This past year, my Facebook feed has been filled with nothing but a barrage of wedding photos, babies being born and overly cute nausea-inducing pictures of guys on one knee with the caption, "She said yes!" accompanied by the change in status from "in a relationship" to "engaged." It's about that time in my life when a good amount of my peers are taking their next steps into the future, whether that be marriage or settling down and starting a family.
And although this might sound like a dream come true for the average gal, it just isn't my cup of tea. Before I go into anything else, let me tell you that I've known I don't want kids since the age of 15. I knew early on in life that I didn't want this responsibility and that my free-spirited nature and motherhood weren't compatible at all.
And now that I'm 24, the same still holds true. People are quick to say that this may just be a "fleeting phase" in my life, and I will want kids when I find "the one." It's as if the decisions I make in life and how I'll live it will be solely based on my meeting of a man.
But I know better, and I have enough self-awareness to realize that my mindset won't be changing anytime soon. And because of this conclusion that I've come to, I'm less inclined to be worried about finding the right partner at this stage of my life.
That being said, here are three ways not wanting kids takes the pressure of finding the one in your 20s:
1. You don't have to worry about fertility and egg viability.
This is actually a very valid cause for concern, especially for women out there who want big families or those who want to be young moms. Having kids later in life is scientifically linked to a lot of problems, whether they're health issues of the baby or health risks involving the mother.
As much as women are opting more and more to prioritize careers before settling down, and as much as science has progressed in terms of finding alternative fertilization methods, it is still a fact that by the age of 32, fertility in women starts to decrease. It's just how our bodies work.
This is mainly due to the fact that the number of eggs in women's ovaries decrease over time. It also isn't as easy for whatever eggs are available to get fertilized the older a woman becomes.
Now see, if I wanted kids, knowing my anal, obsessive nature, I would already be freaking out at this point in my life.
What if I don't find anyone? What if I do find someone and he doesn't make for a good dad?
What if I do find "the one," marry him and realize all my irregular periods meant I wasn't fertile at all? How do I save my eggs?
Can you hear the hysterics in my voice? Yeah, so can I. Gladly, I don't have to worry about any of these things.
2. I don't have to be pressured into any timelines.
Aka, I don't have to worry about my biological time clock ticking. I can focus on my career, travel the world and go to all the remote places I've ever dreamed off without worrying that my time to reproduce is running out.
I don't feel the pressure to find someone to settle down with because the sounds of my biological clock ticking are dull and irrelevant. I can be as free-spirited as I want to be, and I mean this in the truest sense of the word.
I can get up and go whenever I want without any impending timelines of marriage and kids in my head (unless that timeline involves grad school and advancing my career, that is).
I have a friend who is so obsessed about the idea of getting married and having kids, and this constant pressure seeps into her daily life and affects how she interacts with guys. I've heard her say some ridiculous things alluding to this, as if the ticking of her biological time clock signals some sort of pending self-implosion.
"If I want kids by this age, then I should be married by this age. If I were to marry by this age, then I need to be engaged by this age, which means I should meet someone right about now."
I mean, seriously? This just seems ridiculous to me.
As I mentioned earlier, this whole mindset would put me in a perpetual state of anxiety, and it would take the fun out of dating as a whole. I'd constantly be worried about whether or not the guy I'm seeing or interested in would be able to provide this whole future I so desperately desire.
3. I won't be inclined to settle for just anyone.
I'm not saying that people who are married decided to just settle because they wanted to have kids, but I also know some people who are so consumed by the idea of getting married and starting a family that it seems they're willing to project their fantasies onto anyone who is willing to put rings on their fingers.
Since I'm not pressured by any timelines, I don't feel the need to settle down with just anyone. My idea of settling down — at whatever that age may be — is finding someone f*cking extraordinary. I won't be settling for anything less.
Without this burden, I get to be as selective as I want because there really is no rush. I have all the time in the world to pick and choose and truly learn what kind of person I want to be with. Over time, I will also be able to see whether or not this person is a good fit for me.
And if don't find the love of my life in my 20s — heck, even my 30s — that won't bother me as much because I don't have the whole pressure of wanting to have kids lurking in the back of my mind. If I don't find anyone to be with for the time being, I'll happily be my own version of a career-driven, wildly intelligent and fashionable Amal Alamuddin waiting for her very own George Clooney.
I get to focus on the things I want in life such as my career, finding the perfect partner (however long that'll take) and not adhering to any sort of timeline. And to me, that is all I can ask for.