The Thing That Really Matters.

Imagine this. You’re out on a date. Let’s call this the second date. Maybe you’ve had a glass of wine or two. Maybe there’s candlelight. Things are going well. The eye contact is there. You’re leaning in. He’s leaning in. You’re laughing. He’s laughing. And then the topic of marriage and kids comes up. Usually this is a pretty straightforward conversation “Nope, not yet!” but sometimes it isn’t. I date a fair amount but I’ve now (twice!) had guys be weirded out by the fact that I’m 36 years old and have never been married. This is where I have to question that person’s priorities. When faced with the decision of checking a box or opting not to make a huge mistake, I’ll never do something just to check a box in order to meet a certain deadline.

When I heard about SK-II’s #INeverExpire campaign, I found myself nodding my head and saying YES a million times. The campaign is dedicated to raising awareness about the age-related pressures we (women) face every day. Last year, they launched The Expiry Date film in Asia, which I’ve embedded below. If you have a few minutes I highly encourage you to watch it. The film is beautiful and inspiring (and made me tear up a little bit). It also made me feel really lucky to be an American as from what I can tell, age-related pressure is so much worse in other parts of the world, specifically Asia. It’s heartbreaking to me that in Asia, unmarried women are said to “expire” at age 30.

What I love about the campaign is that it encourages women to decide for ourselves – who we are, who we aspire to be, what our timeline looks like, and what really matters.

I am really, really lucky in that my parents have never put pressure on me to check certain boxes. I’ll always be grateful to them for that. They’ve always encouraged me to live life on my own terms and as long as I’m happy, they’re happy.

Still, it can be hard not to feel like I need to conform to society’s expectations. Being in my thirties (single + childless) there are times where I can’t help but feel behind… like something is missing or wrong with me because I haven’t done those things. I mean, I look at my mom and know that when she was my age, she had a ten year old (AND my two younger sisters!!) I will always be grateful for the sacrifices my mom (and dad) made to raise my sisters and me, but I could not imagine myself being married with three kids right now. It would be an actual disaster.

I think the bottom line is this: life is not about checking boxes or accomplishing things on a certain timeline. It’s about living on your own terms and not doing things because you think you “should,” or because you feel pressure from friends/family/etc. That’s when you really get into trouble. I don’t want to come across as anti-marriage and children (everyone should do what’s right for them!) because that’s not the case at all. I want (very) badly to find a partner, but I have yet to meet the right person. Kids are another thing – sometimes I worry that my biological clock has stopped ticking. I love kids but know I’d also be really happy just being the cool auntie. I really don’t know if I would be the best parent (I’m way too selfish) and still feel like I have so much more I want to accomplish before settling down. It also depends on the person I wind up with. A lot of the men I’ve dated are clearly looking for a more traditional partner – someone who will want to stay home with the kids. And while that would be great for a lot of people, I wouldn’t be happy doing that.

There is no “one size fits all” timeline, there is no “right” path besides the one you choose. What’s right for me may not be right for you, and vice versa. As Amy Poehler says, “Good for her! Not for me!” Every one of us has different hopes + dreams, and we all have a completely unique path. At the end of the day we are the masters of our own destiny and shouldn’t compare ourselves to others. That’s the thing that really matters, and that’s why I love this campaign so, so much.

Never, ever feel badly about your own life choices. If you’re living a life that makes you feel fulfilled and good on the inside, you’re doing things right. And as far as “expiring” goes, well that is just laughable. We don’t expire – we get better and better as we gain more life experience

Age-related pressure is everywhere you look. If you’re dating someone, everyone wants to know when you’ll get married. And then they’ll want to know when you’re having a baby. And then when you’re going to have a second. People can be pushy but only we know what’s right for us! What about you? What age-related pressures have you faced and how have you overcome them?

I’d love for you to share your own stories with me in the comments!

Created in partnership with SK-II; photography by Trent Bailey.

Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. So many bloggers and Youtubers alike have mentioned this campaign, and I truly think it’s a great one! It’s not often we see big brands promoting a concept that really resonates. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Casey says 5.30.18

    SUCH a great post, and so important to say. Thank you, Grace!

