Waiting for my real life to begin….

Posted on September 18, 2011 by

The comments from Terri’s post about dating (and a thought last week to Little Women) got me thinking about the strategy of mapping out ones life.  It’s impossible to do, of course, according to a time line or a schedule (not that people don’t try) but it is possible – advisable even – to map out a set of behaviors that calls for living life purposefully, to plan enough into the future to allow for legitimate experiences away from home, prior to marriage.   For a marriage minded young person, this can ease the transition from being merely “of age” to becoming a suitable marriage partner, and can stave off the potential “if only’s” not uncommon when young marrieds find themselves in the throes of childrearing and facing the reality that 18 comes but once.

As traditionalist as I am, and as inclined toward the agrarian model of a family homestead with several residences on a single property, I am not in favor of adult children remaining at home in perpetuity as some conspicuous symbol of hyper-vigilance against sexual impurity, or as an excuse for overbearing parents to involve themselves in the minutiae of their grown children’s lives.  Familial interaction, personal safety, and affordability are certainly reasonable motives behind an adult child staying within the home, and many of the experiences they can have when preparing for life away from home can be staged there.  College, for example is usually doable while young people remain at home, reducing the financial burden on themselves and their parents, and if a young woman is planning a three month mission trip to South America she doesn’t need her own apartment back in her hometown.  But for the experiences themselves, going out into the world is a chance to mature and think on ones feet, gain context, explore opportunities for careers and vocations, and even meet suitable candidates for courtship.  The consequential benefit is that by making a plan – simple goal setting, really – be it for a trip abroad, a college education, or a year in a convent, a person is managing his own course, establishing self-discipline, focus, and a pattern of behavior that will manifest throughout his life.  Achieving those goals, learning those behaviors allows for living his or her life in ownership, which is what “real life” is, making surprises and changes easier to manage, and training the mind and heart away from the regret and discontent that haunt so many who drifted aimlessly into a life they did not plan for.

Posted in: Relationships