February 3, 2015

vacuums are bad for your emotional health

As I was walking around Target this morning, I found myself staring at the vacuums. For the past two years, I've been borrowing one of the dorm vacuums to use in my apartment. Much to the surprise of no one, these don't work too well. I've cleaned paper out of them, enough bobby pins to provide every human in the world with at least five, and even several socks. I understand sucking up the occasional bobby pin, but a sock? I'm just not sure how that happens.

I just received my tax return back and thought now would be a good time to get a vacuum of my own, one I don't have to share with 175 girls and one that will never suck up a sock, ever. I was reading the labels and comparing brands when I suddenly got overwhelmed with sadness. I realized that I had never thought I'd be buying a vacuum. In my mind, a vacuum was something I always thought I'd receive as a wedding gift or purchase with my husband. I never saw myself being single, twenty seven years old, and buying a vacuum in Target while simultaneously fighting back tears.

That might seem silly to some, but I know that it resonates with others. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm unhappy with what my life looks like. I'm not walking around in this perpetual state of sorrow, I'm not putting my life on hold, and really, I'm quite happy most of the time. I think in that moment, as I stared at the row of vacuums, I realized that my life looks different than I thought it would at this age and sometimes that's something that I needed to mourn.

In my young mind, I expected to be married by age twenty seven. For some reason, that age has always been in my head because it's the age my mom had me at. My life looks a lot different at twenty seven that I had anticipated, and I don't want to make it sound like it's a bad thing. It's just a thing. It's just a weird thing that I hadn't expected to think about. When you're younger, you have all of these assumptions about what your future will look like based on what everyone else who is older than you is doing with their life.

I know that there are good marriages, there are bad marriages, and everything in between the two. I don't idolize marriage. I don't have any expectations that marriage makes life so much more rich and fulfilling. I don't think it's this magical thing that happens and then everything is sunshine and rainbows. I know that it's not. I know so many people in wonderful marriages and I have friends who are in bad marriages. It's not about longing for some false belief or expectation for what marriage does, it's about allowing myself to be okay with what I wanted, what I still want, what I do have, and what I don't have.

I know that I'm young. I know that I have so much life ahead of me. I don't write any of this for any sort of reassurance or a compliment. I write this because I found myself genuinely sad as I picked out a vacuum, realizing that I had expectations that weren't met. Most of my friends are married with children. It's hard to not sometimes feel left behind when people surrounding you are experiencing these things that you want and that your heart truly desires. Maybe it feels so real and potent today because it's raining, or maybe it's because I just had a lovely weekend and came back to real life yesterday, or maybe it's because sometimes there's a disconnect between, I want and what I have, and I had to be a little sad about it.

I did end up buying a vacuum. I got some brand that was on sale that promised to rid my entire house of all pet hair. I don't have any pets, but I do have a ton of hair so I figure it's pretty much the same thing. I'm going to put it together in a few minutes and then I'm going to vacuum. I'll be so excited about a clean floor that I won't even remember my little existential crisis in Target. Or, I'll just end up crying over all the pieces of the vacuum that need to be put together and never end up actually vacuuming. You never know, it is a rainy Tuesday after all.

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