I made a mistake.
I always thought I would grow up, fall in love, finish school, get married in the temple, and have a million kids. I thought I'd seen enough of my parents' struggles to know there was no easy happily ever after, but it never occurred to me, as shy and socially awkward as I was, that the rest of it wouldn't somehow just fall into place. I didn't have a lot of friends and I rarely dated--but, hey, there's someone out there for everyone. Right?? Except there isn't.
I recently read through a journal I kept when I was 23. I'd never even kissed a guy. I was painfully shy, incredibly lonely, and jealous of everyone who had what I wanted. I know myself well enough to know that every day wasn't terrible, to know that I was writing when I was at my lowest. But even in those dark moments, lamenting that my little sisters were finishing school and kissing boys and moving on with life ahead of me--even when I felt sorriest for myself, it never occurred to me that I might never find "the one," that I might never fall in love and get married and live in a crazy house with a million kids. My journal is littered with comments about "when I get married." It never occurred to me that I'd be 38 someday and still alone, that I'd compromise everything else for the chance to be even just a part-time mom and share a kid with someone who apparently hates me.
The trouble is, even though I can say I've given up, even though I know absolutely that it will never happen, in my heart I still want that dream and I can try to make peace with my reality, but it hurts too.