  3. Tayler N Bray says 5.30.18

    Thank you for sharing this!

    I am going on 29 this summer and have dated my boyfriend for the last 10 years while in college. I am a high school administrator, have two bachelor degrees, a master’s degree, and am working on my doctorate. If one more person asks why we are not engaged or when we are getting married, I might scream. We all have priorities, and that’s okay… mine just happen to be work and school right now. When I am ready, we will get married, have kids, and settle down. Wish other women would lift each other up, instead of always making it a competition!

    Best of luck in your quest for love. There is no doubt you will find the right person some day.

    Tayler

  4. Melissa says 5.30.18

    Love this! I’m 35 and never been married. Unlike you, I’m sure I want to have a kid, unsure about marriage. All of these years of dating have worn me the F down! Luckily I embrace singlehood and don’t have any family pressures to find someone (although of course my parents want to me to.) And if I eventually do, great!

    • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

      Haha. Dating definitely wears you down!!!!

    • Lauren says 5.30.18

      I have a client turned friend who used a donor to get pregnant. She’s now the proud single mom of a 9 month old. She just turned 40. While I’m not planning to have children, she’s still a huge inspiration to me. If it’s something you want, you’ll figure out how to make it happen!!! Cheers.

      • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

        Wow that is so amazing!!!!

      • Melissa says 5.30.18

        That’s my plan in the next couple years! 🙂

      • Wendy says 5.31.18

        I have a 42 year old friend who is embarking on the donor process on her own to become a mom. I don’t want kids, but I do want to get married. That said, over the course of the last year, I have become okay with the idea that I may never get married. I dated a way too boring guy last year for 10 months and then found someone who lit up my world. The latter didn’t work out, but showed me that I should not settle for dating boring dudes. I am too interesting to myself for that!

  5. Laura says 5.30.18

    This is everything.

  6. Jennifer clubine says 5.30.18

    Loved this post! I am 62, and it is no different as you age, people think you can’t do or think the way they do because of your age. Inside my head, I am still 25, and I still feel young and energetic. Age is only a number, no matter what age you are. It is how you live your life and what you want to accomplish. Please, no one get married just to check a box. You are letting yourself, your family, the other person and their family in for a lot of heartache. And if you have children, they will suffer as well. If you are meant to marry, the right person will come along. I truly believe that. God bless all of the young women who have the power to change the world!

  7. Allie says 5.30.18

    I once had a guy tell me women are like cakes, they expire after 24 hours/years. Yeah…
    I love the message of this campaign, it’s so important to remember that we all have to do life in our own way at our own time.
    xAllie http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com

    • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

      EW THAT GUY IS GROSS. So gross. Sadly it sounds like a few guys I know, their idea of being funny.

  8. Amanda Vaughn says 5.30.18

    This is so perfect! Although I checked the boxes of marriage and a child I still feel pressure as a woman to be living a certain way and doing certain things at my age. I agree with you completely that we should be living our lives for ourselves. Thank you for this!

  9. Silvia says 5.30.18

    I can only quote I read recently, and it makes so much sense. “Today, women can have it all, but it does not mean they must have it all. This is where feminism got it wrong. ” In the 50s, there were very few acceptable avenues for women, they mostly included marriage and kids. Women struggled in the work world, they did not make enough money to support themselves, they could be secretaries who where supposed to leave the work world at 25, there were few contraceptives. It was a narrow world with few options. Women’s lives look like in “Mad Men”. But then, things opened up, the free 60s, the sexual revolution (coinciding also with contraceptives, which gave women much more power), and the option of having careers, being independent and real partners. Today, women can truly pick and choose what works for them as life choices. Unfortunately, we still often feel we don’t have a choice (!), instead we feel we need to check ALL the check boxes instead of pick and choose what works for us. That would be true power. Women who want to stay home, have kids and be housewives, can choose this and be happy with it (they don’t necessarily need to also have careers), other women might choose to have careers and be fulfilled, and choose not to have kids but a partner. What ever works. We don’t expire and we have choices. Not checkboxes.

  10. Susan says 5.30.18

    I definitely feel for the message here! I’m 33 (a month shy of 34) and recently out of a four year relationship. Being newly single at this age is hard because I do feel the pressure of the “expiration date” mostly because I do want marriage and kids, and that does put a little extra pressure on a relationship that didn’t necessarily exist a few years ago. I don’t feel like less of a woman or person because I’m not married with kids, but I do wonder if it will ever happen for me which can be a little scary. I feel like in my 30’s I cherish spending time with people who are important to me, so sometimes dating, where you go out with someone you may never see again, feels like I’m taking away from that. On the other hand, dating in your 30’s is WAY better than dating in your 20’s because I do feel more confident about myself and realize that I don’t *need* a boyfriend and know not to settle for less than what makes me happy.

    • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

      So much yes to all of this!!!!
      I do think dating in your 30’s is a lot better. I date less (like you, I’d rather see the people who are important to me and there is so little time for that now as it is!!) but I do feel more confident and have a better idea of what I’m looking for!

  11. thefitter says 5.30.18

    This is so awesome. Thank you for sharing both the video, and your story.

  12. Deirdre says 5.30.18

    Usually the kind of people who put pressure on others to conform to a certain lifestyle are unhappy and fearful. Sadly, I have found that pressure does not relent much even when those things do change. I recently had a woman ask me point blank why we weren’t having any other kids and I said I was really happy with one. And she told me that there are studies that show only children have a harder time adapting socially and I should reconsider “before it’s too late.” I was like “Really, that’s interesting because I am an only child and I have always had super close friendships since I don’t have any siblings! And not all siblings get along…” It is so unfair that men do not get asked these kinds of questions often and get to just do their damn thang without judgment. This needs to change! Love you xoxo

    • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

      Totally agree with you, and know we’ve talked about it before (but can I just say how happy it makes me when IRL friends comment on my blog???) For the record, some of my favorite people in the entire world (including both you and Daphne) are only children! People need to keep their opinions to themselves!!!

      • Deirdre says 5.30.18

        Haha! Only children rule, even if we are terrible at sharing

  13. Cy says 5.30.18

    Wow Grace! Such and interesting topic. 36 seems young to be already divorced ( although that was me), there is definitely a weird/ sexist stigma. It is kinda of relief . I , like you was never pressured by my family. Kids for me was always going to be about being with the right person. Not having kids just because, I was supposed to or as some friends have done ” to save their marriage “. That doesn’t work. I’ve never regretted not having them. It fact, I made a conscious decision not to. I didn’t want to bring children into an unhappy relationship. I love kids and enjoy them more and more as I get older. I’m very close to my nephew. I look young, so I still get the occasional ” oh you’ll change your mind dear” , following the do you have kids question. You never know when it’s going to happen. I have one friend who found her guy in her forties, they are very happily married and love to be the doting auntie and uncle. We are in our fifties now. Another dear friend fell in love at 60. My grandmother was married three times and survived all her husbands. I always joke, that I am following in her footsteps. She was about my age when she married for the second time. In her 80’s for the third. I’ve only got two more to go! :))

    • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

      HAHA I love that!

    • Katie says 5.31.18

      Yes, love this! My parents are happily divorced and get along great. My mom said when she married my dad at 27 she kind of knew it wasn’t perfect deep down, but he was such a good guy and she knew she wanted a child. So in a way, I kind of can see her logic here. If you find someone who is a genuinely great person and having a child is the most important thing, maybe checking that box in order to check another really important one (to you) isn’t the worst thing? I don’t know. I also think we over stigmatize divorce. Maybe just because my parents are great friends and had a really nice divorce I have a rosy image of it, but if you’re not happy, end it! The idea that one marriage has to last your whole life seems so archaic to me!

