While putting the list together, I noticed the absence of many long-term, terribly expensive goals. The days of buy a car, apply to grad school, finish my law degree, finish my MBA, buy a house and survive five years of big law are over. Which brings me to what I'm enjoying about my mid-30s: I've achieved many of my big goals and, while doing so, built a strong and stable foundation... it's fine-tuning from here on out.
This has had an impact on how I view my relationships with men. Where I once wondered what I could do to impress someone I was dating (how can I be "good enough" for this person?), I'm now confident that I have done and am doing my best. Now, I spend my time wondering whether the person I'm dating enriches the life I've built (through friendship, intellectual curiosity, kindness, courage and stability) and, when the answer is "no," I don't feel despondent.
Do I still think about the family life I'm missing out on? Yes, I think of this often. I think of the experiences I am missing and how it's harder to fit in with women my own age because I'm not married and don't have children. The good news is that it's not the end of the world.
This time in my life is very peaceful and orderly--I'm in charge of my finances and they are in tip top shape, I'm in charge of my home and it's so clean and tidy you could eat off the floors (well, except for the time I let one of the partner's adult children stay at my house while I was out of down and returned to a complete disaster), and I'm in charge of my schedule and get to sleep in on the weekends. Would I be happy to trade this for a husband and house full of rambunctious kids? Yes. But if this is the consolation prize, I'll take it.
In 2016, at a high level, I want to:
- strengthen my relationships with family and friends;
- be of service to the community;
- maintain my home and make improvements that increase its value;
- deepen my professional experience and expertise;
- prepare for the future through disciplined personal finance and a more thoughtful approach to my health; and
- take a vacation.
What are you looking forward to in the new year?