I understand some of what you’re feeling. I always envisioned myself meeting the right guy in college, getting married about a year after graduation, and having children about two years later. I always hoped to have three. That was how I saw my life unfolding.
However, that did not turn out to be the path that unfolded before me. I, too, dated a number of people and had several longer-term relationships. However, none was the right one. I even was engaged once before at 29-30, decided that I could not go through with that wedding, and ended that relationship. I had no idea it would be another 15.5 years before I would meet my Darling Husband and another year and a half before I would marry him at the somewhat bridal-ancient age of 47. 🙂
The bad news is that things do not always go as we had planned, but the good news is that things do not always go as we had planned. 🙂 Sometimes there are some amazing, unexpected blessings that we would have never received if things had not turned out the way they did.
We can’t always control what happens TO us, but we can control how we respond to IT. I encourage you to try to enjoy this process, right where you are, at the age you are, and remove this intense pressue that you have placed on yourself. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t keep your agreed-upon timeline, because my Darling Husband and I also moved quickly (engaged five months after our first date, married 11 months later). It all was a whirlwind for us, too, and we were long distance throughout our entire relationship. We even had to spend almost the entire first year of our marriage living together only half of each week while I continued to live and work in my former state during the middle of the week and from DH’s house three hours away on the bookends of long weekends.
My Darling Husband also has children (two were young tweens/teens at the time of our wedding and live with us 50 percent of the time.) Given the long distance factor, my husband’s crazy schedule (he’s a pastor and works almost every weekend), my then-full-time job, the kids’ needs and busy schedules, the fact that my house was on the market and we were buying and selling homes and preparing to move, etc., my Darling Husband and I spent extremely little time alone together, and when we were together we were both exhausted and completely stressed and ended up fighting. I struggled for a long time with feeling as if I were being cheated out of being a newlywed and being able to enjoy the relationship I always longed to have.
I could not control my circumstances, but I definitely needed to get a better grip on my thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions. My life felt as if it were moving at a frenetic pace — a pace in which I was constantly “doing” and never just “being.” I was always striving, rushing, planning, fixing, and surviving, never relaxing, resting, or enjoying.
As someone who has been there and for whom it has taken several years of marriage just to feel as if I have finally caught up with myself and can live in the present, I encourage you to do your best not to allow your feelings of stress, hurriedness, and frustration to cause you to miss out on your life as it is happening.