  14. Priscilla says 5.30.18

    Thank you so much for this. I am 34, never been married, and it is a strong desire of mine. I’m originally from India (but have been in the U.S. since I was 4) and have always heard since I was a little girl that women expire at age 25. Needless to say, my family is extremely concerned for me even though they refrain from pressuring me out loud, it’s somewhat of an unspoken burden that is always weighing me down. It’s a daily struggle not to feel ‘less than’ or like something is wrong with me, but I know what I want and I’m not willing to settle. At the end of the day if I HAD to choose, I would much rather be unhappily single than unhappily married.

    • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, Priscilla! I completely agree with you! xx

    • Cy says 5.31.18

      Be happily single Priscilla! Life is so precious. You are right though, the loneliness feel in the world is being next to your partner and not being able to reach them. I’ll take a little alon, loneliness any day! I’m happily divorced

  15. jamie k says 5.30.18

    While most days I’m perfectly content being a single, childless career girl about to turn 40, there are other that I’m left feeling lonely and longing for a family of my own. It’s on those bad days that I’m less than sure that my never-been-married spinster status is because of my own choices and more because of a choice that’s been made for me by fate. I can usually shake that pity party attitude off pretty quickly, though, thank goodness.

    • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

      I’m guilty of doing that too 🙂 There’s nothing a good long yoga class (followed by a glass of wine?) can’t cure.

  16. Theodora says 5.30.18

    OMG yes to all of this.

    Would I like to be married? Sure, if he were right — but I’d so so much rather be single than with the wrong man, miserable — life is too short for that.

    A few months before my mom died, she apparently told her best friend that she was worried if I was happy, since I was single. That she wanted me to meet someone. Her best friend (thank god) told her that she thought that I was just fine, and meeting someone would just be a BONUS.

  17. Cy says 5.30.18

    This is such a hot topic Grace! I’m really happy being single, although I would like a partner. I’m not settling. I never have. I take my divorce as a gift/ life lesson. Those guys, with their narrow ideas are not who you want to be with anyway. I read an article a few years ago about the marriage climate in Japan. Many woman there are choosing not to marry, because they are expected to be traditional housewives. The men work and are expected to stay out later with clients. Consequently, married couples hardly see each other. They stared a program to teach young men how to be equal partners, help with the kids/housework etc. Standing against tradition exacts change in seems. There is hope! 🙂 I love the video! What a great campaign!

  18. Allie says 5.30.18

    I love this Grace! Thanks for being raw and truthful with us always. 🙂

    xox
    Allie

  19. Andrea says 5.30.18

    I needed this today. I definitely have days when I feel these pressures and let them get to me. But honestly all the people in my life who really matter and care about me are not worried at all. And its good to know there are so many other people out there who aren’t living life along the expected timeline. I’m 34 and recently single again – I’ve had 2 relationships that just weren’t quite right in my late 20s and early 30s so I feel a little discouraged but you can’t force things – it just hasn’t been right for me yet and I’m willing to wait until it is! And I’m trying my hardest to enjoy my singleness while I have it!

    • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

      I’m so glad it resonated. And yes, enjoy it while you have it! That has been my mindset lately/my reason for all the travel + doing all the things because someday I won’t be able to!

  20. Allison says 5.30.18

    I really needed this today. I’m 28 and may be taking a break/breaking up/whatever you want to call it with a guy that I’ve spent the last 3 years with. I’ve really been struggling with the thought of being alone again and “starting over”. This whole post and the comments section has really helped me today.

    • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

      I’m so sorry about your breakup/break/etc.
      Starting over can be so scary but take it from someone who has been there – it’s better to be alone!

  21. Laura says 5.30.18

    I really loved this post! So honest and refreshing. I am 32 and divorced with a two-year-old. I definitely feel the time pressure since I have recently re-entered the dating world after my ten-year relationship, and I’m hoping to get re-married and have more kids someday! But I agree with you that it’s best to make the right choices for you – nearly all of my friends are married and having more children, but I’m not letting the pressure get to me as I continue to look for the right fit. It’s so much better to be available than unhappy with the wrong person. I also agree that I feel so much more confident now in what I’m looking for in a partner!

