Monday, September 7, 2009


Yesterday, I turned 34.

I mean, the day before, I was 33 and 364 days old, so 33 and 365 days really isn't that much older. But it sounds a lot older. And it puts me square into my mid-thirties. Mid-thirties.

Most women have a life schedule and it invariably contains some variation of this theme: "I want to be married and have kids by the time I'm 35." If I was a traditional, family wanting kind of person, I'd be sick right now. I'd only have a year to find the one, convince him to put a ring on my finger, buy a fluffy white dress, find a really ugly shiny dress for my best friends to wear (payback man, payback) and get down to the business of baby making. And maybe start thinking about buying a lawn tractor, and one of those cross-over mini-van things.

But I'm not a family wanting, baby-making type. I still pause a bit when I say "34" though. 34 means to me that I truly, really am not a family wanting, baby-making type. If I was, it would have turned on by now. I would have held one of the millions of babies born this summer in my circle of friends, and swooned and wanted one more than anything. Instead, when I held a baby, what I wanted to do more than anything was give it back to their mommy before it barfed on me.

There is a small part of me that that thought that someday, I would be normal - the baby gene would suddenly turn on and I would have the same desire to get married and have kids that all my friends have had. I would start thinking babies were cute. I'd want a car that had a back seat that was easily accessible in case I needed to get a baby seat back there. I'd want to learn how to knit.

The gene has never turned on.

I really am likely to have a non-traditional life. What will that mean for me? On the plus side, it costs somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000 per year to raise a kid, not including college. Money I'm sure I could scare up if there was a hungry, screaming, naked child demanding to be fed and clothed - but right now, that money goes to grad school and kayak gear and expensive organic produce that rots in the fridge before I eat it. And I like it that way.

On the down side, who will be my emergency contact when my mom is too old to be reliably expected to show up at the hospital? Who will take care of me when I'm old and frail? Who will pull the plug when its time? (ok, that one probably won't be an issue...) Its going to take some planning and thinking. But I think I'll put that off until I'm at least 40.

Yikes. There's something I don't want to think about.


Elena said...

Your boyfriend/ husband/ life partner (and I mean that in the most heterosexual way--not that there is anything wrong with homosexuality) will be your 'in case of emergency' contact person. Just because you don't want babies, doesn't mean you can't have a substantial relationship.

Elena said...

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY you old, cynical fart!!!!!! :)

erin said...

Happy birthday!!

I find you quite impressive, the way you know yourself, know what you do and don't want out of life... I dig it.

kristen said...

i have a fear that i've forgotten to change an emergency contact somewhere and that one day, i'll wake up in a hospital bed and find out that they called my ex due to an out-of-date form...

moral of that story - always use your mom as your emergency contact. always.

Susan said...

Thanks Erin. I'm not sure that I know what I DO want out of life, but I sure as hell know what I DON'T want. I guess that's a start.

And yeah, having an ex show up at my death bed to pull the plug is definitely something I DON'T want. Thanks for that, Kristen! I'm checking my damn work form asap.