I got a text message from a band friend and TBS sister yesterday. It was a picture of her left hand, and her ring finger was sporting an impressive (and very beautiful) diamond engagement ring. I sent back an excited text and sat at my desk smiling like an idiot for a few minutes.
Then, my smile faded as I counted back the years between her age and mine.
Two years, maybe less.
The scary thing is that Alex IS her age.
I have been engaged previously, for two years, from when I was sixteen until I was eighteen. I wore a ring with two tiny diamonds for the majority of those two years on my left-hand ring finger. We were too young for it to feel real, though. It was always a far-off idea, something we wanted (or thought we wanted) but couldn't hope to attain for a long period of time. I didn't plan much of anything, even in my head, and a friend and I perused a wedding dress boutique for about twenty minutes one day. That was it. Marriage was an abstract idea, and I had a difficult time imagining it. In my head, it was never really "real." I won't deny what it was, or say that wasn't the ultimate goal, but marrying Joe was never something that I fully grasped, understood, or could envision completely.
Thinking about marriage, engagement, and pretty much being an adult in general is kind of a foreign concept to me, as much "experience" as I claim to have in that situation. I mean, I still whine about having to do the dishes after dinner when I go home, and I proudly display my crayons and coloring books in the living room of my apartment. I have a job and pay bills, but that's about the extent of my maturity.
People my age, and even younger, are wearing big diamond rings, having babies, planning weddings, moving in with spouses or even significant others, buying homes, graduating, and doing all kinds of big-person things. I can't even imagine myself being a mother, as much as I love kids. Right now, I will babysit them, not reproduce them, thanks very much. The idea of me planning a wedding is something I can imagine doing...but actually becoming a "Mrs." is a little bit different. Weddings are fun, and I like them. It's what comes AFTER that day that is still a bit murky to me.
Perhaps in the two years between me and graduation, I will grow. Maybe those two years are a big step in life, and I just have to wait for my personality to evolve around my age. There is a huge difference between a newborn and a two-year-old, and although my physical appearance won't change much (in all probability), perhaps I will mature in a different way. Two years can make a big difference.
It's not like I really want to lose the part of myself that likes coloring books and playing in the park. I never want to be old and serious. Just old and wise. Not an intellectual "wise," per-say, but a more appreciative, caring, and understanding "wise." I want to be able to fully understand and appreciate the gifts I've been given, through other people, and through myself.
I'm not going to go through the next two years staring at my left-hand ring finger. It's fun to dream, and imagine, and hope. It's good to have plans, to an extent. However, if there is one thing I've learned from my life so far, it's that life is unpredictable. Life always changes. So far, it's been exceeding everything I could have hoped for, and reality is turning out to be bigger and better than the plans I had made for myself. Why would I confine myself now?
I'm definitely not going to expect that in two years I will be ready to drop the "Bass." I may find that I'm ready next week.....or in five or ten years. I don't know... and the great thing about my relationship with Alex is that we usually move through things at about the same pace....usually. I am so content with where we are right now...having fun and enjoying one day at a time. I don't think I've ever laughed so much. Who knows? Maybe I won't end up marrying Alex at all. Maybe one day we will find that it's not what we want out of life. And who is saying I will ever get married at all, to anyone? I feel very strongly that at this point I'd like to be a wife and mom, but as I grow, I may change. That's the beauty about life's unpredictability: it's literally impossible to know EXACTLY what will happen down the road.
I don't know about you, but I really, REALLY like surprises, anyway.
I am not saying I'm not CRAZY ECSTATIC for my friends who have become moms, or are planning weddings. I love partying at weddings, and holding new babies, and buying shower gifts and being excited. I'm just not ready to be getting excited about myself, in that way.
I'm just excited to be actually graduating on time.
And here is a picture of trees that I took on campus day before last: