I’m a single 26-year-old with no children. A couple decades ago that might have been considered almost unheard of and all of my parents’ friends would be trying to set me up with their sons and younger relatives, but we’re in different times. Be single, flourish in your career, focus on yourself, we’re told. The marriage and children will come when you’re ready for them. And ready I am not, which made this encounter all the more humorous…
A few months ago, I ran into an old friend who told me that he was surprised by the lack of progress I’ve made in life romantically. He told me that they expected me to be married or at least have kids by now…I responded by saying that I’m only 25 and neither of those steps are in my plans in the next 4/5 years or so.
I mean, I know I’m from the South and all but that doesn’t mean that all southern traditions were indoctrinated in me.My mother didn’t raise me with the expectation that settling down and procreating would be my first priority. Still to this day, neither of my parents pressure me to take those steps. They have always advised me to take my time and focus on my professional development and settle down once I feel that the time is right to make that transition. That time is not in the near future. Right now I’m being selfish, and I’m allowed to be. I’m not ready for the responsibility of raising children or sharing my life with another person 24/7.
For instance, I’m traveling out of the country next month and to Vegas in April. I plan to live dangerously, maybe go cage diving to experience life under the sea within an arm’s reach of a shark, drink too much wine, and wake up one morning with a stranger(okay, the last one isn’t actually part of the plan.lol.). All of these things would not be possible if I was married with a child. I think I may have read somewhere that once you become a mother, you develop an extra dose of maturity. You take a different approach to your life because you become responsible for another one.
But this isn’t the only factor behind my hesitation. I also believe that who I am as a person right now and who I develop into at age 30 or 35 could be two completely different people. Right now, I’d consider myself a responsible, free-spirited individual. And while I’m beginning to see that free-spirited, non-conforming side of my personality fade away as I’m slowly becoming more responsible, timely, and dependable(aka, my mother’s clone), I’m still not ready to give that fun and- at times- immature part up.
I’m not ready to take that step with another person until I am comfortable with the space that I’m in in life…
There was an article in Time Magazine about my generation and how many of us are either prolonging childbirth or not having children at all. Many have raised questions about the Millennials and the role we’ve played in the declining childbirth rates, but if you compare that with the status of our economy and the rising cost of living(especially in cities like DC and New York) it might make a little bit of sense that many people from this generation are prolonging marriage and pregnancy. The average cost of rent in DC, where I live, is over $2,000 a month and the average house costs over $500,000. Can you blame me?
Please understand, this isn’t me knocking the people who have already taken those steps in life at my age. We don’t all move at the same pace, and everyone can be in different places in their lives at 26. For now, I love my slow-paced, carefree life just the way it is. I love my freedom, I love that I have the opportunity to dictate my own life and my career without having to consult with or factor in another person.
Giving birth is a Beautiful part of life that I hope to experience someday. That day is just not today….or a year from now. It’s when I’m ready. And whether it takes me 4 years to get there or 10 years, I will enjoy every minute of the journey. It will make the arrival at my destination all the more beautiful.
What are Your Thoughts About Starting a Family at Your Age?