Struggling to let go of the life I dreamt of
My parents had me relatively late (mum was 37, dad was 44) and that always caused me some level of stress growing up in regards to whether they would be around for my life milestones (especially as a child when my parents were the same age as my friends grandparents). Because of this I have, for as long as I can remember, wanted to have children in my late 20's, early 30's at the latest. For most of my life I've had the mindset that my late 20's has been the stage of my life when I would build my family.
That is until my partner of 11 years left me 6 months ago and now meeting my goal of at least being married before 30 is completely impossible. I'm 28 now and I have always been of the belief that you need to spend 3-5 years with someone before marriage and on top of that I have trust and abandonment issues, so even if I met someone new today I wouldn't get married before 30.
I am absolutely gutted and it feels like a huge failure. I already feel like so many parts of my life have been delayed; it took me 4.5 years to finish my 3 year university degree because of my mental health, I've never had my own place (living with my ex in a flat on his parents property is the closest I've ever come), I've struggled with crappy jobs and psychopathic bosses delaying me building my career (I've only just found a job where I'm working part to full time hours for the first time) and now I cant even say at least I have a long term relationship. So I'm 28 and further behind in life than most 20 year olds.
I feel like I have spent the last 10 years working so hard to reach my goals but I am nowhere near to reaching them, so now knowing that Im not going to have kids until my mid-late 30's (if at all) just feels like more of the same crap. Also the fact that my parents had me late, and now I'm stuck with having my kids late means that they probably wont be around to see my kids grow up and that thought hurts me so much that it makes me question if I even want kids, because I so desperately want my kids to know and remember my parents, I know how painful it is to lose grandparents at a young age and dont want my kids to go through that.
My entire image of my future has been totally shattered and I'm really struggling to let it go or even to hope that maybe everything will turn out for the best and I'll find myself happy anyway. I feel like my life is going to be a never ending cycle of failure and disappointment.
Thank you for being a part of the Beyond Blue community and for reaching out tonight. We can hear that things are quite difficult for you at the moment and that you are struggling to see much improvement within your future despite all your efforts.
Who do you have that you can turn to in moments like this? Is there a supportive friend or someone that you trust that has been able to help you through dark times?
Often things can be a struggle when we feel we must achieve an ideal to consider ourselves a success or that we must do enough in order to love ourselves. Often a lot of things in our life are out of our control, especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships.
Have you been able to speak to anyone such as a GP or a mental health professional around how you feel at the moment?
If would like to talk to someone, even briefly to unpack how you feel at the moment. we would recommend that you get in contact with the Beyond Blue Support Service. They are available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals.
We hope things improve shortly and we hope you keep the community updated as to how things are going so we can continue to support you.
Reading your post I get the feeling like you’re going through quiet a bit of distress currently and are dealing with a huge loss.
I’m 28 also, and I have massive feelings of being behind in life as well. It’s hard to see a future for myself given I’m broke, I have no qualifications and only have a list of dead-end jobs to show for my 20’s.
I think too often we focus on our failings and don’t give ourselves credit for what we’ve achieved. You finished you degree! You should celebrate that. I never finished my apprenticeship, which is the closest I could compare to.
It seems to me you have a bit of a fixated mindset when it comes to how the future should look. Could not being older bring some wisdom and benefit for any future kids? Don’t both kids with or without grand parents live full and rich lives? I empathise with the loss you feel from your childhood, but I don’t think that should come to define your role as a future parent. We set ourselves such rigid visions for the future, but rarely does life follow such straight paths. Opportunities change, more information is acquired and lessons are learned.
Give yourself time to heal and use your knowledge and wisdom to build a better future.
Yours with sincere consideration,
I once read a passage in a book and it has always stayed with me because it is so true and it is very relevant to your situation “Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.”
You have set out these rules for what you must do by a certain time, but life does not work to your plan. You want your future children to have their grandparents for a long time, but life is not guaranteed for anyone. I lost my grandparents relatively young - do I wish that I had them longer, for sure, but I feel grateful to have known and be loved them at all. You also don’t need to be with someone for 3-5 years before getting married, or you don’t even really need to get married at all. these are all rules that you have self-imposed on yourself and am not feeling smothered by them. I know people who met later in life and got pregnant relatively quickly (within 6 months) due to that fact and because it felt right. If it feels right, it doesn’t make a difference whether you have been together for 5 years or 15 years. I would suggest to perhaps get to know someone for 1 year before such a huge commitment but otherwise I say let go of all of the rules as they arent making you happy
Hi there Georgie. Girl and welcome to our forum!
Congratulations in reaching out with such an expressive post that makes it very clear how you are feeling.
Sophie has made some excellent points with her post and suggested some support contacts - I'd like to add just a few points based on my own family experience.
It seems part of your life goal has been to measure your progress on having kids before 30?
I have two lovely daughters and my great desire in life was for them to deliver me with grand kids at an early stage. Years passed and so too did lots of hints from me! This despite one of them getting married when she was only 23 yrs old.
Lo and behold, they both fell pregnant when one was 36 and the other 38, and both now have two children. So I have four grandies from 6yrs down to 3yrs. Life is better then great and no one is worrying about being too old in the future etc as life it too short not to enjoy the present.
I am reminded of the Buddhist saying 'When the student is ready, the teacher will appear'. What it means is that things often happen in life for the most unexpected reasons, but when they do we look back on them and realise that yes, maybe we were just not ready before!
You mentioned that for the first time, you now have a steady almost full time job - congratulations as that sounds like progress to me! If you are able to do that job really well, it will almost certainly lead to better things in all sorts of ways. I wish I could see your future as it will contain great things for sure. Why do I think this? Both my daughters have friends in their 40's with happy and successful lives who often talk about how hopeless they felt in their 20's, before they 'got their act together'.
So like that song 'Que Sera Sera' Georgie, the future really is not ours to see. But what you are doing now is realising things are not what you want and working are working your way out of it. That is a great first step! try to let life happen and focus on being the best person you can be right now - the future will then look after itself.
All the very best with what you are doing and thanks again for reaching out.
Very happy to chat some more. The Bro