For me, this still refers to my mom, dad, and siblings. I realize for others my age this could mean a family of their own. I let go of the societal expectation of me starting my own family somewhere around age 26 or 27, when I basically started taking a hard look at my life and the future I was creating for myself. I accepted that if I didn’t want the typical family structure that society deemed appropriate, that was fine. If I never marry, if I don’t have kids—I am fine with these things and will not be “broken” because of them.
I can’t tell you how many times people have questioned: “How old are you?” When I respond they give a long “ahhh, well you’ve still got some years left…” like they are counting down my worth as a woman, like I have an expiration date! I am acutely aware of my age, and I don’t need your disapproving look or your consoling me because I haven’t had any children yet.
My life is not any less fulfilling, or any less meaningful to the world because I have not fulfilled my “womanly duty.” I find it completely insulting. Who says I can even have children. That I want them. That its any of your FUCKING BUSINESS.
As I age, I am increasingly more grateful for the family that I have, the roles they have played in my life, and more than anything I have realized the importance of the family we choose (those we surround ourselves with). I have family—I will always have family (regardless of whether my idea of family or timeline matches up with that of everyone else).
Don’t let anyone else define your timeline. Do you, and don’t feel guilty for being ahead or behind of what society deems “appropriate.”
(For those who don’t know… I am doing “30 days to 30” and sharing life lessons and stories in order to celebrate my birthday—hoping to break stigmas and stereotypes about what 30 means and looks like)