More changes than the first digit of your age when you turn thirty. If you’re anything like me, you may have begun to notice little aches and pains and the fact that sometimes the term “crawling out of bed” isn’t an exaggeration. You mention these minor annoyances to your mother, and she laughs and says, “Wait till you’re my age.” Old sports injuries to which you barely gave a thought at twenty-two, are now things that must be constantly kept in mind or paid for dearly later. All-night partying has become an every once in a while thing because somewhere along the line it started taking days to recover rather than hours. But these are just examples from my life. I expect you have a list of your own.
While I would love to lament every new gray hair, or the fact that I am still way too young to have my weather-predicting knee, there is a greater issue at hand.
If you’re a woman in your thirties, unmarried, with no children, and your career has yet to blast off, you can almost feel the question coming. “Well, what’s wrong with you?” While most people are a bit (and I do mean only a bit) more tactful than that, the question is forever implied. If not with words, it is implied with the look: that condescending facial expression that urges you to go on as if you must have some tragic tale or maybe spent the last few years being held captive on an alien spacecraft. You can have the career and be fine. You can have the family of your own and be equally as fine. If you maintain both, you’re Superwoman. But if you have neither you might as well go with the alien story.
Believe me. I know how it feels. Many have been the occasions when I told people what I did for a living (whichever day job I had at the time) and then quickly tried to run down the list of my writing projects and other independent endeavors before they could heat up their L-shaped branding irons.
And ya know what? Maybe I didn’t want to marry the last bozo I dated. Did anyone ever think of that? I know it may be hard for some to believe, but just because a woman reaches a certain age, doesn’t mean she’s aching to get married and start a family. And it certainly does not mean that if she hasn’t it’s because there’s something wrong with her. Sometimes that alien spacecraft looks pretty good compared to staying in a relationship.
Of course, my life has changed a bit. I’m with The Fiancé, and I just got some very good career news. I’m lucky. Things came together. But to all my sisters out there who have yet to have things come together for them, I understand. There’s nothing wrong with you. There is however, something wrong with a society that marks your worth as a woman by your status or the material possessions you’ve collected or your yearly salary. Dr. Seuss covered this a long time ago with the Star-Belly Sneetches and the Plain-Belly Sneetches. The Sneetches learned their lesson. When will we?