Despite What Society Tells Us Our Lives Are Not Over After 35
More and more on Medium, women are writing about the regrets of having children, but even more than that, it seems that they don’t see a bright future for themselves as individuals.
Girls are trained to want babies and a husband. You can’t deny that. From the toys geared towards us to what we see on TV and in movies, as well as what we grow up seeing in our environments, girls are taught that getting married is a good thing. Having babies is also supposed to be a good thing, which is why when a woman announces a pregnancy or a birth, we give her a collective CONGRATULATIONS as if being pregnant and having a baby are awesome things rather than it meaning she’s going to suffer from bodily malfunctions and permanent alterations, sleep deprivation, and possible postpartum depression. Being pregnant, going through labor, and then having to care for another human being 24/7 immediately after the labor before properly recovering isn’t actually a terrific thing. To put it bluntly, it seems downright awful. After going through all of that, she’s supposed to sigh and say, with a smile on her face, “That was totally worth it.” It’s been romanticized to the point to where if a woman doesn’t want to experience all of that pain and trauma, she’s seen as defective.
Think about that for a minute.
After going through all of that, the woman is meant to dedicate everything to that child. She is meant to be a vessel and then a sacrifical lamb. She is to forsake everything about herself and put her child — or children — first.
In short, she’s not going to have time for herself. She is not going to belong to herself anymore. If she decides to put herself before her kids, she’s going to be a selfish person. Her kids most likely won’t appreciate everything she’s done for them, but she’s expected to do it all, thanklessly, and with a smile on her face.
But she loses herself somewhere along the way. And before she realizes it, she’s over 35, doesn’t know who she is as a person, and realizes that her entire identity is totally wrapped up in her kids.
What dreams does she has? She can’t remember dreams or goals, but she can probably tell you her kids' dreams and goals.
What does her future hold? Truthfully, all she wants in the future is a nap. She’s mostly invested in her children’s futures since she no longer sees one for herself the way she did back when she was in high school wearing Abercrombie outfits and Hollister perfume.
Since I didn’t have kids, I never invested 100% of myself in another person (or people), therefore I was able to work on myself. The dreams I had at 15 were able to evolve along with my growth. I never had to let go of any of my hobbies or things that I liked or loved cold turkey due to me investing myself in someone else completely, but instead, those things also evolved along with me.
I know who I am, I know what I love, I know what I like, I know what I don’t like, I still have hopes and dreams for the future, I still have goals, I still see a bright future for myself even though I’m closer to forty than to thirty.
Not one of my ambitions involve a relationship or kids. While I’m not anti-relationship, it just doesn’t fit into my life or future goals.
No one can tell you who you are as a woman. No one can tell you what to like or not like or what your goals should or shouldn’t be. You have to figure those things out on your own. But the first step is understanding that you can figure those things out — you just have to want to.
You also have to take a page out of the male playbook that they were given since they were old enough to think.
Boys are given constructive toys that will help them throughout their lives by way of careers and hobbies. Boys are taught survival skills in the wild.
Boys are also taught that settling down, having a wife and kids, will be the death of them and they will hate it. Yet girls are taught that our lives should revolve around those boys and we need them — the same people who are taught we’re going to ruin their lives — and we need to work to please them.
Once you’ve figured all of that out, as a woman, you should feel freer. You shouldn’t feel so bad about some of the choices you’ve made when it comes to relationships and having babies because that’s what you were taught since before you could reason. And figuring that out should give you the courage to figure out who you are and what you want.
Your age doesn’t define you as a woman, not unless you let it. Whether you look good in a bikini, or not, doesn’t define you. Look at men and do a true assessment of what and how you define them, and see if you define yourself the same way, or if you’re much harsher on yourself and other women.
Do what young boys did when they were little. Be adventurers and explore life. You don’t have to travel anywhere, simply have an open mind and be much kinder to yourself. Do what little boys do and discover your passions. Do what little boys are allowed to do — have fun and be messy with little to no admonishment because that’s what little boys do. And above all, stop humanizing men more than you’ve been taught to humanize yourself. Give yourself the same treatment that you give your children — love yourself unconditionally, without remorse, and give yourself the things you need and some of the things you truly want.