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The Trouble With Following Your Own Path

I had seven bridesmaids. Two of them are my twenty three year old sisters. The other 5 will all have children by this October. Actually, 4 out of the 5 are currently pregnant and one just had her second child a few months ago. I keep thinking: what a happy anomaly! All of my friends will have kids the same age!

I am truly happy for them. But then I look at myself: living abroad, spending my time not even remotely trying to get pregnant, traveling 2 weeks out of every month, and treating dogs like human children. When I told Michael that all of my friends were pregnant, and wow, isn't that crazy?! He looked and me and said, “It's time.” I kind of hate when he acts wise and know it all, but it's true. We are 30 years old. The normal thing to do is to have kids, start a real family, create a legacy.

But for whatever reason, my brain missed that memo. I honestly look at myself sometimes and wonder: why don't you want that?

I don't believe in doing things because others are too. If I did, I'd be working on having kids right now. I know that bearing children is one of the most amazing things the human body can do. I look up to my Mom fiercely. I applaud all those that are trying to have kids, raising them, or are pregnant right now. Let me tell you clearly: this post is not about whether having kids is wrong or right. It's clearly the right thing to do for you, and one of the most incredible achievements. This post is my internal struggle that my path might not be the same.

Having a family is beautiful, inspirational, and necessary for the continuation of the human race. But I can’t help but wrestle with one specific question when it comes to this topic. That question is “Why?” Why am I not on this path?

The hard part, that I think many don't realize, is that following your own path can feel very lonely sometimes. Yes, I have friends and yes I've made friends, but people have no idea what it's been like. And… many just don't ask. How difficult, drawn-out, and taxing it was. Or how we don't have the comforts of home, we don't know the language, and how I can't even find a normal ice tray. But because this path is so different I know people might not understand or even think to ask.

As a society we tend to be arrogant about age. We do almost everything we can to prevent it, but we should celebrate growing old and doing what we want with life. I am terrible at trying to move past my age and what I've accomplished so far. Often, I worry that I haven't achieved enough with my life. But the truth is I am living out my dream, even if it's fraught with hardships.

I think the true key to happiness is to do what you love. Whether that is having kids, traveling, owning a home, or something totally off the wall. I will fully admit that I'm hard headed. I tend to not understand why people don't want the same things I do. Why spend money on a designer purse when you could come visit me abroad? Why rack up a bar tab when you could take a trip? I'm starting to understand that the fact that we all want different things out of life makes us who we are. It's what makes the world so interesting and it also means the line at the Colosseum won't be quite as long. We all have a personal calling in life, and I think mine might be seeing the world a bit differently.

I used to be and I AM terrified of change. If you can believe it, I am a homebody. Despite the fact that I left home and moved to a country that I've never stepped foot in, I hate leaving home. I'm beginning to understand that change is necessary and good, and it can bring about the best. There's safety in consistency, but by not taking the chances that you want to live your dream life is terrifying. Even more terrifying is the thought of going to a job you hate everyday, making that commute you hate, or living a life that just isn't fulfilling.

We tend to think in life in terms of the crossing off our to do list: graduate college, get a great job, get married, buy a home, have kids, cross the white picket fence finish line. But life doesn't have to be that specific. We can choose our own path.

I think I'm somewhere in between. Yes, that is cliche because this blog is called Helene in Between, but I love a good cliche. I can tell you that this journey of moving abroad has been one of the absolute hardest things I've ever done in my life. I hope to write a blog post one day that fully explains why in interesting details. But that's not what this post is about. Despite this being difficult, I am currently the happiest I've ever been.

I think it's essential to keep asking why. Why settle in life? Work to do what makes you feel alive. Whatever that is.

Comments

[…] My favorite blog post: The Trouble With Following Your Own Path […]

Nichole Pricha Stockman

Helene, I have followed you for the past few months and you have been one of the biggest reasons I decided to start my own blog. My husband and I moved abroad, to Thailand. Anyways, this post really hit me in the feels on so many levels. I felt the exact same way when we decided to move, and started making plans. So many people asked me but why? BUT WHY WHAT? We have the opportunity to live in another country! I think a lot of people are scared of change, but are stuck in their routine of their lifestyle that it’s not easy for them to accept that idea. I got the ‘shame on you’ look from so many people because we quit our jobs, and had to leave our dogs behind. I don’t expect everyone to understand our decision, but instead of questions what are plans are once we get back to the states, why not ask what we get to see and do while we’re abroad. It’s incredibly frustrating. While of course, someday I’d like to settle down I believe there’s so much opportunity in this world. That may be selfish and hardheaded of me. However, I’d rather be happy with my life forty years down the road instead of working my life away. So THANK YOU for sharing.

