Let's face it, I've never been on time for anything. Throughout the history of my life, I take the time I'm supposed to be somewhere, adjust it according to the typical uncontrollable variables (traffic, bathroom break, unforeseen acts of God), and that is when I'll be there: 5-10 minutes behind. I hate being early. Sitting around, waiting? It's the worst! Why sit and wait when you can actually do something? And this is just for work and appointments. For social settings, add 15-90 minutes to my lateness. (Don't get all punctual and uptight on me when I'm trying to relax and have fun!)
Now this is just a few minutes here or there regarding specific events I need to attend. If we were to apply this to my LIFE, we're now looking at a delay of YEARS. I guess I'm a late bloomer. Or just someone who doesn't do anything until the last second when it has to be done. You know, the high performer-under-pressure type.
See, I turned 35 a few months ago -- the age most women have tatooed in their minds as the age the hex is dropped due to that fun and exciting statistic that a women's fertility decreases dramatically at age 35. (Clearly, the women who don't want kids are exempt from this conversation -- lucky you.) But for the rest of us, it's definitely a "thing." We've got a thing about 35, and it sucks. And to those of you young women in your mid- to even late-20s who are freaking out about not yet starting a family: Calm down, you have time. You're clearly in the accelerated program.
For someone like me who gets things done at the last minute, I've been biding my time. The problem with that, is that love is best grown in a relaxed, non-urgent state (i.e. men do not like that kind of pressure so much). And that sucks, too. A few years back, when I was tending bar and seeking counsel about my soon-to-be breakup, a fine Scottish man once told me that nothing kills romance faster than pressure and obligation. Ain't that the truth.
But what are we 30+ women to do? Pretend we don't want a family... soon? And it's not even so much that we want one soon but we have to have one soon -- because there comes a time when it's just too late. Sure, there is adoption, but even that isn't so easy. And given the choice, many of us want something all our own -- yes, narcissism at its best -- but 100 percent true. So what's the move here? What's the "right" thing to do in a relationship? I know not.
Maybe I've experienced more of a push back since the men I've dated have been younger -- some considerably younger, which we'll call 5+ years. And while my last boyfriend -- who was 6 1/2 years younger -- admitted I never pressured him, he could still feel my imminent wants for marriage and a family. He just wasn't ready.
So now when I try to date, it's like I have so much to consider. "Don't go younger, they're not ready." "Date older men, who are ready for a family." "Make sure they're financially suitable (i.e. wealthy) and can provide." Ughh, when did it stop being fun? When did it become this matter of the mind and not of the heart? A meeting of a checklist instead of enjoying the meeting? Preconceived vs present to? It's hard to fall in love naturally with so much on a gal's mind. And here's what's worse: I like younger guys.
Sure, maybe it's their physicality. A young guy with a hard body who makes staying fit a priority is my Achilles heel. But you know, I think it's something else he possesses, a sort of whimsy and carefree nature, that maybe life isn't so serious. Maybe I envy that, because that number -- 35 -- and everything that goes with it is serious, and even scary. Maybe being with someone who isn't thinking about it at all makes it easier to forget... for a minute, anyway.
Underneath it all, I'm willing to bet it has to do with my unwillingness to grow up, to conform to society's image of suburbia, domestication, and my fear that the most riveting conversation I'd have that day would be talk with a fellow mom over the new shape of baby bottles. I suppose it beats talking about the Kardashians.
For me, it's this strange battle with youth and the desire to keep it, and the reality of time. I can't argue with it, I can't fight it. By taking care of myself -- I'm an avid runner -- I can perhaps slow it down. But 35 is 35... and what does that really mean? Halle Berry is pregnant at 46 and says it was a shock to her, which alleges it was a natural pregnancy. My mom had my sister at 40. My sister-in-law gave birth to healthy twin boys just months before her 42nd birthday. So really, what does it all mean? That we've got time, and maybe we should calm down a little? I can try that on.
Any doctor will tell us that every one of us is different. Our genetics, what we put into our bodies, our habits -- all these things determine our chances of getting pregnant later in life. We just don't know. So, I am going to make this commitment -- in front of all of you. Ladies, try it with me. I'm going to calm down, I'm going to relax (as best I can), and create a space for love to grow and thrive. Let's keep in mind what that wise Scottish man said about pressure versus love, and do this for ourselves, for the (potential) man in our lives, and the unborn child in our futures. I think we all win this way. And anyway, we should really consider...
Uh oh -- gotta go. I'm gonna be late for work!