-5 lifestyle.
But the pings of jealousy are always brief—an almost daydream of “what if?” Don’t we always wonder about some of our decisions and how things would have been different if we had followed a different path?
What if, six years ago, I had decided to take that job teaching English in Vietnam? Meeting Eric less than three months later would have most likely never happened.
It still boggles me how we have ended up here.
And most surprisingly, I guess, is that despite how ordinary we appear to everyone else, how unbelievably boring our life must seem, how uncharacteristically average we are, I am still immeasurably happy with where we are today.
My greatest joy comes from setting up the nursery and choosing curtain panels and folding baby clothes, while watching my husband build a closet from scratch or setting up the crib. When I walk hand-in-hand with my husband around our neighborhood and I think how just a few years ago we were living in a shack and forced to buy grocery store frozen pizza because we could no longer afford pizza delivery, I know that I never dreamed that this could really be a possibility for us.
How did we get to be so lucky? How does my average-looking life bring me so much happiness and joy?
Some may say that we have settled for a life in the suburbs. But if this is what settling is, I am unbelievably happy with our decision.
I am baffled and amazed by how the choices I have made in my past have led me to where I am today.
And I don’t know how the choices I make in the future will affect where my life will lead.
But I do know one thing for sure: I will never drive a minivan.