    Some of the other posts put it very well – just because we have lots of options, doesn’t mean we have to pick all of them. Thank you for always keeping it real. <3

  22. Leigh says 5.30.18

    Yes so much to all of this! I’m very young and feel very lucky to be in a happy, committed relationship, but part of me very much connects with this because for 5-10 years before, I watched all my friends couple up and I was known as the “eternally single one.” I’m glad I never settled and really choose a partner vs. any random dude that came along. I still feel like that “eternally single one” sometimes, or look at other people’s lives and feel like, hey why I haven’t I made as much money as them/why haven’t I made it to x stage in my career by x age. I’m also debating making a major life/career change, and it always helps as a reminder that it’s never too late and you can take your own path!

  23. Emma Finlayson says 5.30.18

    I check the marriage/kida/career boxes but it’s hard AF and it should never be considered a requirement to be a successful woman/person. It has to be right for your or its is a major disaster waiting to happen.

  24. Annie says 5.30.18

    Hi Grace…longtime fan, first-time commenter… 😉 I hear you. I’m approaching 42 this year and even I cannot believe that’s the number. Yes, I am single and I’m currently on a dating hiatus. Like you, a would love to find a partner but it needs to be the RIGHT one. No, I’m not going to move forward with someone just because they “look good on paper”. Are they nice? How do they treat the waiter in the restaurant? Do they constantly show up late? I’ve gone out with some very successful men who would be excellent providers, but have never felt like that would be good partners. And, despite watching a lot of friends get married and have families young, I’m still here. A lot of those friends are now finding themselves divorced and re-entering singledom and feeling even more challenged than I am because their identities have been tied up within marriage & family for so long. I am okay with my age and singlehood, but I think my divorced friends are really facing this idea of “expiration” and how painful it can feel for the first time. My family would never push me to marry, but I know that they hold the concern (now that I’m in my 40s) of “who will take care of you?”… I know that they aren’t reassured by my single-income status, especially as a bit of a bohemian artist. Ultimately though, we need to make ourselves happy, and the more we can find self-fulfillment and happiness, the less (I think) do we feel this pressure of “expiration” and EXPECTATION from everyone else. They’re inversely-proportional because the happier and more self-reliant you are, the less that ageism bullshit matters.

    • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

      Aw thank you so much for commenting, Annie! I take dating hiatuses all the time. It’s exhausting. And COMPLETELY agree with everything you just said.

  25. alyson says 5.30.18

    Such a good topic! I suppose I’m in the more traditional, age 38 and two kids boat, though, when the heck did I turn 38?! That said, I completely agree… and for what it’s worth, something I took from this, is… if you find the right partner, AND you decide you want to become a mom, the right partner will totally be there to support you and your dreams. I’m for sure selfish (truth!) and while there’s compromise, I for sure do a lot more than many of my mom friends… I adapt for my family, and well, they’re going to adapt for me, too. 😉

    alyson
    http://www.themodernsavvy.com

  26. Jen says 5.30.18

    I turn 37 this summer. I’ve been married for four years and we will have our first kid this fall. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband very much and hope I will be a good mom. But man I miss my single days. Like going on vacation by yourself, or staying in and eating crap for dinner, or just not having to consider anyone else. Like some one else said, marriage is hard AF. It’s really got to be with the right person to make it worthwhile to be giving so much up. On the kid…I feel like I’m still on the fence about the topic. Am I having them just to beat the clock or will I truly be a great mom. Whenever you check one box, and think you are good for a while, there’s always going to be the pressure of another box staring you in the face…

    • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

      A lot of my married friends say the same thing you just said. I think it’s just life – it’s hard no matter where you are in life!!

  27. Jocelyn G says 5.30.18

    THANK YOU so much for posting this!!! I’m 36 and single and have been online dating like a boss for what feels like forever. I wholeheartedly feel that I haven’t yet met my person and I’m not willing to stop looking and settle, but every one of my friends is married with kids and I increasingly feel like the odd one out. Although I consider myself quite happy with my life and the incredible freedoms it affords me, the internal and external pressure can be overwhelming.
    Seeing this post and the comments from other women is amazing! We should all work to better support each other based on your example. Thank you again!

