There’s still a lot of societal pressure put on women to achieve certain things by a certain age… and especially that magical 3-0 number that makes us feel like our internal clock is officially ticking. If you’re single–when will you find your partner? Feeling the pressure to have your career moving in the right direction and getting your act together… buying a house? But what if you still haven’t figured out your dream career plans or are still in school? If married–when will you have children? And almost as soon as you do have your first baby the questions roll in about your next. Or you may be struggling to get pregnant and feeling that clock ticking even faster. And although I’d like to say I’m not, I’m just as guilty, as I ask my closest girlfriends all of these questions too.
I met my husband at age 19… we dated all through college and a few years out of college, but when he popped the question to marry him at age 25 I still felt so young. Getting married at age 25 wasn’t part of my plan! You know the plan you created in your mind for yourself as a little girl… the one where I went to medical school, focused on my career, traveled, and then later got married around 30. I knew I had found my person but I was still focused on an age, which is so silly. I thought 30 sounded like the right, mature age to get married–but we shouldn’t feel pressured to stick to a timeline. I remember even getting mad at my dad when he gave Tanner permission to pop the question… even when I had figured Tanner was going to ask him. “Dad I’m still so young?!” Funny because, Tanner is someone who knows what he wants and goes after it. He wanted to bring me along to graduate school with him across the country on the east coast and the next logical part of our plan in his mind was to get married and go together. Also funny because T is always right and his plan worked out to be the best plan for us. Those years in New York together are some of my favorite memories! But also thinking back on those years in New York and most of my friends and co-workers weren’t married. I remember even feeling self-conscious about wearing my wedding ring to work because my boss wasn’t married. But why did I think she’d care if I was?
My friends and family have never put any age-related pressures on me, but I guess societally and sub-consciously, they’re there. I remember when I turned 30 and we were back on the west coast again, my pace of life had slowed down and everyone around me was having babies so I just thought okay this is probably the most ready I’ll ever feel? I guess we do this? Looking back T and I both agree we would have waited longer if we were still living in New York. We could have traveled more and pushed off having a baby for a couple more years, but now Rex is the very best part of our story and of course we wouldn’t change that for anything. And even today as I think about baby number two I thought I had wanted to have babies within two years, the same age gap as my sister and I, and yet I haven’t felt ready. I’m just giving myself the time I need and trusting that I’ll know when it feels like the right timing for me and our family. I’m not avoiding the baby number two questions, but instead am just answering honestly.
It’s only normal to compare yourself to your friends and those around you, but I’ve learned you really can’t get consumed with age-related pressure. Rather it’s a feeling, and you’ll know when you feel ready for those next chapters of your life. When I think about my single girlfriends who are still searching for their partners, or my sister who will be getting married at 31 and is worried about her biological clock but also not wanting to jump into having babies quite yet… the only advice I have to give them is that timing doesn’t always happen perfectly. Things don’t go according to your “plan” and to try not to compare your story to anyone else’s, but instead to live life on your own terms and take joy in walking your own path.
So happy to be a part of a larger global conversation in partnership with skin care brand, SK-II, who is inspiring and opening up a dialog around the age-related pressures women face every day through their #INeverExpire campaign. The reality is that our biological clocks are ticking but what’s the answer to making women feel less of this pressure to have accomplished and checked off all the boxes by a certain age? And now especially in our competitive digital age when everyone is connected on social media and our Facebook pages and Instagram feeds are flooded with those milestone moments?
I think the reason my thirties have been the best is because I finally am living my life not caring about what anyone else thinks… with age comes that wisdom, knowledge and confident spirit!
Check out SK-II’s The Expiry Date video, an incredibly moving film that challenges these timelines put on us by society and let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Thank you to SK-II for partnering on this post!