BREAKING OUT OF THE NORM AND SETTLING DOWN

“Let’s be rebellious, let’s be daring, and let’s do whatever the hell we want.”

Let’s rewind a few years – back to my Grandma’s era if you will. Back then, the norm was to get married at 19, have children, do that whole stay at home thing and voila! Your your life was set out. And if you were a little ‘older’ and you weren’t settled – well why on earth not?!

Lately though, our society seems to have had a complete upheaval and changed it’s do’s and don’ts. Do get a career and work hard, don’t settle down early, get married or have babies until you’re 30+. It’s clear this is linked to women’s changing role in society, with more and more of us now choosing to progress in their career before settling down (go us!) In turn, this means we are more likely to hit 30 before reaching our career goal and of course, meeting the right guy, not just the first guy.

Being 30+ before settling down is now so ingrained within society, even the radio reminds you of it. I was on my way to work the other morning and they were talking about how their friend went to see a counsellor (after reaching the big 3-0) because they were still single, hadn’t found the one, and consequently were nowhere near settling down. PANIC! The counsellor’s reply? “That doesn’t happen in real life, you’re thinking of the movies”.

Now, as good as this is for us (no more pressure to settle down early, thank God), what if settling down, having a family, and getting married is your life goal? Does this mean anyone who doesn’t conform to this new ‘norm’ will be seen as doing something…wrong? 

I’ll be completely honest. I’m 23 and I find it slightly mental when I see people my age getting married, or having children. Bear with me, I’m not being offensive I promise. The reason for this? Purely because I still think of us as being so young, with so much to do – which just isn’t possible with a mini you running around. And I know I’m not alone in thinking this. We now, dare I say it, pass some form of judgement (without even realising it, or meaning to) on people who do get engaged/married/have kids or whatever else may come into that ‘settled down’ criteria who are under 25 years old. Which, when you think about it, is just crazy. Settling down earlier than others is certainly not wrong, so if that’s what you want, why feel like you have to wait just to get approval from society?

Let’s put myself in this position. I can’t wait to have children. I was one of those young girls who was obsessed with dolls, and probably played with my baby Annabell (who else had her?!) for much longer than I should have. But, if I was to have a baby right now, I would most likely feel a little embarrassed. And that’s not because I don’t want a baby, but purely because I wouldn’t want people thinking “oh my god, she’s so young”. Cheers society.

In fact, I feel like life is a little unfair to us women. We may want to have both a successful career, as well as having children. And why should we have to pick between the two? Biologically speaking, I feel like our bodies let us down. Once you’ve surpassed 25, your ‘best’ chance of having a baby is over. Depressing thought, eh? Obviously this isn’t to say once you’re 25+ children is a no-go, we obviously know this is far from the truth. But as the age of having babies is getting older, you’d have seriously thought evolution would have adapted by now, surely?  Of course, this can make women feel like they have a slight ultimatum – you pick the career. Or the baby. And if we choose a career? We’ll be seen, or branded, as an ‘older’ mum. And if we choose to have children first? Then we may be frowned upon because we’re a ‘young mum’. Society is a pain in the ass.

Personally, I’m torn. For one, I look at people my age who are getting married or having children and still think we’re so young – despite being like most young girls and thinking I would be married, with children by the grand old age of 25. Because that’s so old. How wrong was I?! On the other hand, I know deep down I don’t want to leave it too late before I join the club. Lately I’ve had a little change of heart and am starting to think, “why do we care what everyone else thinks again? ” I moved in with Harry a year into our relationship, when I was 22. Sure, lots of people must have thought “that’s soon”, and yes, I guess it was. But why should there be a time stamp on everything? Or an age criteria to reach before you can do certain things? If it feels right, then so be it.

A big part to play in my recent change of heart, and those of who read my previous post will know, that I lost my dad when I was 17. Since then, it’s made me realise that having all of my family around through these important life events is actually one of the most important things to me. The last ‘milestone’ if you like that my dad was around to know about was me passing my driving test. Sadly, he won’t ever get to meet Harry, he won’t see the first house that I buy, he won’t be able to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, or see his grandchildren. When I found myself thinking about this the other night, I had a complete flip in opinion. I always used to think that a baby and marriage would come much much later. Not so much now.

Don’t get me wrong (and don’t panic Harry!), I’m not saying that any of the serious stuff will happen any earlier than 30 for me. But, it’s made me realise that age really is just a number (and yes it’s cliché but I really don’t care).

No longer will I hold back from doing things just because it may not fit into the ‘norm’ within society. And neither should you.

Let’s be rebellious, let’s be daring, and let’s do whatever the hell we want.

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