Another year is drawing to a close, and I’m another year closer to cancelling my backup plans.
Plans made for the “by the time I’m at the ripe-old, very distant age of 35” kind of deadline.
I should’ve travelled at least half the world, become super successful in my career, gone to a Backstreet Boys concert, be married.
Ah the all-important cliché, if-I’m-not-married-by backup plan and the subsequent and much more fun, backup friend.
To blame our baseless desire to be married young on society, movies, parents or fear of being alone, would be weak. It was cool to have a backup and be a backup. That’s the absolute only reason.
It was like flirting a little but mostly for the future, with someone you didn’t want to give your A-game to right now.
For the life of me, I cannot remember my backup. The person I chose (after not much deliberation) to throw away what would be left of my life with. Clearly, it was a match made in lazy heaven.
Good thing I got me my M, or I’d have to rummage through my memory and send out some embarrassing emails. Or you know, not desperately marry the ol’ trusty friend who I may have had a heart-to-heart with on a sad day.
And trusty friend he must have been. How else did I feel so free to propose marriage to him – and for him to accept – under the conditions stipulated?
Maybe that’s why people publicly renew their wedding vows, to send a message to the backup friend that their pact is off.
Luckily, I wasn’t solely relying on Prince Charming to infuse meaning into my life. I even set a deadline for career goals. I was meant to be at the top of my game right about 2 years ago.
Backup plan? That I suck. I should just give up on writing and go back to being a Civil Engineer.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s just not my calling. Right now, I want to keep writing. Maybe later, I’ll want design school bags. Or be a nurse. Who knows!
There will be no “giving up” in any case, just dreaming some more. If we give ourselves the freedom to change personal styles and whom we love, then changing dreams shouldn’t be called giving up, just growing up.
I haven’t travelled the world, either. My backup plan was to drop everything and leave.
Um, no. And um, yes.
We did drop everything (not so much drop as plan and ponder over for 4 months) and jump on this little adventure to move overseas for a little while. It’s the married-with-kid version of dropping and leaving.
Besides, I’ve moved around a lot and I’ve fallen in love with different cities. And I’ve realised that there’s no deadline for travelling. I’ll get there. But right now, I’m kinda in the middle of a pretty big adventure.
I barely recognise the girl who made this list on my sister’s PC several lifetimes ago. She was a few months shy of turning 20 and knew nothing about being an adult in the real world. She wasn’t sure about what she stood for and what she was capable of.
But she had heart, I’ll give her that. Something that hardened with time, with heartbreak, loss and failure. But those are the things that strengthen resolve and make tough, badass women.
I am strong, and it has served me well.
But now I want more heart.
More trust and faith and love. More fire and less give-me-that-job passion. More affection and less xoxo. More care and less duty.
I want to feel so much affection for a friend that I can ask them to be my backup in another lifetime.
I want to let myself express so much love for my husband, child and inner circle that they think I’m being borderline creepy.
I want to feel happiness without cynicism, and kindness without a cause.
So I’m putting only one thing on that deadline list today with no backup plan.
I want to have more heart.