Oh! I love this post! SOOO encouraging to me right now. I can relate to everything you said! It isn’t always easy following our path but it is good!

I definitely think this is something we can all relate to. It’s weird because when you’re younger you think there’s a set path to life but then once you get older you really realize that there’s no such thing. We’re at that age where weddings and babies are EVERYWHERE, but I’m with you on just wanting to travel and spoil my furchild, haha.

Gosh, I love this! It is a struggle to not feel left out when the kid thing starts happening to your friends. I’ve seen first hand people having kids just because they turned 30, and they look completely miserable now. Meanwhile I’m enjoying my spotless house and freedom. I don’t we should feel guilty about that.

Glad to have found your blog – I can so relate to this Helene! I moved from Sydney to London two years ago and it’s been the best thing ever, but also very challenging. The hardest part is the occasional FOMO (especially when it’s 2 degrees here and everyone’s at home posting beach pics ?) and just feeling in general that we’re living in a bit of a limbo land. I’m 27 and can’t really see kids on my horizon anytime soon. I just want to travel more, learn about different cultures and enjoy living in another country! Good on you for following your heart – it takes a lot of resilience and courage!

First of all, WOW at all the comments you are getting on this blogpost. A testament to how AMAZING it is and how refreshing to hear this perspective.
Forge your own path, do what you love, never stop searching for happiness and creating the life you want for yourself – those are all SO true and SO important. Never settle for anything less than you deserve.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your motivation with us. It’s important to be constantly be reminded of it because pursuing your dreams isn’t always easy, especially when it’s outside the norm, but it’s refreshing to hear that it’s worthwhile.

Posts like this make me sad because I wish there was a way we could just reach in our brains and turn off the “I’m not doing enough/the right thing/what everyone else is doing” switch. We all have our own paths and honestly, I think finding that path-whether it looks exactly like we thought it would or nothing like we thought it would-is the best thing we can do in life. I think you’re doing a GREAT job at that.

Helene, I’m 34, have been with my husband (who is 43) for 12 years, and I feel the EXACT same way. We have a home (and a second home), a fur child we spoil and travel 2-3 weeks out of the year. I always assumed someday I get that maternal pull, but it never happened so we made the conscious decision years ago to just keep our life as is: satisfying, fulfilling, and child-free. Luckily, we have enough people in our life close to us that we can get the kid fix when needed without the full-time responsibility! Cheers to you doing you =)

I am so glad to hear i’m not the only one in this boat. yes, it is so nice to be able to hang out with kids- I love my neice and nephew! just not sure it’s my path.

bravo…and I totally agree. That’s exactly what I’ve done in life – and now in my early 40’s, I am very pleased that I have done this and not followed ‘convention’. There is nothing more selfish and unfair in life than to bring a child into the world because you feel you ‘have’ to. It’s very much unfair on the child.
And then there’s the patronising people who say ‘Ahh – but you wait until it’s your own child’, implying we will suddenly get all maternal and want to change our life’s path. Er, excuse me, but I think I know myself more than anyone.

My humorous fiction novel ‘Girl Gone Greek’ deals with this issue in a light way (pardon the self promotion!)

I am SO happy to hear that. I think over time we worry- did we make the right decision? But you have to just do what’s right for you. And YES we know ourselves better than anyone else!
Will have to look into that book for sure.

Such a good, heartfelt and honest post. I am turning 30 in three weeks so I really can relate to everything you are saying here. It’s a struggle sometimes between what you think you SHOULD be doing (according to society), and then what your heart truly wants to do. I try to stay focused and follow my own heart, even when I often question my choices. Keep doing what you love, girl!

Thanks so much for your kind words – and happy almost birthday! There is always a balance between what we want and what we need to do for ourselves, even if what society tells us is different.

