A few weeks ago, Mr. Ambitious and I were sitting across from eachother at a funky little restaurant in New York City, chowing down on some ah-mazing mac n’ cheese, when I began to do what I often do while sitting in close proximity to other people in public places. I tuned out the conversation Mr. Ambitious and I were having and I started eavesdropping on the table next to us.
It was a table of 3, two girls and one very obviously gay guy, all in their early 20’s. The two girls hadn’t seen eachother in awhile but were clearly close friends, as they started in on an “OMG!” conversation about the new guy that girl #1 was dating. My ear happened to drop in on the conversation just as girl #1 one asked girl #2 and gay guy the all-important question: “yeah, but like, how am I supposed to know where the relationship is going?” to which girl #2 and gay guy responded with a myriad of clichés and recycled advice like “oh, you just know” and “you, like, totally have to have ‘the conversation’” and “well, has he met your friends? Parents? Have you met his friends? Parents?” and in hushed voices, “is the sex still good?”
Outwardly, I smiled at this cute conversation (all the while nodding and “listening” as Mr. Ambitious continued our own conversation), but inwardly, I wondered, if she had asked me that question, (and why wouldn’t you ask the wise, old, married lady sitting at the table next to you, casually eavesdropping on your conversation?), what would I have said? How is one supposed to know where a relationship is going?
The only way to know is to know yourself. To know who you are and what you want.
(Do I sound wise? Because I envisioned myself sounding wise, when offering this sage advice to the 20-something girl).
No, but really. I’ve told a few people this recently (including Mr. Ambitious, but it was over a large amount of sangria, so I’m hoping it doesn’t sound unfamiliar). If I had actually stopped to think about marriage and my perceived notions of what it meant to get married before I got married (and I mean, really thought about it), I think I would have run away screaming. I was very much caught up in the “this is what you do when you’re 27 and you’ve been living with someone for 2 years.” I was very much under the impression that getting married meant your two hearts, two lives, two souls became one (BARF).
So, I thought I was ready. I laced up my running shoes, took a deep breath and prepared to become Mrs. Ambitious.
You see, my hubby runs hard and he runs fast. And he’s really good at it. In fact, he loves it. He lives and breathes it. I wanted to keep up.
And for awhile, I actually kept up. I ran the rat race, constantly striving for the better job, forging ahead, making more money, adding more to my plate and trying to be everything for everyone while maintaining the status quo, and all the while continuing to keep a smile on my face. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?
It was exhausting.
I was so busy trying to be who I thought I should be, who I thought he would want me to be, (the perfect match for Mr. Ambitious a.k.a. this over-achieving, people-pleasing, successful married woman) that I forgot to pay attention to myself. And the only person who continuously pointed this out to me was Mr. Ambitious himself. He was the only person that remembered the “me” that knew herself. That was the girl he fell in love with.
And so, as a wise, old, married lady, the best advice I could give to that girl is to know yourself. Inside and out. It doesn’t matter where the relationship is going as long as you honour the relationship to yourself. If you honour this, I truly believe, that everything else will all come together.
Four years ago today, I married my Mr. Ambitious. And I’m so thankful that he wasn’t looking for his Mrs. Ambitious. He was looking for me. Happy Anniversary babe.