Bears and Clocks

Six years ago, I flew to Australia for the second time to visit my grandparents and relatives. I don’t get to see them much so occasionally I meet people I’m related to and have no idea how. During this particular trip, I met my cousin’s daughter, who decided the moment she met me that I was the sunshine of her life. We were in a relationship.

I’m not really sure what she saw in me. Perhaps it was my aloofness was what she liked the most, but the more I used the hand-on-forehead technique to get her away from me, the more she persisted. At the time I wasn’t fond of anyone younger than myself and the idea of kids made me cringe deep inside, so her persistence in being my best friend wasn’t much appreciated.

One week after landing, my defences dropped during a conversation with someone while I was standing beside a couch (not beside a wall, by the way, which is a stupid place to put any couch) and she saw her opportunity. Moving in silently she climbed the couch, jumped onto me and wrapped her arms and legs around me with a grip you would typically reserve for wrestling bears.

Ugh, what’s her problem? Guess I’m going to have to hold her now or else she’ll fall. Oh, she seems happy. Oh, this is kinda nice. Oh… oh.

She changed my feelings about having a family in less than a second.

No one likes to say this out loud: the ticking clock is real. This fucking clock governs the rest of your life. In high school (I went to an all-girls school), the girls had sorta talked about this silent choice we all had to make. As a woman, you have to acknowledge your clock. Maybe not now. But it’s coming.

If you’re still figuring out how to roll your kilt up higher than your knees, you probably shouldn’t be thinking about this. But you do. And they’re just thoughts until you receive a bear hug from someone small and cute you just met and the clock is suddenly nailed to your forehead.

You should have kids before 35. Well, then you should meet someone you like before then. But wait, you should have a strong career because you won’t be a good example of an independent woman. And you should try to lean in or whatever because you can’t afford her and you might have to take a step back when you come back from maternity leave. What if your priorities change and you don’t even want a career after she’s born? What’s the point of leaning in then? But wait, where’s the time for higher education? What about all the other things I actually want to do?

The ticking has been getting louder. I’m not even sure who to talk to about this because nearly everyone I know is a dude, married or in a long-term relationship (or just dismissive (when will people stop telling me “It’s going to be okay?” (or stop with “just put yourself out there” (will anyone acknowledge that sometimes people don’t get the fairy tale?))))

This ‘issue’ is getting frustrating to explain to people who aren’t women. I wouldn’t trade it for the other side but can someone just release the pressure?

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