The holidays always have a way of making people reflect on things. You stare down relatives at the dinner table, trying and failing to deflect questions about your relationship status.

You half-heartedly speak of breakups and the lack of man you have at your side. Most of all, you swallow it up; your pride and your ego.

The truth is, I thought that I’d be married by now. I never thought I’d be staring down my 27th birthday with nothing to really show for it.

I always dreamed I’d have a booming career, a husband and would be starting to talk about children and a family at this age. Instead, I have a job that I’ve been referring to as “temporary” for the last four years, a heaping pile of failed relationships and an apartment that doesn’t have enough closet space.

Where did my plans go? Where did that “dream guy” escape to? I’ve been in love, so I know what that feels like and is. So what happened?

How am I still here, year after year, facing Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s alone while my friends parade around engagement rings, ultrasounds and holiday cards with gleaming smiles? While I sit in my apartment with my dog, sipping wine like tea, fighting the urge to send my ex a text message.

The thing is

I’m not some pathetic, lonely cat lady who doesn’t have a social life. I have amazing friends and coworkers, I have people to spend my time with and am comfortable coming home to be by myself.

Often times, I relish in it. No one to bother me or share the covers with. I don’t have to close the bathroom door or do anyone else’s dishes. I’m responsible for only myself.

But somehow, the holidays make me wish there was more. I watch "It’s A Wonderful Life" and pray for a guy like George Bailey to come in and sweep me off my feet. A man who offers me the moon and is OK with living simply.

I wish there were words to describe this feeling. This literal physical exhaustion at your friends' happiness. Don’t get me wrong, I am so SO happy for my friends and the lives they lead.

I’m grateful they have found love and have people to spoil them on the holidays and spend time together, but there are still moments where I’m a bit jealous. A few quiet sighs after happy texts of smiling couples and a few bitter groans when you’re trying to make plans for New Year’s but you’re stuck being the third, fifth or seventh wheel...AGAIN.

The truth is, I really thought I’d be married by now, and it’s not because I need marriage to give me value or because I’m trying to force some sort of timeline.

I am independent and smart, and I can take care of myself. It’s because I am happy where I am in life, and I want someone to share it with.

It’s because I have dreams I want to achieve that I never pictured doing alone. It’s because every time I hold one of my friends’ sweet toddlers, I get baby fever.

I wasn’t the girl who wanted to be married with children by 22, but I at least thought I’d have a true, genuine, relationship at 26. I thought I’d at least have someone to grab dinner with after work and go to holiday parties together. I at least thought I’d have a boyfriend to meet the family for Christmas.

I realize that as a feminist these are not necessary things, but it doesn’t make my heart long for them any less.

I thought that I’d be married by now, and that’s OK. I’m allowed to be disappointed. I’m allowed to pray for love. And perhaps next year... I'll have it.