I vividly remember one day standing in the shower – because you somehow transform into a philosopher the minute you enter the shower – and panning out exactly how I want my life to be. I had created a mental to-do list for myself – everything I wanted to achieve and alongside each milestone was the age at which it had to be achieved.
Lets rewind back to the year 2007 , the first iPhone had just been released, Shrek The Third had just hit theaters and a sweet sixteen year old Anna was singing along to Nelly Furtado and 50 Cent (because who doesn’t love a promiscuous maneater in a candy shop?). This is the year she decided that she would be the director of her own life. She told herself that she wanted to have a boyfriend by the time she was 19, married between her 23rd and 24th birthday and a have child the following year.
Do you see anything wrong with this picture?
Ideologies on what success is for a woman was embedded in me long before I even knew the definition of the word. All the items on my checklist were not in my control – achievements that I had no control over. My goal in life was to get married. It wasn’t to get married to a certain type of human – a kind, sensitive humble man perhaps? Nope, it was to get married, period.
I won’t lie and say I have never thought about my wedding day, like most girls who grew up alongside me, I envision the day to be a certain way. However, I am not someone who has kept a “bride box” containing magazine cuttings of bridal gowns, rings, venues and bouquet arrangements. In fact, I was a diligent and hard working student at the girls’ high school I attended – one who wasn’t concerned with dating boys any time soon. So, you can imagine, I was a little shocked when I came to realize that the to-do list I had created for myself when I was 16 was based on the role of a woman in the last century.
I think it is imperative for us to recognize how close-minded we once were or still are and take a step towards improving this. Today, being 23, and being nowhere close to a married life with children. I can (safely) say that I have failed to tick off an item on my to-do list. I couldn’t think of anything more hindering than having children in my life right now, I have so much to see in this world, so much of my career left to explore, I can’t commit to a city let alone my own family – I would be a terrible parent!
And, its important, its important for me to recognize the silly expectations I had placed on myself. It is even more important for me to learn from it and to ensure that the generation ahead of me won’t have just “marriage” on their to-do list. When I grow up I want to be a happy and ambitious being. What about you?