Like the little red and blue view masters that children of the 80’s grew up with, social media ensures that we waste hours of our life clicking through a cycle of images that are not our own. And I do mean cycle. We are inundated with college party pictures in our early 20’s, professional engagements and wedding photos in our late 20’s, baby pictures and kids stories in our 30’s. Rounded off with photos of vacations, dinner dates, food documenting and idyllic holidays with the family.
I’m not sure men feel the social media depicted “timeline” crunch the way women do, thank you biology. In my mid 20’s I dated a few fellas in their late 30’s and early 40’s, they said they wouldn’t date women in their 30’s because it was too intense, they meant that it was inconvenient for them because the women were looking to have babies asap. Even in my 20’s this pissed me off. Women who become highly educated and career driven often wind up in a very different place than their male counter parts.
Good Housekeeping magazine used to teach women of the 1950’s how to attract the perfect man, be the perfect housewife, the perfect mother, the perfect woman. It kept everyone on the same track with the same expectations. I think facebook, pinterest and instagram are our version of this. Forget keeping up with the Jones’, we have daily reminders of where our most distant friends are at in their life. We are continually reminded of where we are at, what we have and have not done.
If we don’t talk about it, we will assume to know the whole story through pictures.
So here we go.
Baby pictures on facebook break my heart and yet, I can’t get enough. It feels like I’ve been waiting a decade to be pregnant, to give birth and to be a mom. I can not wait. I will wait, but it is difficult. My poor husband, we’ve been married less than 4 months and this is where my head is. A few months before I even met him, my dream of someday being a mom turned into this pining, this deep inward craving to be pregnant.
I remember a friend of mine who is 4 years older than me telling me that at 28, her womb felt physically empty. This girl never even talked about kids or desired marriage. Literally. Out of all my friends she was going to be the last to sign up for marriage and kids and there she was… telling me that her womb felt empty. At the time, I thought to myself, what the heck is going to happen to me if this is going on with her? As predicted my “pining” came at 27. I’m now 4 months away from 31.
To those that are reading this thinking I’m crazy…maybe. The feeling I’ve felt is like knowing exactly what you want to go to school for or where you want to travel or what you are meant to do for the rest of your life and then…waiting, for years.
So there’s that. Baby pictures.
In terms of getting married and posting my photos online for friends/family/guests to see and tag themselves in, that wasn’t easy for me. I spent years nursing my own loneliness whilst scrolling through to see another high school friend engaged or seeing their happy wedding photos. It was like throwing salt into a wound. Every time. I didn’t really feel jealous, in fact, I was happy to see their happiness because they were good people. What I felt was “behind” and like I couldn’t “catch up.” I identified with the Last Mohican. I’m not kidding. See, crazy.
The other side of this coin is the young mother with the lovely New England Cape and beautiful toddlers staring back at my photos of world travels, dinner parties with friends and self indulgent status updates involving avocado masks and movie marathons. She probably sees my life as frivolous and adventure filled. Or maybe she feels bad for me because I’m in my 30’s and childless, though I doubt it. Either way, she sees what she wants to see, as do I.
I’ve known women who thought they had settled down too young and wish they had gotten to do more, see more and make more of themselves and I’ve known women who have literally travelled the whole world, own their home and find love in their late 40’s. I know women in their late 20’s having a hard time getting pregnant as a result of birth control and women in their late 30’s having their second child. I also know a woman who did everything she could to get pregnant in her late 40’s, and did. I know women who married young, had kids right away and then divorced. I know women who married young, divorced young and are now dating again. Then there are the women in my life that don’t focus on any of this, they stay in the moment and live their life. Enviable. 😉
What I can tell you is this, we all have our own path to carve and there is no “right” path nor is there a “perfect” path. There is no way to know exactly where our choices will lead us and that’s okay. Life is meant to be an uncharted journey, not something you can mapquest in your phone. Every single person you know could list the pros and cons of their life. Be careful what life you wish on and keep in mind, someone may be wishing on your exact life right now. Why? Because your life is full of value, the memories you are creating and sharing are beautiful and desirable. Sure, those moments might be interwoven with shoulda, coulda, wouldas, loneliness, restlessness etc, but so aren’t mine! And hers! And His!
Like my last post stated (which was actually part 1 of this post), we should talk. Otherwise, we are like the subscribers of ‘Good Housekeeping’ that put on our smiles and go about our business, all while assuming that the pictures that others are sharing tell the whole story. When of course, they don’t!
Keep it real,