If I could speak to young girls in an auditorium (assuming someone asked me to) I feel like I would have something to say to them. I would tell them that there will always be boys and men and dating and sex so just accept it as part of life but put YOURself as the person most important in your life. I never had a desire for a family or children and I know that this puts me in a minority of women, but if there is one girl who goes into that lifestyle who doesn't want it (do that many girls really want that?), and if I could reach out to that one girl and tell her her deepest dreams and desires could, would actually, come true if she was driven and committed to them as we women of my generation and before were told we were to be to men and our children. Say a 12 year old girl dreams of travelling the world. She doesn't come from a wealthy family or know if she can get into college but that is her dream in her heart. Her heart starts racing when she sees travel shows or brochures, and studies maps and globes as some girls study fashion magazines. Her family and friends may tell her to focus on a practical job and their may be subtle or unspoken generations pressure or programming for her to find a man to "take care of her," but if she takes that dream seriously and starts to take action towards it, however small, the dream will grow and expand and she may find herself doing things she'd never even considered or thought of...but she will be travelling. That is actually my story. I saw throughout my life that anytime I'd try to compromise that dream I would be miserable. Sure I found ways to jam some travel into my life...but it was not until I took some really big risks and made some big changes in my life that that dream became bigger than travel, bigger than anything I could have imagined. I talk to people my age, some younger, and even some kids about what their dreams are and they either say they never had any or filed it away as unattainable so many years ago that they can't remember what it was. I was driven by a hunger. I was clueless when I started out in life and didn't know what I wanted. I only knew I wanted to live in New York City. So I moved there and adult life overwhelmed me so I fed my hunger in self-destructive ways. I had very low self esteem, and saw very quickly that I wanted nothing to do with the corporate world. The dream that burned in me seemed at times to be my tormenter too - it wanted to be satisfied but I didn't feel I had the tools or maturity to address it. It took many years to get on a track of loving my life and my work, and I took a lot of action to prepare me for the life that I had pursued: I quit being self destructive with alcohol and chemicals, I went to a therapist, I employed a life coach, I did all kinds of workshops on finding one's passion, and read every book out there on the color of my parachute...and I think all that stuff helped. I was blessed with not having a family that pressured me for grandbabies (whenever I hear of such nonsense being played out today it seems surreal) or pressure me in anything at all. And I've seen how my "defects" have helped me to pursue my dreams: I'm so bad at romantic relationships that they don't last long enough to take me off my track. My fear of rootedness, domesticity and stasis has kept me on the run and externally and internally and I've always thought of "settling down" as a "settling" in general. If someone's hearts desire is to be utterly rooted and domesticated for their entire life and they can obtain that that is awesome. That is their success!
I see homeless people everywhere around me as I live downtown. When I do this feeding mission in the park I get to engage with hundreds of them. I make eye contact and smile and make chitchat with a lot of them and they are great folks for the most part. Many or mentally ill and drug addicted and some seem like they just got on the streets. When I leave this gig on Sunday I have this very strong sense that I am not one bit different than these people except for one thing: I am luckier. It is so sad that this country throws mentally ill people out on the streets; it is heartbreaking to see the elderly sleeping out in the rain, and it reminds me to not kvetch about whatever problems I might perceive that I have. But I have always felt very connected with these people on the streets. I wonder what dreams these people had and how they got to a place where their life was just about survival. When I was first out of college and working I could not for the life of me figure out how people made enough money to buy houses, cars, etc. I could never find jobs that paid much more than minimum wage, and always felt like I was one hair away from living on the streets. It was an extremely stressful time in my life..and with all my intelligence and independence and a bit of help from my family it was still very very hard. I can see why people pair off as it is very expensive to live alone. I have been able to afford living alone for 15 years now and don't know if I could ever give up that luxury.
This is a long rambling mass of a post that has no new or important information. I'm doing this just to practice writing, and to keep reminding myself that even though most of my dreams have come true, I still have more clambering for attention. Whoever said it was about the journey and not the destination was right - the second I reach my destination I see that the joy was in the dreaming, planning and action phases. I am having a bit of rootedness right now, but it's not the trapped style, it's more a pause to see what is going to happen next...or what it is I'm going to have to make happen next...stay tuned!