  28. Brianne says 5.30.18

    Hi Grace, I read your blog daily but rarely comment. This post pulled me out of the shadows and into the light to say thank you. I needed to read this message.

    However, it spoke to me a little differently. I had ticked off marriage, motherhood, career and home ownership by age 30. And now, 5 years later, I feel as though I’ve gotten stuck in the hamster wheel of routine that I’ve lost the essence of who I am.

    I am a wife and mother and professional, of course, happy to be so much to my husband and children, but I am more than that too! The other day, I was asked “tell me about yourself,” and I didn’t know how to phrase a response. Then today, I read this and realized that no matter where you are in life, at any age – expiration dates do not exist on your identity because it is always evolving.

    Thank you.

    • grace at the stripe says 5.30.18

      Thank you so much for commenting, Brianne!!! Totally agree with everything you said.

    • sharon says 5.30.18

      I so relate to what Brianne just wrote…. I am a wife, mom and professional but am exhausted and lost! My kids are now 13 and 10 and just in the last month have I decided that I need to find a way to get ‘back to me’ I signed ups at a gym again, joined a book club, had lunch with a friend and have enjoyed introducing myself as Sharon again as opposed to so and so’s mom or wife or this role from my company. I will be 45 in the fall and am planing my first solo trip to Europe. This post was great. We for sure do not expire!

      • Brianne says 5.31.18

        Hi Sharon – it is so nice to hear that I am not alone with these feelings. Best wishes to you!

  29. Kate says 5.30.18

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I didn’t meet my now husband until I was 36, and wasn’t in a lot of serious relationships before then, so had been dealing with lots of pressure from EVERYONE to settle down. I was told continually by my parents, relatives, friends and complete strangers that my standards were too high, that no one was going to be perfect and that I should just settle so that I could hurry up and have children before it was too late. Luckily, something in me refused to listen to them. When I met my husband, I knew pretty instantly that there was something there. I asked him his last name and sure enough, he said “Wright”, and I just laughed out loud. “Mr. Right” indeed.
    After 3 months of dating, my father, on his death bed––literally, some of the last words he spoke to me––told me to dump him because he hadn’t proposed yet. He couldn’t understand what a 42 year-old man could possibly be waiting for. we ignored him too. 4 years later, at the tender ages of 40 and 46, we got married. And then, of course, the pressure to have kids began. By then, though, my biological clock had stopped ticking and I was no longer interested in having children. I was at a fork in the road in terms of my career–I could settle in and teach and have a family, or I could go after a performance career that would include extensive travel, and would make having a family complicated. I knew I would feel guilty and torn all of the time, and decided to go after my passion. I have no regrets whatsoever.
    I was recently chatting at a reception with some older women ranging in age between 65 and 97, none of whom had had children. Some had married, some hadn’t. None of them regretted their choices. And as the 97 year-old said: “Only you know what is truly right for you, and remember that if you make the wrong choice, none of those annoying people are going to step in and help you anyway, so screw them and their opinions!”

    • Lauren says 5.30.18

      Daaang that 97 year old lady tells the truth!! Loved this comment. Thanks for sharing, Kate.

    • grace at the stripe says 5.31.18

      I love this story!!! Thank you so much for sharing (and agree with Lauren – that 97 year old was spot on!)

