This past year will undoubtedly go down as one of the best years in my life. I lived. I loved. I am experiencing the life I have always hoped I would. But with self joy comes the inevitable need to also defend the accomplishments that I, as a woman, have yet to summit. In particular: I am over 30, I am unmarried and I have no children. With that said, to some, all of my other accomplishments can be damned to hell.
Any single woman over 30 will tell you that at least once in their life someone has directly or discreetly questioned their decision to be in their current situation. They will phrase these comments in such a way that leaves you wondering if you caught some type of disease. You came down with the being single or have a case of the not being pregnant yet. With each passing year into my thirties I am convinced that by the time I reach 35 they will no longer ask questions but simply have me quarantined into a far off ghetto for women with my condition.
These interrogation tactics are not limited to friends and family either. Clients, colleagues and complete strangers will ask you to explain yourself to them. At least once a month I will have someone ask why my boyfriend of five years had not yet proposed to me. By being asked questions like this, you are put into the awkward position of making excuses or inevitably considering the worst ridiculous thoughts. Maybe he doesn’t love me?
For the longest time, I was one of the women that made excuses for herself. We’re saving money. We’re waiting until after the next promotion. We have to wash our hair this weekend. You name the excuse, I’ve probably used it at some point in the last five years as to why I’m not married with a babe on my hip. But what I’ve learned is that excuses don’t help your situation and only bring you down—making you second guess some of the biggest decisions you have made for yourself. Don’t ever second guess yourself. If you’re in your thirties and have built the life you have imagined or are on your way to doing so, remind yourself that you didn’t get there by second guessing yourself and by listening to those with different ambitions.
Now, when anyone questions my rockless left-hand or when we’re planning to start a family I oh so proudly state that I’m simply having my cake and eating it too—a polite middle finger that means, unlike you miss or mister interrogator, I can both adventure now and have a family when I’m ready… and unlike you have the established means to do so…
To quote another strong woman and the reason behind my use of Aveeno and consumption of Smart Water:
“We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves.”
Jennifer Aniston is not perfect. She knows it and isn’t afraid to say it. But I admire her ability to stay her path and encourage other women to do so as well. Like Aniston, I have been let down time and time again but keep my chin held high and continue to kill it on the journey there. We’re in this together, Jen. We’ll get there.
Perhaps naïve, but my positive self has me convinced that the eggs I do have left (the dwindling 10% left according to most medical resources) are still there because they have endured and have the strength to fight off my apparent dying uterus. Standing tall and waving their Darwinism banners proudly, my 10% shout “We will not go quietly into the night!” as they wait determined on the front line, being picked off one-by-one as the dooms day of 40 approaches.
Will it be harder for me to conceive children? Maybe. But would it have also been hard for me to bear children at a younger age and have potentially given up all of the experiences and personal growth I have accomplished in the last 10 years? Absolutely. My point being, that there is no right answer and either path chosen could have been the wrong path. The path is yours and yours alone to make.
I will continue to grow whether or not I have something growing inside of me. I want to have children someday, but the keyword there is someday and someday is different for everyone. Someday does not mean 34 and a half on the third day in October. Someday for me means the day I decide that another life and their experience and growth is more important than my own. When the taste of champagne falls second to an apple juice-box and the Inca trail holds less luster than Disneyland, then and only then will someday have occurred. And until that day I ask all of the self-appointed doctors trying to diagnose me with dwindling egg-count to refrain from their prescriptions.
After all, we have the ability to determine our own happily ever afters. Maybe mine just ends a little differently and a little further down the road.