I noticed I was pretending to dislike getting older when I would say shit like ‘I don’t even want to do anything this birthday’ but deep down I had my guest list sorted and could not wait to party and celebrate. I noticed I was lying about being broody and being eager to be married because I didn’t want to feel weird or out of place because every woman wants these things (or so we are led to believe). Or was I pretending not to care about these things so that in the event that it didn’t happen how society expected it to happen (you know; great job, marriage, kids etc) then I could simply say ‘I’ve never wanted those things anyway’.
I know so many women for whom turning say 25, 30 and 40 was such a traumatic ordeal I almost wasn’t sure if I had to fear turning said ages. When I found myself in a romantic situation that appeared destined for marriage but my spirit didn’t agree with I knew it was time to get out and start over. As appealing as being coupled up in a society that views single lasses as ‘broken’ was, I wanted a different story if possible.
Turning 28 last year was probably the turning point for me. I was suddenly filled with a lot of confidence and one thing I was sure of was that I didn’t want a life that was lacklustre and dull (still working on that). I just didn’t want to be on autopilot. I was firmly aware of the things that made me feel good and the things that didn’t. Suddenly finding my life’s purpose had become greater than analysing whether or not I should be broody, act broody or feel broody. Turning my focus on creating a life that I could be proud of and was filled with so much fun, love and laughter had replaced feelings of uncertainty of finding ‘the one’. The thought of dating no longer felt like an audition for me because I was building a life so rich in so many ways that worry and anxiety came but disappeared quickly.
Whenever I start to descend into the pits of self-doubt and worry about ‘the future’ I think about all the beautiful things in my life. I think about the panic that comes for so many women when the year rolls around and instead of turning up with cake and their favourite people, it’s marred by regret and longing for things that they don’t have. I’m willing to bet a lot of the worry comes from how we believe others perceive our individual situations. I love the saying ‘what other people think of you is none of your business’.
I can honestly say I don’t know how I feel about being married and having kids, mainly because I don’t think about it as much. I want today, tomorrow and every other day to be a blessing and an adventure even if it’s just another day at my 9-5 or miles away on a holiday with my friends. I want to resist a society that makes me feel bad for not having a solid plan about that type of future. I want my thoughts and energy to be consumed with contributing meaningfully to my world (not anyone else’s world).
Getting older is beautiful thing, not because not everyone doesn’t get to experience it, but because you get to experience it. A meaningful and enjoyable life comes in many many forms. For you it may be a family life with kids at 21, kids at 40, no kids, a baby daddy, a husband, a girlfriend, a wife, a successful business, a 9-5 that keeps you sane and pays the bills, being a wonderful friend, having an amazing talent ………. the list goes on.
I don’t have the answers on how to completely remove the pressures that society starts to breathe down your neck as you get older but resisting the urge to go along with the status quo if that isn’t for you is an amazing place to start. If your goal is to be married and have kids again, own it, there is no shame in being vocal about how you want your life to go. Don’t beat yourself up about things you can’t change. I know that life is unpredictable, tomorrow I may feel different, regret comes and goes, self-doubt- a given but what I do know is that my quest for a beautiful life rages on. There will be many peaks, there will be may troughs but everything will be okay.