  30. Barbara says 5.30.18

    This is seriously amazing! I felt pressure to settle down for so many years especially when my younger brother started having kids and I wasn’t even dating. And there’s still the pressure with work to be at a certain position by the time you’re a certain age, it’s all just crazy! Thank you for sharing this post it is a great reminder that we make our own story and create our own timeline

  31. Marty says 5.30.18

    Oh my goodness! This post turned out to be so timely! Just yesterday, a colleague (not a peer, but someone I supervise) actually said to me she felt “sad” for me because I didn’t have kids! I was totally taken aback because, who says such things?? I think being a parent is the toughest job in the world & I do love kids but I have made a very conscious decision that I would not have kids unless I had a partner who, first & foremost I loved & respected & could see being with forever. Without that, I could not see having children. It’s selfish to bring kids into the equation without that stable foundation. This coworker who made that comment went it alone, no partner, & got inseminated. That’s brave to do, but not for me. I believe it’s tough enough to raise children with a good partner, I personally could not go it alone. Also, when I am in a relationship, only those nearest & dearest to me know. I have never discussed my relationships at work because I know if I said I was in a long term one, people would think it was OK to ask me when I was getting married! My family members mind their own business where that is concerned, but, as you said, people ask all sort of things they shouldn’t. I have shushed the whole timeline about marriage & kids. I know we women have time limits for the kid thing, but it’s one of the biggest decisions in life so why would I do it unless I was sure? Plus, I like my freedom & have other responsibilities. I don’t think it’s selfish to admit you like to have freedom to come & go as you please and that you enjoy a career and working hard. I think it’s more selfish to bring kids into the world because of societal pressures or because others around you are doing it. And it’s selfish to do it because you are counting on that child taking care of you later in life, and I’ve heard women talk that way, too.

    • grace at the stripe says 5.31.18

      I’m so so glad it was timely! And that person is so rude!!!!

    • Cy says 5.31.18

      Marty , everything you are saying is/was true for me too. It’s actually selfish to have children. When you think about it , nobody needs too, its biological or expected. I love kids, but, I too made a conscious decision, not to have them. And isn’t that the responsible thing to do? I see too many people brought into this world to wildly disjunctional and abusive homes. We need to stop this awful cycle. Fortunately, I see many loving families too. I love this post, Grace because it talks about making thoughtful decisions about our lives and not letting life just happen to us. Or worse let ourselves be convinced we need to do something just because it’s expected of us.

  32. Rebecca Plotnick says 5.30.18

    This is such a great post, Thank you! I am 36 and single. I am a little different because my family puts so much pressure on me to settle down and get married AND have babies. I want to get married and have kids but I just haven’t found the right person yet. I don’t think it is something that is forced. I have dated a lot but honestly, I would rather be single than be with someone that doesn’t make me happy. I have chosen to put myself first and make myself a better person. I will continue to travel the world and be the best Auntie I can be until the timing is right.

  33. Tracy says 5.30.18

    I risk sounding redundant and unoriginal at this point, but I LOVED this post. It really resonated with me. I just had a conversation with a good friend this past weekend about where we’re at in life and how most of the stressors are external, as in, we’re not where family/friends/society thinks we “should” be at in our lives. It’s really hard to get to the point where you can accept that you love your life, regardless of what other people think. And that’s what’s great about this campaign! For me, it’s been hardest to go on social media and seeing where everyone else is in life and (whether I want to or not) comparing myself. Taking a Facebook break was one of the best things I ever did for myself! I work every day to be happy for others while not trying to beat myself up too much for not being at that same place in life. I forgot about that Amy Poehler quote you put up there, and I love it! I need to keep that in mind! Again, thanks for this post, Grace. It came at a time when I needed it!

  34. Allie E says 5.31.18

    Grace, this post is so spot on. As a thirty something married woman, I feel the pressure of my “biological clock” and find myself thinking about what I “should” be doing in terms of having children based on others around me, what my parents did or just my own self imposed ideas of when these things are supposed to happen. It’s also unfair (in my opinion! Ha) that we as women mainly take the brunt of this pressure because men have more time that they can start families. It’s so important to remember that what is right for one person is not necessarily right for you and that is okay! And I love being the fun aunt to my neice & nephew too :). Thanks so much for your eloquent words on a topic that hits close to home with so many!

  35. Erica says 5.31.18

    I got married at 28, divorced at 33, froze my eggs at 36, had a son at 38 and my daughter 4 days after I turned 40 (and didn’t use the eggs for either). I could not have predicted any of it when I was younger. Now I’m unmarried, but in a partnership with the father of my kids, and a stay at home mom to a 3 and 1 year old. Life is crazy and funny sometimes, no matter what path you choose!

