After I posted my article discussing my dating hiatus, my mom called. “I’m glad you’re enjoying your hiatus … But I really want you to find someone … So please don’t do this for too long.” To which I responded, “I appreciate your concern … but like … Let me live.”
Regardless of where you were raised in the world, this is likely the general life construct in which you were brought up: Get good grades. Go to college. Get a job. Find your partner. Move in together. Get engaged. Get married. Go on a honeymoon somewhere tropical. Buy a house. Have a kid. Get promoted along the way. Spend the next few years adjusting to life without sleep. Have another kid. Maybe buy another house. Take family road trips (if you’re from the Midwest like me, you probably took that God awful drive to Florida at least once or twice). Spend the next 20–30 years tired and never thinking about yourself and wondering where all your money keeps going. Eventually the kids move out. You work for a bit longer and try to remember what you like doing for fun. You retire. You get some cute grandkids. You die.
Let me preface by saying … There is NOTHING wrong with this life. I’ll say it again. There is NOTHING wrong with this life. Please don’t attack me. I’m not putting anyone down. This life is beautiful. I have so many friends that followed this path and are so happy and I support happiness more than anything. My point with this is … Why is there no construct to be happy living an alternate lifestyle? What if your path looks wildly different? What about the people that don’t meet their partner in their 20s or 30s? What about the people that go through divorces? What about the people that choose to stay single? Or have multiple partners? What about the people that choose to not have kids? Or what about the people that choose to have kids on their own? What about the people that decide to make a drastic career change mid-life and start all over again?
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many people from so many walks of life and let me tell you … The most interesting people I’ve ever met are the ones who, according to society, have gone off the fucking rails.
So coming back to my biological clock …
I can’t speak to the male experience because I’m not a dude … But every single female has a moment (okay … many moments) in life when their biological clock screams at them and sends them into straight up panic mode. Mine screamed the loudest on my 30th birthday. I’ll tell you about it …
It was a sunny day in April (the 23rd). A Tuesday to be exact. I was working from home … At a job I hated. I had just run the Boston Marathon a few weeks prior (best day of my life) and was quickly crashing from my post marathon high. I was dating my ex at the time. We were coming up on four years and I think the tears started around 10am when I lost my shit because he didn’t plan anything for my birthday. I didn’t yell at him … Because I was much more avoidant and passive aggressive at the time (I’ve come a long way) … So I just shutdown and cried and eventually my mom showed up at my door with a bottle of champagne in which I drowned myself in.
I realize now it wasn’t about the lack of flowers or that he didn’t plan a special evening which sent me into emotional chaos. It was my biological clock … FREAKING out because I had no idea where my life was going. I hated my job … I knew in my heart our relationship was reaching it’s expiration and we were both just holding on by threads … I didn’t know what to do … But I was terrified of starting over because I was still operating under the premise that when you turn 30, you’re officially old and you’re supposed to have it all figured out. If you don’t get married soon, you’re not worthy. And if you don’t have kids soon, you’ll miss your chance and your life will have no meaning. I didn’t want to go “backwards” and was desperately avoiding it at all costs.
That year ROCKED me. Eventually we broke up. I cried a lot. I ran a lot. I spent a lot of time in therapy …. And on my yoga mat. And even though it was probably one of the most challenging years of my life, it was by far the most rewarding … Because I learned to relinquish control. To embrace the unknown. To let life unfold instead of tightly holding onto my vision of what I was “supposed” to be doing at 30.
Today, instead of panicking about what life has in store and if/when things are going to happen for me, I simply get excited about the mystery of what’s to come. Who am I gonna meet today? What crazy shit is gonna come out of my mouth next? I wonder where my next trip is gonna be? What do I feel like learning? If you approach life with curiosity, it gets so much more fun. And if you keep your heart open and simply try to be a better person than you were the day prior, I promise good things will come … Even if it’s not exactly how you imagined.
I’ll leave you guys with this quote that might sound stupid and cheesy to some, but it changed my whole outlook and I hope it helps yours too.
“Don’t compare yourself to others. For there is no comparison between the sun and the moon. They each shine when it’s their time.”
When your biological clock starts screaming at you, just turn the volume up and drown it out. Throw out your timelines. Throw out those constructs. And just live a life that is most authentic to you. You’ll shine when it’s your time and it’ll be the most beautiful thing that anyone has ever seen. Even if it looks a little different.
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