This might be my favorite post you’ve written. I love reading everything you put out but this piece in particular really hits home for me. Most of my friends are married and are just on the cusp of getting ready to start families. I don’t want kids and it’s an incredibly lonely feeling sometimes. I’m hoping that one day i’ll find someone who shares my passion for travel and who also doesn’t want kids. It’s a difficult path but it’s the life I want, even if a lot of people don’t understand it. I’m so proud of you and Michael for taking the leap to move abroad! I’ve loved following your experiences. If i’m ever in Heidelberg i’ll be sure to bring you a normal ice tray from the states :-]

I feel like you just described me there ♥. I love traveling, and as I’m getting nearer my 30’s, the idea of having a kid hasn’t even popped in my mind. And I actually think that what makes me think of it less and less is the fact that people try to push it hard into our minds like it is the one and only way in your thirties.

http://www.dangerouslyme.com/

Stay true to you Helene! Living in the in-between is more than okay if it works for you. This is where you are at in life right now – who knows where you’ll be or how you will feel about life choices in say… two years from now? Sounds like you are happy and content with life how it is for now. There’s not too many people around who can honestly say that is so. Enjoy living life on your own path. 🙂 Xx

[…] writes about the trouble with following your own path. I can definitely […]

Oh man, can I understand this! Such a lovely post. I just moved from Texas to Valencia, Spain, even though I hadn’t been to Spain since I was 7 and only knew high school Spanish. For me, I always knew I didn’t want kids, but struggled with that expectation of corporate job success after college. Now, I write, I’m looking for remote work, I’m learning Spanish, and I’m happy most of the time. And butt-clenchingly anxious sometimes. But that’s good too! Life outside my comfort zone is pretty cool. Much love!

I love this post, I love how much I dont feel alone! Im 28 and always said I would have a house by the time I was 30. (ill be 29 this year). But now im sitting here all like I dont want a house, I dont want children, I dont want that kind of responsibility. There is still lots of the world I want to see and worry that by having these *Life Experiences* it will mean giving up on what I really want. My boyfriend proposed last year and I said yes, but since then its been very clear from both of us that this would be a long engagement as neither of us want to give up on travelling the world. Im just glad that im not the only one who doesnt want children yet or a home or to give up on the things I want. And that the whole life plan sometimes isnt how it turns out and that thats still okay, I feel a little less selfish!

http://www.firstforeverything.co.uk

Love this – thank you so much for sharing so openly and honestly. My husband and I are 28 and we just had our last set of “couple friends” have their first baby. (And they have also all bought houses.) And while we’re super happy for them, we’re feeling a little weird about it too. We don’t want to buy a home or have kids – at least not yet, we’re still undecided – and sometimes it feels like we’re sort of being left behind. We’ve even had a couple friends cut us off after they had their first baby. I was heartbroken. Anyways, this has all made me get out of my comfort zone, meet new people, engage in new activities, and get involved in my community which have all been such fulfilling and rewarding experiences.

I think one of the most difficult part as we get older is seeing that all these people we once shared a path with choose different paths. I haven’t reached a point where my close friends are having kids but no matter how much I love and adore them as people I still can see we aren’t on the same life journeys. That doesn’t make us any less of friends it’s just an adjustment!

Great post by the way! I love when you share your personal insights into life like this <3

I used to, scratch that sometimes still, struggle with the fact that I’m not where everyone else seems to be. I come from a small town & especially with my 10 year reunion coming up I can’t help but look at where everyone else is at. I look at everyone else & not only will I be one of very few people who not only doesn’t have kids & isn’t married, but is flat out single. After talking to a couple of girls I graduated with last summer, my perspective did change a little. I was talking about how I would look at everyone’s Facebook & see how they were happily married and having kids & here I am still single & struggling to figure out what I want to be when I “grow up.” But then they told me the same thing. That they look at my Facebook & get jealous that I moved 1000 miles away from home without knowing anyone. That I’m always traveling & going on concerts while they’re at home with their families still nearby if not in our hometown. Between that conversation, & just being at the point in life where I care less about worrying about 5 years from now & just enjoying right now, I realized I’m just fine. That my path isn’t the same as everyone else’s & that’s ok because I’m happy just doing me. And as much as I want the whole marriage & kids thing, I also know that I’ve survived up until this point without it & I would survive just doing my thing if it doesn’t. There’s also a song by American Aquarium called “Losing Side of Twenty Five” that I love & it’s kind of about the different paths that people take.

