I’ve mentioned before that I recently turned 29. Sometimes I still feel like I’m in my early 20s … I still go out with friends, have crazy nights out (or in!) drinking, go to tons of concerts, etc. Basically I try to have as many awesome experiences as possible.
Here’s the thing: I don’t have a lot of responsibility. Yes, I’m engaged and live with my fiancé. Obviously this means we split up our chores, pay bills, and so on. I work full time (and I do have quite a few responsibilities in my position), often putting in more than 40 hours each week. I also volunteer once a week (as I mentioned in a previous entry).
But … That’s about it. Eric and I don’t have pets, and we don’t have children. Because of this, we have a lot of freedom.
Sometimes, though, this makes me feel like I’m not a true “adult.”
I realized this recently when I was on Facebook. Ahhh, Facebook. Such an interesting mix of random shit a lot of people will care about, random shit a few people will care about, and random shit no one will ever care about (except the person posting it, of course).
Facebook has this strange way of making you either feel really great about your life or really really badly about it.
Some examples (because people love examples!):
Someone posts that they have interviewed for several different jobs in the last month and have yet to find anything. They’re worried about paying the bills this month because their savings account is dwindling.
While I feel bad for this person (and may even offer some words of encouragement), I can’t help but feel pretty lucky. I know where my next paycheck is coming from, and I feel incredibly grateful to have a job (and even more grateful that I have a job I actually enjoy).
Then I’ll scroll down and see something like this:
Image courtesy of http://www.sheknows.com.
The caption will say something like: “My life may not be glamorous, but I love every second I have with my wonderful family. My kids are such a blessing and I don’t know what I’d do without them!”
Now I know everyone does things at a different pace. When I was 22 (or hell, even 27!), I wasn’t ready to get married and start a family. To be honest, I still get a little scared when I think about it (especially the having kids part). It’s a huge life change and a huge responsibility.
But then I worry that I’m not a true “adult.” I think when couples are child-free by choice, that’s an adult decision. They’ve obviously discussed the matter in a mature, rational way and have determined that it’s best for them not to have kids. I think when couples decide to have a child, that’s also an adult decision. Even if it wasn’t planned, they have at some point discussed how their lives will change once the baby arrives and have made the choice to keep it.
Then there are couples like myself and Eric. We’re what I’d like to call “in limbo.” I’d say we’re even more “in limbo” than most because we’re thinking we’ll start trying for a baby in the next 1-2 years. But there’s no way to know what will happen … That’s just a kind of vague, “Hey, maybe we should do this soon,” kind of thing.
So here I am, just enjoying life … And here’s mom of the year with her 3 perfect children, loving husband, and homemade everything. I’ll think I’ve got my shit together and then BAM … I feel completely inept.
I in no way think having a family makes someone more successful. But there’s this weird feeling I get when I realize that like 90% of the people I graduated high school with are married with at least one kid (some are on their second, third, or even fourth!). It feels even weirder that a lot of them have kids that are starting school! That’s just crazy to me. And it’s probably crazy because I’m just getting to that place. At 29.
I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Please feel free to share your own stories of imagined inadequacy in the comments!