By Courtney Dercqu*
“You’re never going to be ready.”
This is what my grand-mom told me right before she died. I was venting to her, fearful about finally getting out on the road to take my driver’s test, when she looked at me and said something I’ll never forget.
Ten years later, and I’m taking her advice and applying it to everything I know: love, romances, college, finally deciding on a career and, for once, actually sticking to it. My grandmother was wise – but this – this was the wisest reasoning of all.
So often in life, we think that there is a timeline.
22 years old: I need to have graduated with my Bachelor’s degree. Naturally, within the next few months I need to be working in my field – working as a waitress or bartending on the weekends is not an option.
23: I should have found the man I’m going to marry – despite whether or not he’s actually proposed
24: I should be getting engaged and spending countless hours planning my wedding
25: I should transition from Ms. à Mrs.
26: I should be buying our first house
27: I should be trying for a baby and naturally getting pregnant without any trouble
30: My life – at least the part that deals with my identity – should be sorted out
It all sounds perfect, right?
But the reality is that those guidelines – those timelines we make for ourselves – are just that: guidelines. They aren’t certain, and they shouldn’t be, because as the old saying goes, “life is what happens when you’re too busy making plans.”
About ten years ago, I had it all figured out. When I was 16-years-old, having a conversation over my fear of getting behind the wheel, I already knew how my life would end up: graduation, college, marriage, motherhood (in that order).
Do you want to know what really happened? I got married at 18-years-old, got divorced at 21, spent four whole years being single, and finally graduated with my degree after five long years, and guess what? I’m 25 and still have no clue what it is I want to do with my forever.
And that’s okay with me because after everything I have been through, understanding that I’m not fully ready to understand is what is most comforting about my life.
I’ve been through a lot of changes during times when I wasn’t ready for them. I wasn’t ready to be a wife when I was 18-years-old. I wasn’t ready when I wanted a baby two years later. I wasn’t ready to be faced with a divorce, to start over, and to face vulnerability for the first time in a long time.
But because I wasn’t ready, I received the things that I needed most: an opportunity to view my life in the way I was meant to – to view it optimistically when yet another relationship had met its end, to push toward love when it was outside my comfort zone and, in the end, reap the most wonderful rewards like a guarantee that I’d met my soul-mate that will last me forever.
My grandmother told me that I’d never be ready.
I think that’s completely true. Because there’s nothing more frightening than falling in love, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t worth it.
*Courtney is today's guest blogger and is pursuing her BA degree in English. She has been published on Thought Catalog, Mogul and Elite Daily and spends the majority of her free time quoting Dorothy Zbornack and drinking way too much coffee. You can tweet her @kort_nay. If you are interested in guest posting for ATOB, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.