Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Birthday Month Part 2 - The Biological Clock

Posting about something that you logically know is ridiculous, but can't help how you feel anyway, is always conflicting. On the one hand, you don't want your most inner thoughts and feelings public. And on the other, you can't imagine going another minute without making sure that someone knows exactly how you are feeling. When you write on a blog, you make yourself vulnerable and open to others' judgments, their advice, and their criticisms.

Of course. I've always been one to lay it all out there, regardless of what someone else is going to say.

Which is why, when I was sitting in a team meeting the other day, and my coworker had finally had it about my complaints about my upcoming birthday and snapped at me, I shrugged and nothing changed. Despite his reassurances that I'm fine, and that I have nothing to worry about, I don't really believe him.

Despite the fact that most of my friends have hit this upcoming milestone, does nothing to assuage my own fears and anxiety about it.

I turn 30 soon. Less than two weeks away and I am freaking out.

I don't want to freak out. I would love to enter into my 30s gracefully. But instead, I feel like the reluctant cat being dragged into the bathwater. I'm trying to grab at anything that will give me more time, and Time just keeps pulling me right along and out of my 20s like it's no big deal.

That's what everyone would have me believe, anyway. That it's no big deal. That so far, their 30s have been THE BEST. Any maybe that's true for them. And maybe it'll be true for me. But I'm having a hard time accepting it. Especially when it comes from those who have married and started having their babies (or not having their babies, if that was their choice). Of course being 30 is no big deal when you have your partner in crime to be there with you.

The problem is that when I turned 24, then 25, 26, and then 27, I said to myself, "It doesn't matter that I'm not married. That I haven't started having kids. At least I'm not 30." Every year that things haven't happened the way that I wished them to, I've reassured myself that I have plenty of time. That I'm not 30, and therefore, it was OK to continue on. That somehow things would be different by the time I hit this particular date.

But nope.

I can't say that things are really much different at all.

And so I'm panicking. Because even though I could probably transfer all this dread and worry onto the age of 40. "At least I'm not 40!"

I worry. I worry because the last decade has gone by SO quickly. And if it has happened once, who is to say it won't happen again? And how can a decade blow by and nothing change?

“Today we tell girls to grow up to be or do whatever they want. But the cultural pressure to become a mother remains very strong; rare is she who doesn’t at least occasionally succumb to the nagging fear that if she remains childless, she’ll live to regret it.” —Kate Bolick 

I wonder if I were raised differently if it would matter so much. People are quick to accuse the fact that I've lived in Utah for the last 11 years, watching 19 year old girls marry; or that I've been raised Mormon where the emphasis on being a wife and mother and a part of a perfect little family unit; and that is why I am so hung up on all of this.

But I find that hard to believe as a full explanation. My earliest memories are of me mothering my younger siblings, writing stories about two lady bugs that fall in love and have babies. Playing house....

Being a wife and mother has always been something that was important to me.

I wish I could be content with the thought of not. I wish I could be strong enough to be OK with the idea that if it happens it happens and that is great. But if it doesn't happen, then that's great too.

I'm not though.

What happens if 40 comes, and everything is the same again? Then there is no hope. Even my doctor told me, "If you were turning 40, then I'd be crying with you." I just can't seem to leave the timeline of events alone. No matter what I do, I can't negotiate with Time to give me more. I don't want to go back to when I was younger and more naive. I don't want to have to relive the years where I wasn't quite sure of who I am, or remake some of those same mistakes. But I do not want to be 30. Not yet.


  1. Shelli, you are singing the song of my soul. I have zero words of advice for you because I'm in the same boat. I had to have a pelvic ultrasound a couple months ago (ovarian cysts), and seeing my empty uterus on the screen was one of the saddest moments of my life. And even though I know women who can't have kids, like you say, at least they have their partner in crime to help them through it. My point is that it sucks, and I feel for you. I'm glad that you are honest and public about it. It helps to know that someone else knows how I feel.

  2. ok- as a pre-old maid, steph is gonna be straight with you. turning 30 and being single is hard. so hard.

    BUT after, like 31 and 32 are AMAZING (and I'm not the only one to say that).

    But I totally get this. Now that I'm on the other side (barely) of "mid-30s" I feel that panic setting in already. I don't wanna be single. and the older I get the harder finding someone will get and.... yeah.

    be tough! you will survive! I promise!

    (also, I know a lot of women who got married at 30-32. he's still out there!)

  3. I just wanted to say, that while I can't say I understand what you're going through, I can empathize. I've seen several bright, stalwart, beautiful women approach age 30 single & heartbroken & I don't get it. WHY are such vibrant women single while some of the ditziest girls I've known are married? It makes no sense to me. I also wanted to say that everyone experiences heartache and it may not be from the same things, but everyone struggles. EVERYONE. In the past year+, I've found myself looking at people's problems or their complaints on Facebook & I do a mental evaluation. I compare their issues to mine & see who "wins" by having the worse lot in life. I take great comfort in winning these little competitions, but when someone else "wins" I am instantly forced to swallow my pride & it's not an easy thing to do. One of my New Year's resolutions is to try to feel & show empathy. Just because my friend is complaining about how expensive something is & her husband makes probably 4 times what my husband makes, doesn't make her struggle less of a struggle to her. Each person's struggles are framed in their experiences. I am sorry for your struggle. I wish I had a fabulous guy for you or could wave a magic wand & make your hurt disappear. So many people who have been wonderful friends to me are struggling and it breaks my heart. Count your blessings. Look forward with a bright, happy heart. Keep your chin up. The best is yet to be!
    And that was a novel. Hope that made sense & wasn't insensitive to your struggle :) You're awesome!


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