I think it’s great you’re being brutally honest with yourself about what you want and don’t want right now. I was the same at 30 – didn’t want kids and was never very maternal. When people brought their babies into the office, I was the one still at my computer working rather than cooing over them. But I hit 32, and then I suddenly did. Now, this is not a ‘just you wait’ comment, not at all. You may hit 32 and feel the same as you do now, and that’s cool. But living abroad and having kids can mix, this is our third country now and my son is 7. We decided to only have one, partially to make this kind of flexible life possible. So should the desire to have children come, it doesn’t have to mean everything else that makes your life amazing has to end. It really took me seeing some friends of ours living in a nice apartment downtown, and toys weren’t everywhere, and their kids were interesting, and they did things other than just ‘family stuff’ to make me realize that having kids didn’t have to mean surrendering to a suburb life of plastic toys and never ever going anywhere again. Like everything, there are many paths to walk, and should you want to have kids, it will still be your life, and you can decide how it goes.

I love this. I love how you always shed light on the every day nuances of living abroad. I think it’s hard to not just think that once you get what you want everything will be easy… once you move abroad everything will quick but obviously it doesn’t! Obviously it’s hard work, like anything.
I’m 23 so I struggle with the kids thing a lot. I find more and more of my friends are deciding they don’t want kids, but then looking to me and saying ‘when do you want them?’ as if it’s a given I will… it’s odd. But it’s also tiring to be asked whether you want kids or not. No matter what you answer someone has an opinion, not having kids is met with ‘are you sure?’ and ‘you’ll change your mind’. Saying you want kids is met with incredulous looks, people asking when and how many, and many many assumptions about your career and your life.
So yeah sometimes (all the time) being a woman is tough and people need to back off. There’s nothing wrong with you, carve out your own path girl you’re doing great and I admire you.

If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend this book: https://www.amazon.com/Selfish-Shallow-Self-Absorbed-Sixteen-Decision-ebook/dp/B00JI0W6VE I still haven’t fully decided whether to have kids, but reading essays by people who have made that decision – sometimes on purpose..sometimes not so much – made me feel a lot better about the potential of being “different” in this regard. Keep doing you – it’s inspiring.

AMEN!! I just turned 27 and am not getting married or having babies any time soon. I’ve been in a committed LDR for 5 years now and I’m grateful that no one has ever really asked me, “when you you getting married? when are you having kids?” Maybe I give off this aura and people just know to not ask. Or maybe it’s something else. Either way, I’m just trying to live mah life to the fullest, sans-the status quo.

http://www.insearchofsheila.com

I am glad to hear this! I think we just have to focus on the path that works for us and not worry about what others will think.

Alright! A really well written blog girl! 🙂 My comments are a few… I agree with you on a lot points you make. When it comes to buying a designer bag instead of traveling – I say how about both? I love both traveling and owning nice stuff, so I try to do both moderately. I walk away from some bags thinking this means no summer trip this year but I also try to work more and do side projects to meet both. 🙂 As for kids…. I too have lots of friends with kids and I feel the older we grow without having kids the harder it becomes to want one. It’s sort of like giving up your freedom for the sake of having a career/family. Especially for us travelers, kids scare us in thinking they will hold us back. But I know I still want to have at least one. I guess a question for you in making a decision is being comfortable not having anyone younger to constantly have around when you’re much older. I personally think it’s best now to not have kids and be free to travel and do as I wish but I always fear being older and not having that 1-2 children who will feel up my home with joy, laughter and care. Something to consider because as we age to 50’s and up then we may want to redirect our energy into giving our love back to our kids.

Thanks so much for this comment! I will say this: I am very weird about designer stuff. I don’t get it at all. To me, a bag is a bag. My Fossil bag is 7 years old and has lasted for years and years. I just think life is about what you make it and I don’t see how a designer purse, clothing, etc leads to great memories. If you can tell me how it does I am all ears because I know I’m in the minority in this.

I don’t think I’m not having kids because they would hold me back, I truly just don’t think they are for me. But definitely great for others! I am going to have so many dogs running around I’m not worried about being lonely.

