I finally solidified this idea last month, but wanted to wait until after my birthday to post it. Then, both Jen and Ange wrote similar posts and it was nice to see that I wasn’t alone. It’s one of the reasons I love honesty so much. Also, the universe wants it to be written.
I wrote a previous post about pregnancy and children here (it’s good; I just reread it), but a lot of my ideas were still nebulous. It often takes me time to analyze, OVERanalyze, and then just experience life for things to solidify. Here’s this week’s thinking out loud and some thoughts on kids at 32.
Yesterday I turned 32.
The problem is that I don’t feel 32 or really on par with my peers of the same age group.
One thing I heard repeated in recovery is that when you stop the addiction, addicts of any kind are emotionally the age they were when they started using. We stop developing socially and emotionally as we learn to run from those feelings and interactions by using whatever substance or action we can.
That makes my emotional age when I entered recovery 18.
Of course this isn’t true for everyone, and there’s no statistical data backed by science, but it’s a loose statement meant to emphasize that addiction slows maturity and a lot of our personal development.
I was 26 when I entered recovery, meaning that I abused drugs and alcohol on and off for 8 years. I’ve been in recovery for 6, and every year I learn more about myself. I had to start with the basics:
- Feelings aren’t facts
- No one is perfect
- You are enough
- You can’t find happiness by dressing up the outside
- Self-care is essential
And so on and so on. These are all basic developmental milestones that I was delayed in conceptualizing until I actually decided to live life and see how it’s done.
So now that I’m 32 and have been married for 3 years, inevitably the questions about when we are going to have children start to come up. I’m lucky in that I haven’t been bombarded by them, but I know there’s still a wonder. Believe me, I’m right there with you.
Here’s the thing about me and children right now: I’m too selfish to have them.
This is right now, mind you, not ever. I went over it in my head with all kinds of justifications, but the truth of the matter is that I want, no NEED, to take the years that I lost and make sure that I am emotionally ready to be the best parent I can.
As noble as the emotional part sounds, I have other selfish reasons:
- I want to grow in my career (who am I??)
- I want to do what I want when I want
- I want to be able to travel with Neil on short notice
- I want to travel with Neil. Period. Sans baby.
Basically, I want to be able to experience the life that I denied myself for 8 years. I want to dedicate my full attention to work and play and growing into myself. This means that I will probably be later in my 30s before I want to have kids, which at this point has actually gone from a proposed two down to one. Kids are WORK, yo.
I feel like I’m FINALLY becoming an adult and caring about things like the future, where I want to go in life, and basically everything that didn’t make sense to me or matter much when I was in my 20s. I do not take the decision to raise children lightly, and will probably overanalyze it just like everything else in my life. That being said, I’m also a big proponent of intuition, and am confident that it will help guide that decision when the time is right, just like it has throughout the years.
This postponement decision used to terrify me, as I watched many people my age starting families and finding contentment and purpose in raising another human being. I still think I will feel incomplete without it, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to force it to happen because of some arbitrary timeline. Even the fact that I’ve come to peace with that fact shows growth from last year.
So for now I am going to focus on solidifying Erin, enjoying every moment, and reclaiming the years I spent foggy and stagnant. I’m going to grow, achieve, and prepare the best life I possibly can for medium eyes (seriously, read it).
On a related note, I seem to be experiencing what can only be described as “dog fever,” which, although I haven’t experienced it, must be what “baby fever” is like for some. I’ve always loved dogs, but I seem to have developed a stronger urge to touch them, talk to them, coddle them, and seek them out at dog parks. I’ve forced my sister to sent me pictures and videos of Pinky. I’ve lost all fear when it comes to approaching complete strangers and asking to accost their dog. Has this happened to anyone else??
- What are your thoughts on kids?
- Can I pet your dog??