A Different Set Of Choices Leads To…

I lie awake and think about how different my life could have been had I married my first boyfriend. Then, I think about my first boyfriend and how much of a “first marriage” that would have been and shudder with relief. Then, I realize that I am thinking about the relationship I had with a now married man (What the Hell!?) who really did want to get married and start a family, I just wasn’t willing to do that. And then: I think about people I know who did wind up marrying their first loves… cue: my parents.

…and then, I compare where I am now in my life to where my parents were at my age.

I’m by no means wishing I could live the same life my parents led! I gave that idea up when I decided to not marry my first boyfriend when I was 22. That decision made my life go in a completely different direction and now I am writing from an apartment I never could have guessed I would be living in at 25 in a borough I never thought I would be a resident of. Go figure.

My Dad was 25 when my mom and was pregnant. Granted, my mom was 30 when she had me so I will use the time line of my dad as a comparison as he was the same age I am now when I was born.

New York was a completely different place when my folks were here raising me in the early 90’s. The Upper West Side near Columbia University was probably like what Franklin Ave. in Crown Heights is today: There were a few unsavory types roaming the gratified streets and the corner deli probably still had chicken wire over the windows. Now, the UWS is an American Apparel sporting, Chase bank rocking, Chipotle eating, plethora of chain stores frequented by Gap wearing Columbia students and Gucci sunglass-ed momma’s punching in to their cell phones as they wait for the line of BMW’s to cross Broadway before making their way over to the over priced gourmet supermarkets to buy gluten free cookies.

My parents were struggling with bills and making ends meet as my Dad pursued a master’s in Library Science and Fatherhood. I remember eating a lot of “Tuna Wiggle” [Tuna Wiggle: A casserole-like stove top dinner recipe for the tight wallet consisting of canned tuna, rice, butter, milk and hard boiled eggs.] Now, at 25, I debate whether I want to buy myself a new pair of expensive leather shoes, or save the cash as plan a trip to China.

Is it that life in the 80’s was so different? A couple of my friends are getting married, but just a few, no mass marriage pile-up yet. Will that happen later? Like, when we’re all pushing 30? My parent’s friends were all getting married at my age, does 25 years make a difference to the marriage age? Or, is it that I live in an urban area and therefore the marriage age is higher?

I don’t know. What I do know is that at 25 I am feeling the urge to figure out something like a family and partner for life in a way that feels more biological than logical. (Again: Planning a trip to China and listening to the lady who does my nails bitch about how annoying her two kids are and her lazy husband not doing chores really turns me off of the whole “Family Life” thing for a whole lot longer!) But because this biological clock is going off, lying awake and thinking of what having a baby in my belly would feel like is more and more of a frequent occurence. And, when I do eventually have a family, I can’t wait to see what my kid thinks about what Mom was doing at 25. (I may just leave out the fact that I am sharing a room with my sister, and instead inflate the China thing to maybe that I was living there…)

October 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm by Natalie Allen