Yes yes yes. I’m from Texas, married at 23, and have been in LA the past 4.5 years. Everyone back home is already having kids (or their second) and are homeowners, whereas my husband and I live in a tiny one bedroom apartment with our 75 pound dog and will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary this fall. I’ve always wanted kids, but even within the past year or so, I’ve gained this newfound independence and lust for travel. I’m still learning to take care of myself – exercising regularly, balancing my blogging and acting with the “day job”, and just finding time to eat. I’m putting my priorities and money into traveling, and though those things can’t happen with kids, I’m just not ready yet. We said a couple years ago that we’d start seriously considering trying to have kids when I turned 29. But even that seems so close! I still don’t have my life figured out yet, and though possible, it’s not ideal to have a child in the space we have now. But I’m 4 miles from the beach! I love LA! I love cheap flights out of this airport and all the weekend destinations close by!

Anyway, yesterday I actually wrote a post about just DOING the things you want to do – about making your happy..well, happen. People like to sit in envy of what others are doing, and I think to myself – you could be doing those same things! You wanted to live abroad, so what did you do? YOU MOVED ABROAD. <3 I love following along on your journey!

The post is here if you'd like to check it out: https://wonderlandsam.com/2017/05/24/life-is-effort-and-so-is-your-happy-spring-gardening/

Haha I lived in a tiny apartment with hugo (our doberman) and it was HILARIOUS. I am picturing this right now! And yes, I am with you on learning to take care of myself- I am still learning that as well. And I think you don’t have to have life figured out in order to have kids but I think you just have to figure out what makes you happy. That’s what really counts. Thanks so much for the kind words and can’t wait to check out the post!

Yasss! Some people might call it selfishness by not having kids, traveling, and seeing what the world has to offer, but I call it living your happy 🙂

This is a REALLY great post Helene!! Thank you for sharing this! 🙂

Thanks so much Ashley! I appreciate it!

I’m in this weird scenario where I really am not surrounded by my friends having babies. I actually have very close friends who are totally past the point of having children and are totally fine with it. They have spent their life doing what THEY want to do. Staying out late or sleeping in. Traveling on a whim. Living their life, doing it up big! Everyone is different and everyone has a different path, like you talked about. Your path took you on an amazing adventure that wouldn’t be possible with kids and I think that is absolutely amazing. I’m not sure what my path is yet, hopefully I’ll figure that out soon!

Well i should say, none of my guy friends do. So all the girls, but none of the guys! (okay not every girl, but a lot of them!) And I think that’s true- you don’t HAVE to know your path just yet.

Thank you for writing this! I felt like I was nodding my head along with every sentence. Having just wrapped up a year of travel with my husband (and also being 30, no kids, and wondering if/when the ‘itch’ is ever going to hit) I can completely relate to the struggles of trying to figure out a path for yourself that is different from the people closest to you.

My favorite part of your post is how you mentioned that although there have been some really intense hard times in pursing your own path, you are the happiest you have ever been. I completely agree with this-it can be so difficult and at times sad to feel your relationships change as your goals take you farther away from home, but somehow you are still so happy because you’re doing what you’re meant to be! I love to see people living out their dreams, which is one of the reasons why I love your blog so much!

Thanks so much for reading this Megan- it means so much. I truly am happy and I think that just proves we HAVE to follow our dreams. I am so happy to hear you are living your dreams and traveling to boot!

I totally agree with you and I really wish I had your insight when I was in my 20’s. I was in constant pursuit of the American dream. When I look back, I really didn’t want to live THAT dream. It was society’s dream not mine but I made it mine because I was feeling pressured into making a decision. I’m trying to change that with our kids and steering them in a direction that follows their dream…whatever they may be. I’m now blogging and doing things that fill me with joy instead of pursuing things that fill the expectations of society. Thanks for writing this raw and honest post Helene!

Oh really, I was too. I think we all are in that “dream” but we don’t stop to think about what we want. My husband and I bought our home and it looked like we’d be following a “normal” path, but then everything changed. And I am so so so happy to hear you are raising kids to live their dreams. My parents CERTAINLY did and it means the world to me.

Honestly, I don’t want kids. I’ve never wanted them. I’m not maternal or nurturing. And it took me so long to realise that that’s ok! All I want from my life is to be able to afford to travel and enjoy myself. Right now it’s hard because of illness, and being unable to even get a full-time job, let alone one I enjoy. You’re such an inspiration to me, and I admire how brave you were to take the plunge and move abroad. If I ever get enough money, I want to make a similar leap. This post was really refreshing to read, as I still get so much flack for deciding getting married and having kids aren’t important to me.

