I do seem to have a theme happening this past few weeks in regards to my posts and I don't have any one reason for you except that I've developed a different, more adult approach to relationships. Realism vs romanticism.
You've heard it said more than once that a woman has a body clock. Not the one that wakes you up in the morning or helps you fall asleep, but the one that tells us when we are ready to reproduce. Biological clock.
It is true that in 2016 people are living longer and women in particular are delaying the process of getting married, having children and starting families. 'Adulting' to use the vernacular of the people; a process we consider to be something we have to do rather than something we actually are already. I hate having to adult a lot of days
Our elongated life spans now mean that yes we have more time to enjoy life so we went from our 20's being the best times of our lives to 30's and now 40's because that's still not that old. Rather by the time we hit our 40's there's no end to the party since we can't even retire for another 20-25 years. If we still have to work then we can certainly still enjoy all the benefits of travel, social life and youth. This is also part of the reason that those of us in our 20's struggle to consider ourselves adults; think of it as a reclamation of the youth that was stolen from us previously when our life spans were shorter, such as when children worked in factories during the Victorian Age and died in our 30's and 40's.
It's perfectly great to be in our 20's during the 2010's because its like being adults on training wheels - we are adults when we want and need to be but for all other intents and purposes we are just big kids. More or less.
That being said the pressure is definitely not off, especially for women. Whilst we are younger for longer and have the ability to have children, marry, start families and buy houses when we are older, one thing that has not changed much at all is our biological clock. It is still there and just because we live longer now doesn't, unfortunately, mean that for a lot of women this clock slows the hell down.
Rather I would argue that the situation is made even worse, harder on some women since we do live longer. For example, one reason is the effect this longer life span has had on men. For men in a lot of ways it has been great - they can mess around for longer before settling down if they ever do. Being a young adult for all of us means responsibility can come a little later and settling down in our 30's or 40's is vast becoming a social norm - I argue that for men more so than women this is much easier to relax and wait this long.
Let's talk purely about reproduction and settling down for a moment. Women will be born with all the eggs they can have in their lifetime, and from 12-16 when we first become active right up until we go through menopause in our late 40's or 50's when it's stop time. At this stage it becomes not only medically dangerous but nigh impossible naturally - before we even tackle social issues. It does happen that women become mothers at older ages, but it isn't necessarily healthy and it does cause significant problems.
So it is often recommended and expected by most that for women if they are intending to have children the best time will be between the ages of 18 and 45. Seems like a long time, right? Well, in some instances yes it is, but when you throw the extended life span and feeling of a more infinite time in youth you get a collection of younger people who think they have all the time in the world until they realise they don't. It is very common in the modern era for men and women to hit their 30's or 40's and suddenly feel the pressure of that biological clock starting to tick - in some cases even a lot younger.
Aside from those men and women who flat out are not interested in having children (good for you if that is your view), the problem for a lot of us is finding the happy medium in being carefree and not ready, and feeling the tick of that biological clock. The reason I argue that this is harder for women than men is because for men there is no end of fertility except in the case of medical misfortune. The majority of men are fertile their entire lives, and can therefore father children up until they depart the land of the living. So whilst when it comes to producing a dynasty men quite literally have all the time in the world, women don't.
For women both social issues and medical issues meet in the middle on the topic of the biological clock. Many of us want to meet someone, settle down and start a family eventually. We don't always mean right now or tomorrow, but someday sooner or later. The problem is when you consider, usually after a relationship gone wrong or bad date, the length of time you have to do this in. I reiterate of course that all women will approach the issue of the body clock a little differently or not at all, but for myself I am in two minds:
1. I am only 25, I have time.
2. I am 25, I am running out of time.
Personally I do not, like some women, have the desire to freeze my eggs and I don't know how I would feel about sperm donation. I am old fashioned and I love the idea of meeting someone, falling in love, settling down and starting a family together. The problem for me is that at 25 I have never been in a relationship, and not only that but it never seems like one is on the horizon. Being single in itself is fine - I do pretty much all the things that I want to do and most of the time I don't feel like I miss out. What isn't fine is that the closer I get to 30 the more the pressure of my biological clock starts to creep up on me, and that is not a good feeling.
I have a lot of excess love to give that never gets to go anywhere besides my pets, and romance aside I would love to have a child one day. Ideally I'd love to have a child of my own but failing that since all the men I seem to meet are not keen to spend time with me let alone to settle down what options does that leave me?
In 2016 women do not need a consistent man in their live to have a child, true, if it is by IVF. Adoption is in itself another matter that still holds to the mantra of requiring two parents; fortunately now we don't always discriminate against same-sex parents (I know plenty and they are fabulous!) but what is odd is that there is only a very low success rate of single mothers who adopt. Ironic when you can be impregnated by man you've never met, or in some cases after a night with someone you didn't catch the name of.
So in another 20 years if I am still yet to have a child I have three options:
1. Adopt or Foster - but unless I have a consistent man in my life, or move in with friends like its Full House, my success rate may very well be low or I could wait for years to find a child. The age gap between us would then be very high and lead to a bevy of social issues and me potentially being out of touch.
2. IVF - Assuming I'd have frozen my eggs already, I can find a perfect sperm donor and go at it on my own. However being that in this scenario I am 45 I could struggle for years, suffer medically or potentially not even be able to afford the cost of the treatments that may not even take. And even if I am successful age gap between us would then be very high and lead to a bevy of social issues and me potentially being out of touch.
3. Give up - This seems like an choice from here that I do not want to have to make. I won't be strapped for love of course with friends around and the multitude of dogs that I will no doubt adopt, but I know that I would regret not having had a child.
In 2016 I am turning 26 and whilst all these options seem so far away and yes right now I am just enjoying being single, having a good time and meeting new people, the hard truth is that someday sooner than I would like I will have to accept that my biological clock is ticking. There's no help for it.
So men of the world I am not coming gunning for you, but try to remember that sometimes the girls you are just having fun with won't feel like it forever. Some of us are really out there to meet someone with an endgame in mind if you are the right person, and denial of that fact will not just ensure your carefree life. Men's denial of women's body clock's or refusal or acknowledge it will only end in tears and a harsh wake up call for all involved.
For men and women its all well and good to mess around just for the fun of it but not all of us can out run that body clock forever.
Not even if we live to 100.