When I was 19yrs old I got pregnant, out of wedlock, in the middle of my college career, still living with my parents and working a minimum wage part-time job. Luckily, it was with someone whom I considered a friend. Perhaps we didn't love each other the way one should when entering a life-long commitment but there was love, nonetheless.
With two kids by the young age of 21, let’s just say creativity was key in getting things accomplished. We moved into a side of my parents' house, shared one car and worked minimum wage jobs while attending as many college courses as we could squeeze into the little time we had before having to juggle an infant in the mix. It was a rushed balancing act.
Due to health insurance and coverage issues, we weren't able to legally get married but we did celebrate our commitment in the eyes of God and our family and friends, although, unfortunately, not in our church (so much for separation of church and state). A small wedding in my grandmother's living room as our friends cried for fear of their own futures and family hoped for the best. It was a weird day. I knew moments before I walked down the aisle that I wasn't ready but, alas, such is life.
My husband (at the time) and I became comrades, we were partnered in a battle against stigmas, statistics, time and clichés. We worked well together as we set goals and crushed them at lightning speed. Only 6 months after having our second (unplanned) daughter, we were officially homeowners. In 3.5yrs we had successfully surmounted obstacles most teenagers don’t even bother to worry about. I was almost done with my bachelors which, I completed through independent study, CLEPs, and bulking 5 courses in two days per week to spend as much time at home with my girls as possible. Anyone that knows either Tony (my ex) or me knows that we both excel when faced with a challenge. It was us against the odds and we had big dreams so we maintained a united front. It was exhilarating, new, something few had been able to do in such little time; we were partners of a different kind like officers or soldiers. We had missions and much to prove.
There comes a time in your life when the struggle lightens its grip, time slows down and you have no choice but to reflect. It’s a dangerous time, a crossroads of sorts, perhaps perceived by most as a midlife crisis. I had my “midlife” crisis at 26. Young in numbers but by that age I had lived the life of an average thirty something year old (and in today’s society that of a late 30/young 40yr old). I had accomplished my goals of earning my bachelors, establishing a career with benefits and retirement, owned my own home with two brand new cars, had two kids in private school and was in good physical shape. Only it wasn’t enough. In fact, it wasn’t anything that I really wanted.