Kayleigh x

YES! I am so happy to hear someone just say it. Thank you for that. I really appreciate your candidness. It means a lot. And thank you so much for your kind words- they mean more than you know. Especially when close friends don’t even ask… well anything. And I wish you nothing but luck in the future. IT is hard work, but it is worth it.

Thanks for always replying with such lovely comments! Some bloggers don’t bother, and it’s really nice to follow someone who clearly appreciates getting feedback and tries to always respond xx

oh girl, YES. thank you so so much for reading and responding. I can’t tell you how much it means to me.

I can completely relate to how you feel. I think we all have to live on our own paths and not the paths society expects from us. I’m happily married now for five years and a homeowner but we’ve stalled at the whole kid thing. I know that’s the next step everyone expects but something about it just seems off right now. I just turned 30 this year too and the husband is 31 so everyone kind of is expecting now to be our time since you know my biological clock is ticking but neither of us are ready yet and would rather see where life leads us.

Yes! Growing up catholic, I always felt like I was just not doing it right. But maybe what is right for them won’t work for me. I am the same! married 6 years, homeowner, but no kids. And I think taking time to decide is TOTALLY normal. And a good thing.

I’m always here to chat about weird ice trays and how you cried at the supermarket because someone didn’t understand you and was rude (lol well YOU maybe didn’t but I certainly did out of frustration while living abroad!). <3 I get you girl!

There's a phrase I've read around the Mommy blogs that's like, 'Good for her, not for me.' which I think really applies to this post! It can be lonely being different and on another path (but that's what the Internet and Instagram are for lol)

http://www.speakathometonight.com

Haha girl yes I definitely need to do that more often with you. Honestly… why can’t I find normal ice trays?!

and I love that saying- I need to have that on my desk 🙂

I know what you mean. Right now I’m not following the path everyone is. I’m trying to look for other things. Things that are making more happy, but at the same time I feel more stressed because I’m not sure if what I’m doing is the correct thing. I always say, we didn’t come to this world to just work and pay bills. It’s much more than that! We don’t have to settle for what should be the “correct” path.

xx, Melissa
https://elephantontheroad.com

I am so happy to hear that Melissa. And I totally think our paths can change over time, but it’s just so important to live life on our own terms. And settling should never be part of it.

Ariel Cotton Green

I’m totally with you, Helene. I’m 29 and have been married for 5 years (together for 13!) and I see my friends having kids and buying houses. I do want that someday, but not now. I know some of our family and friends think we’re crazy since we’ve told them we’re moving to Japan soon, but it’s our path. It’s nice to know that we’re not the only ones struggling with having life plans that differ from the norm.

OMG are we the same person!? Married for 6 together for 13 this November! That’s so rare and cool that we have that in common. I think that it’s an incredible journey and I can tell you from firsthand experience, it’s been WONDERFUL for me.

I relate to this SO MUCH! My fiance & I are getting married young by East Coast standards, but don’t plan on having kids for awhile, against Midwest standards and what our families have done. It’s been so hard, we’ve led our own lives, often going against what one set of our parents have done or families. Love this, I teared up a little bit because I feel understood.

Ahh I totally was the same way- well got married young (24) but then don’t want kids. It’s a conundrum really and a lot of people forget to ask- hey what do you want and why!?

Awesome read! Very honest and true. I am a mother of 2 kids and I love my life. That doesn’t mean it is for everyone. I have seen people get married and have kids because everyone else around them were doing so. In the end, they get divorced and almost have a sense of resentment toward their kids… So sad.

Thanks so much for reading Jolene and so glad that a mother came here to say this- it means a LOT. I worried that parents would think I was bashing them… I HATE articles like that. Because, really, we were all brought into the world somehow! I agree- you just have to live life on your own terms

For most of my twenties, I dreaded talking to my parents about whether or not I’ll get married and have kids. But in the last couple years or so, they’ve actually come to me and told me that they don’t have a burning desire to be grandparents. That took a lot of pressure off of me. I have friends and family members who think that because I haven’t settled yet that i’m immature, but I’ve been at the same job for almost seven years, I travel, I have pets who I love and care for. I’m very much of the mindset of “When it’s supposed to happen it’ll happen.” For now, I’m trying to build my life the way I want it. I wish more people were willing to step out like that.
Thanks for being honest, and your travels always look like so much fun!

