Today, I am mad at society.
This morning I awoke to the realization that I feel an undue pressure to couple, quickly. Because I am not getting any younger.
On the surface, that's not society's fault. Time generally progresses in a linear, forward-moving fashion that I've gotten used to over the years. But I am not, actually 'running out of time', in the sense that i still have more than half of my life ahead of me. So why do I feel this way?
There's the biological reality of childbirth, but first, many babies are born healthy and happy to mothers in their thirties and even beyond. Truthfully, having a genetic child has never really been that big of a deal to me, except in that I think I have decent genetics (healthy, intelligent family...good stuff to share with society's gene pool, etc.), so even the fact that I want to have a baby doesn't explain this pressure.
The feeling of running out of time comes from the idea that as I age, as a woman, I am becoming less and less value. I peaked some time around 24, and am quickly wasting my "Still Fuckable" years finishing my PhD and starting my career. the idea that, as a youthful and good looking woman in her early thirties I have managed to sneak by, but am living on borrowed time and will inevitably wake up on day, 39 and a useless husk of a human, no longer marketable or of interest.
I've read opinion pieces about how 'smart women are too picky' and listened to all the supposedly tongue-in-cheek sitcom comments about women in their thirties. And it is soaking in. The women who star across from actors older than me are starting to look (and actually are) younger than me. I am looking right at you Jeniffer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. They look great together, but dude is FOURTY. She is twenty five. Let's be real about this for, like, one minute.
That kind of stuff perpetuates this nagging feeling that I am not as valuable as I was when I was in my twenties, that I am some kind of sports car you drove off the lot, or a piece of fruit with a short shelf life.
This feeling persists in direct defiance of reality; I am not one of those woman who looks back with jealousy of nostalgia at photos of a younger, more attractive me. I was an awkward ass teen and young adult, and have only in the last six or seven years really blossomed as a stylish, attractive woman who dresses well and manages her eyebrows effectively. I have gotten objectively hotter in my late twenties and early thirties, I even lost some weight!
I've also become a better person, through years of therapy and challenging relationships and experiences, I have become the kind of person I want to be. I am nicer, more honest, funnier, more helpful. I am more pleasant to be around, and frankly it is more pleasant to be me.
These are, of course, my opinions, but I think most people close to me would say it's true. I am absolutely certain about the eyebrows thing, and dudes, it makes a difference. The final factor is my value to society, and that is undeniable. I am currently increasing my earning potential at a much faster rate than when I was younger, bouncing from anonymous office job to meaningless office job. Now I am developing my career in a satisfying, challenging and in demand career that will have a positive effect on the world around me. Soon I will make a solid salary with fantastic benefits and a flexible schedule, making me the idea trophy wife for anyone wanting to pursue their own interests. Plus there are my qualities that don't age; I like to cook and entertain, and can be helpful in a bevy of social situations. I am generally a pretty decent catch, and all signs point to me becoming literally more valuable as time goes on.
So this dumb idea that I am running out of time, that each day I exist somehow mars my value, is absolute bullshit. I knew me at 22, 24, 26. I was kind of an asshole, or at least I was confused, and often drunk and topless. Today I am the good kind of fun, that stays up late drinking wine and then makes a frittata for you in the morning.
And soon I'll be able to buy you something pretty, too.