Hey readers, I’m back. Again. I don’t have any good excuses. I can’t seem to keep up with my own personal blog, let alone an extra one and I guess I just got busy and completely neglected this one. But today I looked at the stats for this blog…and they show me that a lot of people still stop by and read, even though I’ve been MIA for over 10 months! Also, many people have written comments and have sent me messages…asking me where I’ve been (and no, unfortunately, I didn’t get married but fortunately I wasn’t eaten by wild dogs) and if I’m coming back. So here I am…I’m back. I’d love to promise that I’m going to be regular and faithful with writing, but I’ve failed enough times at that attempt to dare promise anything again. But, for the time being, I’m here, and I thank you for your comments. Your comments are what feed me…what keep me going…and what help me know that the time I spend writing is worth it and is, at least for the most part, appreciated. So thank you to those who comment.
Since I last wrote I’ve been traveling a lot…to Ecuador, Brazil, and India to be exact. I had a fantastic time in all three countries. I love traveling. It gives me new perspective on life. It helps me develop gratitude for all the many blessings I have. It helps me learn and makes me feel more well-rounded. I love meeting new people…both people with very different beliefs and backgrounds from mine, as well as other LDS people. I especially love meeting other LDS singles. I love that I can talk to someone with a very different culture and background (and often language) than myself, and yet we can have so much in common and have an instant bond because of our religion and marital status. I think that’s one of the reasons I like writing on this blog…and reading your comments. I love feeling like I’m not alone in this struggle. I love knowing that people I don’t even know are going through some of the same things I’m going through and are feeling some of the same things I’m feeling.
Also, since last writing, I turned 32. So scary. A little over three years ago my parents moved out of the country. I knew they’d be living abroad for three years. I was 28, almost 29 when they moved…and I knew I’d be 31, almost 32 when they returned. I remember thinking when they left how I’d be soooooo old when they got back. And how I thought I should for sure be married by the time they got back…and if I wasn’t, I’d surely sink into a pit of despair because any hope for my future life as a wife and mother would be lost. I guess that was a pretty dramatic thought. Because I turned 32 a couple months ago and I’m not in the depths of despair about it. Sure, every passing year I’m less likely to ever have children…I’m a little less hopeful that I’ll ever be married…that I’ll ever fit in…that I’ll ever feel, or be “normal.” In fact, I realized the other day that now that I’ve gotten soooooo old and am still not married that I’ll never really fit in anyway…because even if I got married this second and started making babies immediately, I’d still not fit in. I’d still be that person in the ward who “got married a little later in life.” I’d be having my first baby in my early thirties when most the other women having first babies would be in their early twenties. So I think, at least in the Mormon world, I’ll never be “normal.” But maybe that’s okay…maybe “normal” is overrated anyway. I like to think it is.
So I didn’t end up in a state of irreversible despair upon turning 32. Instead I find myself pushing along…one step at a time…even though the path I’m on is still a foggy mess. And, every year that passes I learn…I learn more about patience, and faith, and endurance…and more about myself. And every year that passes I have to pat myself on the back…for still being faithful, for being active in The Church, and for not giving up…even when I don’t feel like I always fit in at church…even when I sometimes feel lost and alone and confused about life. Each year that passes gets me one year closer to successfully enduring to the end. And I’m not saying that I’ve given up any hope for a family in this life and am just hunkered down in a state of endurance…that’s not how it is for me. I’m pushing forward and trying to not let my challenges become obstacles that stop me on my path or get me lost and way off course, but sometimes it is nice to look back and see that you’ve made it as far as you have.
I feel like the past couple of years, when it comes to the prospect of marriage and kids, I spend most of my time bouncing back and forth between hope and apathy…with the occasional moment of despair mixed in. Sometimes I remain in a state of hope for only a moment and other times I last for a few days, weeks, or even (occasionally) months. I think hope and apathy are what keep me from wallowing too long in a state of despair. Of course a hopeful outlook is the best outlook, but I feel that sometimes apathy is a healthy response too…it’s a survival response. Because sometimes it’s easier and safer to just not care than it is to fall into complete despair when I just don’t have the endurance to stay in a perpetual state of hope. This bouncing back and forth between apathy and hope is not a conscious thing…it just happens. I might hear a really uplifting talk, or have someone tell me they want to set me up with some awesome guy who is “just perfect for you,” or make a positive change in my life that makes me happier and more confident, and all of a sudden I am hopeful that I’ll marry, not someday, but soon. Then, sadly, my date with Mr. Perfect turns out to not be with my Mr. Perfect, or people bother me about not being married, and I become apathetic again…because it’s easier just not to care than to get hurt over and over again. But then something good comes up and hope is right back there…like a light that just can’t and won’t be completely extinguished, even if I sometimes wish it could be. This bouncing back and forth between apathy and hope is, I think, what keeps me somewhat sane and happy.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the pioneers. I guess the 24th of July or recent Martin’s Cove trek craze or something has had me thinking about the people who made the real trek. The thought came to me that there were many people who attempted to cross the plains who never made it to the promised land. But in the eyes of God they are no different than those who made it all the way. Because every person who took that first step of faith across the frozen Mississippi and who kept taking those footsteps of faith as long as they could, were faithful pioneers…because they were moving forward…they were doing what they had been asked to do…they had their eyes on the promised land. And those who died along the way were as faithful and will be as rewarded as those who actually stepped foot into the Salt Lake Valley. It was as if they made it all the way there because they made the decision to go…to head towards that promised land…and they didn’t give up…even when things were more difficult than they had planned for, or thought things would be. They kept moving forward as far as they could. And that was all that mattered. The path was the same for everyone, but the outcomes of the journey were different. Some made it all the way without any major loss or problems…others lost loved ones, health, or even their own lives. But each person with their eye on the goal and their hearts set on reaching the promised land will be equally blessed in the end.
And that’s all that matters with us too…that we keep moving forward. Even though we don’t know how far away our “promised land” will be…even if we don’t know what to expect when we get there or if we will ever, in this life, reach that destination. I’m not sure why some journeys are longer or more difficult or more confusing than others. I don’t know why some people find their “soul-mate” in high school and others have to wait years to, or never do. I don’t know why some have the desires of their hearts filled immediately and others of us have to wait. Of course I want to reach the modern Mormon “promised land” of marriage and family…of course none of us want to be the ones to not make it, or the ones who get delayed on the path and are late arriving. But we aren’t in control of everything…or maybe anything…anything but our attitude and the actions that move us forward.
Sometimes I feel really alone. My experience in life is very different from most of the people around me. And sometimes it’s easy to feel like there isn’t another person on earth who gets what I’m going through. But I can’t give up. I can’t give in. I cannot get discouraged and become faithless. I need to just keep moving forward, one step at a time, towards the promised land, and so do you. And if we don’t make it to that modern Mormon “promised land” in this life…well then so be it. The point is to just keep moving forward…because “the future is as bright as [our] faith.”
So hang in there…and so will I. In fact, don’t just hang in there, enjoy yourselves. Travel, learn new skills, serve, do something that challenges you, work on making yourself a better person, and don’t worry about the rest…don’t worry about what you can’t change, but do worry about (and do something about) what you can. And be happy now…don’t wait for some event to make you happy…happiness is not some goal to be reached or destination…it’s a way of life!