Well that is wonderful and so good to hear that they are supportive! For the record, mine are very much so. I agree- we have to just focus on the life WE want to lead and not worry about what others think.
And thank you! I am having a blast!

Great read! By the way, it’s totally okay to not want kids. I don’t think everyone can and should (took me a while to realize this).
Your honesty about life and struggles moving abroad is so admirable.
Indeed, we all have different callings in life and realizinf that could be a major breakthrough. It’s unfortunate how many know this but don’t take heed (maybe due to fear of judgement etc).
Please keep leaving and never conform! Looking forward to read the details of the move and the challenges.
We’re rooting for you here!

Totally, everyone is on a different path and kids might not be on mine! But sometimes I feel like that’s bad. Could be my catholic guilt. haha!

Thanks so much for your kind support!

Haha very much possible. I know my faith is a big part of why I want kids and why I judged those who didn’t want any. But the reality is, same way there’s choice on whether or not to marry, there’s choice on whether or not to conceive. When I realized this, I stopped judging.

I can relate on so many levels! I’ve lived abroad since graduating in 2010 and have grappled with all these thoughts/issues at one point or another (especially wondering why some friends/family have never made it a priority to visit…). I’m getting married (in Europe) next month and each “No” RSVP stings a bit, especially from close friends and family who could certainly afford it were it a priority. But as you’ve mentioned in a past post, there are consequences/ramifications to this lifestyle… and I chose it! So I am trying to focus instead on all the people who ARE coming to celebrate (and have visited!) and be grateful 🙂 And not judgmental of our different priorities, easier said than done 😉 On a different note, it sounds like you have a pretty traditional group of friends… I’m 29 (from the northeast) and have a few friends who are married but no babies yet. We have time!!! (If we want it 😉 I’m giving myself at least 4 years to warm up to the idea of shifting my priorities to family vs. a free and adventurous life! Ps. This blog post about finally feeling ready for kids at 35 has stuck with me for years! (though not wanting kids at all is totally legit too 😉 http://www.elementsofstyleblog.com/2015/05/on-waiting.html

YES! I already know I am going to get my feelings hurt. I see myself doing that and I think: helene you gotta get over it. But i know that when people don’t visit it’s going to bug me. I bet that is hard to not have people come to the wedding but as someone who dind’t fly home for a close friend’s I can kind of understand why. IT IS a long haul to come. I love the idea of giving yourself time to see if you want kids eventually. really great idea. thanks so much for sharing what’s on your heart

I think my biggest mistake early in life was thinking that I needed to follow that “American Dream” to-do list path. I graduated from high school, started college at the only one I ever even applied to (going there was part of “the plan” from the start, ya know?), and expecting to get married, get a job, have babies, etc etc etc. The best thing I ever did was realize halfway through college that THAT wasn’t what I actually wanted at all. So I break up with the boyfriend, leave that college, find my life wide open ahead of me and now that I’m 30 I can promise you that NOT following that path was the best thing I ever did. I college hopped, lived in different cities, married a totally amazing guy (that I never would have met had I not changed it up so,) moved across the country, have traveled lots, and have no plans on buying a house and completely settling down yet. It’s good this way. Sometimes I look at people back home who are married, living in a house they’ve owned for over a decade, and who already have 2-3 kids, and I go…good for them, but glad it’s not me. They’re happy, but I’m happy too.

Yes I so agree with that. I thought I HAD to do a,b,c, in that order and don’t steer from the path. And I was like you- applied to one college and went to it. etc. I am really really happy to hear that you changed up your life which brought you more happiness. I think I just got chills thinking about that. Because SO MANY people don’t and I really think they are unhappy because they are just not listening to their inner self saying NO!
And knowing that it’s okay that they are happy and that you are too is the best possible outlook for life.

I hear you on this. I definitely know the struggle of moving abroad, and I probably talk about it too much. I still think this live hubby and I are living is incredible and a gift. Kids have always been the dream, even more than living abroad, so it’s been hard to realize that the decision of when and where isn’t as easy as it once was (back when I lived closer to family, back when I didn’t travel so much, etc…) This life, it’s a beautiful complicated thing. I definitely agree that peoples’ unique paths and choices are what make it interesting.

I think talking about it is therapeutic- at least… I do! haha. For me, I had no idea that I’d move abroad, so it’s been a crazy life turn. And yes, we have to make the choice for what we think is best- whatever that is.

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