The Life You Don’t Want…Until You Do
Let me get this out of the way first: I am NOT ready to get married yet.
I don’t know if I want kids.
Sometimes I think I’d prefer the ring over the husband.
I’m open to the idea that I might “change my mind about all of this in a bit,” but right now, I’m good!
Previously, when I have drifted away from my normal subject matter of life and freedom towards the rocky road of writing about relationship stuff, my posts have been directed at just the ladies.
But can I just say out loud that I don’t care if you are rocking a set of testes or a pair of ovaries, thinking about all of that “LIFE” stuff is kinda scary?
Guys, today, just for me, can you step up and say that despite your lack of biological clock, this LIFE shit gets scary to you too?
Okay, phew. Thanks. Continuing on…
Single, and (finally) ready to mingle?
Every Sunday I read the Modern Love column in the New York Times. The topics range from relationships gone bad, to relationships born out of strife and wonder, and they usually all resonate with me in some way, but the post this week scared the hell out of me.
Writer Laurie Sandell wrote about how she had hit 40 with no partner prospects in sight, and a realization that her egg count was decreasing by the day. Her friends set her up with a 50-year old, single Dad. She lamented that if the relationship worked out, she might be able to pop out at least one kid who would luckily have an older sibling by default.
When I read that line, my mouth dropped and I tossed down my friend’s i-Pad.
It freaked me out that the author was fantasizing about how a relationship with this guy could be totally convenient to fit her needs before she even met the man.
It freaked me out that instead of wondering about the perfect first date, the author was wondering if he could be a potential mate.
And it freaked me out that in a “practical” kind of way, (while it’s creepy) it made total sense.
“I don’t want that,” I told my friend. “ I don’t want to be 40-years old praying that my date fits my specifications because I am so desperate for a child.”
But the next thought I had was of how I’m not ready to stop being
selfish independent. I’m not ready to figure someone else into my plans.
Why aren’t we talking about this?
I don’t know the authors background, so I won’t speculate as to why, or how, she ended up childless at 40, but I know that it happens…A LOT.
And I think the fact that we don’t actively talk about it, don’t include this discussion of the particulars of when you should make such huge life decisions, and how much you have to sacrifice personally to do it is crazy.
Instead we either go all Sheryl Sandberg and try to make raising kids and having a career look freakishly easy, or we end up evaluating dates for sperm potential once we realize we might have put it off a weeeee bit longer than we really should have.
Either way, something is amiss. And the fact that we don’t talk about it openly with the men in our lives for fear that they will go running for the hills, or with our girlfriends because we are afraid to get caught in a game of “Whose Life Is Better?” is sad.
What will it take for us to open up?
To say that yes, marriage is kinda scary.
To wonder out loud, “When are we too old to think marriage is scary?”
To say maybe I want it, maybe I don’t.
To ask if we have to put as much thought into dating as we do our careers?
And to say openly and honestly, that even if we aren’t sure about what we want AT THIS MOMENT that we still need to feel as if we can be open with our experiences in the name of helping each other.