I’m not sure when it becomes such a benchmark, but it does and it seems to for all women: ‘By 30, I’ll have done X, Y and Z.’ The big 3-0 carries a lot of weight with womankind. It’s not like it’s explicitly said, but we’re expected to have ourselves ‘together’ by thirty. We should be married with kids and a good career. It’s around the mid-20s that the panic starts to set in if you’re not on track to achieve such perfection. Can we give ourselves a break? Exactly what are we in such a rush for?
Oh sure, I get it – our ‘biological clock’ is ticking like a time bomb in our uterus’ (what is the plural of uterus? Uteri?). But women are having kids older now. Believe it or not, your reproductive organs don’t shrivel up and die when you hit 30. And equally, you don’t actually have to be a mother at all. It’s OK to not want that. We have far more options open to us now as women where our identity doesn’t solely revolve around motherhood.
So why else is 30 such a big deal? Oh of course, our attractiveness, or lack thereof. Read anything about ‘pick up artists’ and you’ll be familiar with the concept that you’re over the hill once you pass 24. So 30? THIRTY?! You may as well just call it a day – how on earth is anyone expected to be attracted to a woman 30+? Such a big ask. I know too many girls who are part of the ‘if I’m not married with kids by the time I’m 30 I’ll just…’ They never quite finish the sentence but it’s clear that being single and childless post-30 is a fate worse than death.
Then there’s the career element. You could take a year out after sixth form, before uni to go live life a little, but then you’re a year behind on the grand master plan and the clock just keeps ticking towards 30, you know? So, stay put, stay focused and climb the ladder because it’s already harder for us as it is, so if you really want to be donning the power suits by 29, you better really be about your business starting at like, 15. Time’s a-wastin’!
The pressure to have it all figured out in this short amount of time leads to many women having full-on melt downs, forgetting to actually live life, making poor decisions and rushing choices in the quest to get it all ‘right’. I saw a clip of Kim Kardashian recently where she was crying about her recently bust marriage saying ‘I thought I’d be married with kids by the time I was 30 and I’m not!’ Gah! The horror! She went from relationship to relationship, more than one engagement and seemed to have been with this most recent one a matter of months before announcing they were to get married. Seventy two days later, they file for divorce.The pressure to have it all before she was 30 damn near sent this chick stir crazy.
And no matter how much people tell you differently, the mentality has been so engrained in us that we find it hard to believe that there is actually life after 30. I’m not married, I don’t even want children and my career is far from being ‘on track’ but having turned 30 this year, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I learned so much in my 20s by both rushing to hit all the things I thought I should by magical 30 and then by chilling the hell out and living life. So when I see people tweeting ‘OMG, I can’t believe I’ll be 25 tomorrow!’ I can do nothing but chuckle.
I’ll tell ya, it’s way more fun hitting 30. All that pressure is released. I’m just gonna achieve at my own rate. I won’t be crying into my Cornflakes if I haven’t done X, Y and Z by the time I’m 32. Screw the numbers – work hard, enjoy life and the rest just falls into place.