I feel like when you approach any age after around 25 or earlier, you start to as a woman feel an insane pressure from your biological clock and society to wonder whether you’re on the road that you’re “supposed” to have started on by now? To compound this pressure, there was an infographic floating around the internet that detailed what you should have achieved by a certain age. Passing your driving test, buying your first home, getting engaged, getting pregnant (there was no section that celebrated the moment you left a toxic relationship or when you got your first dog or learnt how to change a plug fuse because your straighteners wouldn’t work, yknow, MONUMENTAL life moments).
You’re surrounded by friends or colleagues announcing pregnancies and dropping like flies to an attack of the mutant sperm, grand engagement parties, weddings that cost more than my savings account have ever seen (what savings?) and Instagramm’d “just picking up the keys to the new house!” pictures after signing for their first home avec mortgage. All those things that are deemed expected for a 25+ plus woman that just haven’t yet happened for me.
To an extent it can be a bit scary to hurtle towards 30 thinking that I’ve not ticked these achievements off of a list of life must haves, especially when you don’t see yourself in a position now to cross them off or to have a child/put a ring on it in the forseeable future. As I approached the ripe old age of 28 at the beginning of May, I began to feel like in some ways I was expected to have hit the milestones and to some (those grandparents who ask whether “you’re next” when your cousin gives birth or when your mum practically begs you to make her a grandmother) like I was maybe “failing” at what a woman is expected to achieve.
But in myself, I know that I’m not.
Expectations of grandmothers who see you as a barran empty woman because your vagina hasn’t yet passed a child from a hole the size of pee aside, does it really matter?
These life aspirations from generations before us are pencilled in place under the illusion that achieving and ticking them off will the average person happy. What if, well… they don’t?
If by saying “by this time I should have achieved XYZ” surely I’m setting out aspirations under the guise that they are my aims to be happy. Goals and targets are motivational technics, but for me they’re useful for practical goals. Blogging every day, saving money and so on, but for massive lifestyle choices (like small humans and blancmange dresses) putting up a bar of what I should achieve by 25 and then finding I haven’t achieved them risks the prospect of feeling like I’ve failed and feel unfulfilled.
Along with that, is it guaranteed that those aspirations will make me happy? What if my “things to make Charl happy” list consists of having a baby, getting married and being able to dance like Beyonce? Once I tick off my list of aspirations and find myself booty popping and winding and grinding around a stage a la Sasha Fierce with a baby on my hip and a husband in the kitchen, will I be living the epitome of bliss or will I be left in a wonderment of “what now?”Instead of holding so hard onto the reigns that control our lives and comparing our life timelines to those of others should we instead allow life to happen naturally and cease the pressure we put on achieving milestones.
Because after the ticked off achievements and the wedding that comes one year after the engagement and the baby that comes one year after the wedding, what do we do then? Does life stop? Or do we reach the penultimate level of happiness? I don’t know about you but I don’t like putting a ceiling of limits on my achievements and happiness.When it comes to babies it’s only recently that friends from my social circles are deciding to start adding to the population and breeding with their significant others, and as much as I may feel a tiny bit broody by the whole “having a tiny person made from me” and the no doubt undying devotion and love for another being, it just isn’t on my horizon right now… So why should I be made to feel like I’m less of a woman because I haven’t experienced this blessed miracle of life? Which I have been on multiple occasions.Facebook threw me to a crowd of mums who would post such status’ as “don’t know what I did before I had a baby, my life was so meaningless and I was so immature” and I began to wonder that as well as being a not very cleverly veiled dig at those of us without children, perhaps it was more that their lives weren’t up to much before they had a baby rather than a baby making their entire world wonderful #sorrynotsorryTo me, each persons life choice is their own. In the same way that girls my age (28) may have a child who’s heading into high school soon, that was their life choice. If at the age of 16, 19 or 23 they found themselves pregnant and decided to have a child then that is their prerogative. If at the age of 16, 19 or 23 I wanted to go on to further education, go into full time work and go on holidays without the financial or emotional responsibility of a child then that is completely my choice to do so. It doesn’t mean that I hate children, I never want them or that I’m a stone hearted cow from hell who thinks that babies are evil. And tosuggest that because I don’t have a child I’m not emotionally mature or “haven’t grown up” or that my life is empty is disrespectful. There are a number of life factors that may impact on a persons emotional maturity and having a child isn’t the be all end all after all.
I wanted to go along the lines of Glamour Magazine:
Hey its okay not to be where you thought you’d be at 28 (30/21/19 – whatever age).
It’s okay that the only life plans you have at the moment is V Festival and a weekend away with the girls. It’s okay that you don’t have hundreds of pounds in a savings account because you would rather enjoy your life now. Hey, it’s okay not to be in a relationship because you refuse to settle for some who doesn’t give you butterflies. It’s ok not to have an answer to “where do you see yourself in five years?”. It’s okay that you aren’t defining your life by other peoples standards or aren’t on track for what you forecasted when you were younger.
It’s okay to do what you want, when you want.