I am 27 years old, which makes me feel incredibly old and youthful all at the same time. Old because I'm significantly closer to 30 than 20 and young because, well Im not even in my 30s yet - phew!
Woman of my generation we raised by one who was raised by one who were all married at 15. Or to put it simpler, our Grandparents probably had five children by now and owned four bedroom houses. When I first went to University my Nana reminded me that by that age she had two children (including my mother), was married and they owned their first house. She even told me how she needed £100 for the deposit and needed to borrow £20 from her brother to get the mortgage. Oh, those where the days.
Now, you're lucky if you can save up the cash to get on the property ladder even with a 5% mortgage or if you can even get a decent job and move out at all. I know many people, my age and older that still live with parents or have only just left. Thats just the way the world is now.
When I was 18 I was going to university, had barely worked other than weekend jobs, had maybe one serious-ish boyfriend and had no idea who I was. The concept of marriage, babies and owning property was way way off. Nine years later (ouch) I am at a point where I do consider myself an adult.
By Adult I mean, I own property, have savings and I can look after myself (cooking, cleaning, laundry..all the boring stuff) but still spend ridiculous amounts of money on things I dont need because other than a small cat I have no dependants. I'm currently enjoying the part of life that Friends enjoyed for the best part of 10 years (until they started marrying each other and having babies). But sadly it doesnt matter how adult you feel (or not) and how happy you are with your current situation; people still want to ask when or why or how are you going to get married and have babies.
Now I'm not going to lie and say Im never going to get married or have children. For one, I dont know. I might never have those things or I might wake up tomorrow and really want a child. Im realistic about the situation but right now the idea of changing my situation doesn't appeal. There is always that New Girl episode though, where Jess and Cece check how many eggs they have left because by 30 most women have lost 90% of their fertile eggs. Again, ouch. As a woman approaching her 30s more quickly than I would like that is at the back of your mind slightly even if its just one though on a Wednesday afternoon while you're waiting for the kettle to boil.
I'm probably not alone in family and friends asking when you're going to get married and have babies or a stranger to logging on to your social media to find people you went to school with and younger getting married and pumping out humans like we have a population crisis. Each to their own. But with every baby scan photo that goes up the pressure on women who havnt re-produced grows. In fact, the rise (and rightfully so, cause yay girl power) of "mama gangs" who point out that you dont know hard work/sleep deprivation/pain/love until you have a child is disheartening. Now I dont know that its like to have a child, no amount of baby sitting is work experience for the ultimate job of parent but I do know what its like to work insanely hard all hours of the day, to not sleep for months and to feel heartbreak, love and every emotion in between. My worth isn't defined by the life choices I make or at least I shouldn't be less than because I haven't decided to have a child or have one yet.
Theres also a lot of debate and conflict over the idea of a woman who is a feminist wanting to get married, have babies and even (shocker) change her name. How could you possibly be a feminist but conform to such a degree? On this one I clearly stay again, each to their own. If you get married and want to share your name, their name or a mixture then great. Marriage is meant to a equal partnership but its all down to personal choice.
Its a weird balancing act because at the end of the day women, because lets face it its usually a female relative that asks about settling down, shouldn't judge other women for what they have decided to do, not do yet or never do with their bodies and their lives.
I'd really love to hear other people thoughts on this and if they feel this pressure as a woman yet. Do men get the same pressure to settle down and at what age?
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