This time tomorrow, I'll be wiggling my toes in the sand of some beach on Kauai. Because why not sell some diamonds I'll never wear again anyway and put the cash towards airfare? If that's not the most symbolic thing I've done lately, I don't know what is.
I remember being 15 and proclaiming that my intent was to own a piece of property and have my dream house built on it with a big garden and a small orchard. I decided I would be successful enough to fund this on my own, and if there was someone there to enjoy it with me, fine, but it wasn't a necessity. I wasn't the little girl that had all the details of my wedding planned out. I was the girl that sat at my desk as an office assistant looking up blueprints of houses with wraparound porches, roughly mapping on binder paper the hypothetical juxtaposition of chickens, a greenhouse, a garden and entertaining space. And where would the aquaponics fit in? Tilapia or something else?
To be fair and paint a truly complete picture, I was also researching natural childbirth options and crunchy parenting avenues like cloth diapering and making my own baby food. I was by no means eager to have a kid, but I felt like, as a woman, it was best to be mentally prepared for such a possibility should I be faced with making that decision. Now arguably a reasonable age to embark on such an adventure, if it were to happen without considerable planning I would not rule out any measures necessary to avoid it. I don't believe in "oops" babies, at least not in my life. Nope, no thank you.
I have, at times, been susceptible to the social conditioning that specifies that I, as a woman in my 20s, should want to be married, have a shiny rock adorning my hand, and keep up with the Joneses. In a sense I'm kind of glad I got that out of my system. Granted, while we were engaged and I was planning the wedding, my fiance would occasionally call me out and tell me that I only wanted this stuff because I was conditioned to. I usually replied with 'be that as it may, I still want it." He also sneered that I only cared about "my princess party" any time we had an argument. Go ahead and file that under "red flags." I got my princess party. It was a blast and I don't regret it at all. I had the diamonds, I had the whole shebang, albeit a very flawed shebang. My point is that I indulged in the conditioned picture of what I'm supposed to want.
This is a bit of a ramble, but I guess what I'm getting at is I'll take a semi-spontaneous* flight to Hawaii over a pair of diamond stud earrings. I'll take my vegetable garden over a lawn. I'll take a career and autonomous home-ownership over being a wife and parent. Having indulged in those stereotypical ideals and having renounced them has liberated me to define what I want my life to be. That includes the freedom to come back to those things, too, if someday they feel like a better fit. And if I do, I'll be able to approach that from a place of honesty with myself rather than a place of succumbing to social pressures.
And with a magnet on my fridge from that time I went to Kauai on a whim.
*two weeks in advance is pretty spontaneous for a vacation, at least for me.