When I got home from my mission eleven years ago, everything I owned fit in a few suitcases and boxes. I had some books, clothes, pots and pans, a CD player, and other small things. I didn't own a car, a computer, or any furniture. When Mr. Fob and I got married shortly after that we moved into a one-bedroom apartment. We bought a loveseat at D.I., inherited a bed from family, and rented a kitchen table and chairs from the university. Now I live in a five-bedroom house and I own a car, a large amount of furniture, and even two refrigerators. There's a bedroom for each person in the family and one for guests. It's a bit ridiculous. I mostly enjoy my level of comfort and feel humbly blessed to have so much abundance, but sometimes I feel guilt at the high standard of living I enjoy compared to the rest of the world. Either way, I now have a lot of stuff.
In addition to the stuff, I have a much more abundant life than I used to. I have three kids, three-hundred friends on Facebook (yes, they are all people I consider to be friends), a loving ward, two college degrees, and a good job. My life is full. All this abundance can be complicated as well. I have an ex-husband, various family members in various legal relationships with each other and me, and a number of responsibilities at work, church, and in a few volunteer capacities.
I've been thinking about all this baggage lately in the context of dating. Dating eleven years ago was much less complicated. I didn't bring a lot with me; there was the assumption that I would acquire more through my relationships. And I did. My marriage did not just increase my material status, it changed me fundamentally in more ways than I can possibly enumerate, both good and bad. I have a family now. I have a life. I'm discovering that many guys that I would potentially like to date are looking for someone with a lot less baggage. I can understand that, but it still frustrates me because I don't think that baggage is all that bad. Yes, it makes things more complicated, but it doesn't make them impossible.
I think there's a fairly good chance that I'll never get married again, as much as I'd like to. More than anything it seems to be a matter of luck. Although there is a part of me that is deeply troubled by this, the truth is that I mostly feel like it would be all right. I have a life. I have a family. One of the biggest things I carry with me that I gained through my marriage is a strong sense of myself. Back when I was in Young Women's and had to make a list of qualities I wanted in a spouse, my first two things that I listed were "won't laugh at me" and "thinks I'm interesting". That's kind of pathetic now that I think of it. Eleven years ago I thought that guys didn't want to date me because there was something fundamentally wrong with me. Now I know it's because there's something wrong with them. Hopefully some day I can convince someone to take on some of my baggage because it's not just filled with boring stuff; there's a lot of good in here too.