  36. leyi says 5.31.18

    I love your blog so much! You’re such an inspiration!

  37. Sandrine says 5.31.18

    I loved that post! I am 33 going on 34 in a couple of weeks and happily married. We have been together for 13 years and I cannot tell you the pressure we have faced about people saying that we need to have kids and that we will be old parents now etc… when we first got married, having kids felt like something we needed to do and we were like “ wait, we are so young, let’s enjoy ourselves and travel do fun things” That led into really looking at what we wanted and realized that kids may or may not be for us even though we love them. We enjoy each other so much. So for now, it will be just us and people’s comments don’t bother us anymore. When the day comes when we have a deep yearning for a child, then we will decide what to do instead of having one because everyone expects us to.

    • grace at the stripe says 5.31.18

      So so happy that you loved it! And totally agree – you have to do what’s right for you.

  38. Allie says 5.31.18

    This resonated with me so much, from a few different perspectives. I have always had the desire to get married and have kids and one of the first conversations my now fiancé had was about those goals but also I explained to him that I have career ambitions as well. While I’m only 27, I have a career in STEM and the industry can still be a little dated. I recently went to a conference and someone told me that my engagement was too long, and that I would be too old when I had kids and that I was going to be a grandma more than a mother. I left feeling down on myself, and in retrospect I wish I would have had the confidence to have a conversation with him rather than just let him continue to think his comments were ok. Anyways this is a long way and saying that these pressures are felt at all ages and that I’m so glad you partnered with such a great message!

  39. Melissa says 5.31.18

    Also 36, single and child-free. For sure feel external (and sometimes internal) pressure to ‘get it together’. Our generation is blazing a new trail; I don’t know anyone in my mom’s generation who ‘waited this long’ to settle down so maybe that’s part of it – we’re still getting used to the idea that we *can* choose. Also sometimes people pressure us to justify their own choices. I often feel similar pushback as a vegan. (Why do you care what I eat?!) But yeah social pressure is powerful af.

    • grace at the stripe says 5.31.18

      I completely agree – our generation is definitely blazing a new trail. We are so lucky to be able to choose.
      (And that’s funny about the vegan comment too. Not vegan but also don’t understand why people care what other people eat – it doesn’t effect them!)

  40. Katie says 5.31.18

    I completely agree with this. I also think this can be applied career wise with comparison. Once you’re in your 30s some peoples careers soar and others stagnate. I feel like mine has stagnated and hopeful I’m able to change that.

  41. Angie says 5.31.18

    I love this post! “Life is not about checking boxes or accomplishing things on a certain timeline. It’s about living on your own terms..” This is so true! Isn’t life just about doing what makes us happy? I’m sure if you wanted to be married earlier on, you would have made it happen. But you were pursuing your happiness and focusing on yourself and your career. As a single gal in my 30s, I’m with you! Thanks for keeping your blogging honest and talking about the important stuff!

  42. Tara says 5.31.18

    I love this! I was 35 when I met my husband and 37 when we married. I live in Louisiana, so it’s probably more odd to be never married at that age than in NY. Everyone always asked me why I had never been married, and I responded “I haven’t been asked.” People wondered what was wrong with me. Truth is, I had never met anyone with whom I wanted to share my life until I met my husband. I was not going to marry because my time to be single had expired, and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. Cheers to you!

  43. Alexandra says 5.31.18

    YES! The pressure is real, whether it comes from friends, family, or coworkers. 30 is around the corner and my singleness seems to come up in so many conversations. I’m dating, but also happy being independent and enjoying my career. It’s tough having to “justify” years spent getting a Master’s, working on professional development, or moving up the ladder when the question “You’re so great, why are you still single?” inevitably comes up. Glad to see companies starting a dialogue around it. Thanks for posting!

  44. Brittany Sampson says 5.31.18

    Its definitely a pressure so many women face all over the world. I was born and raised in the south and while most of my friends are married Im the single one. Its hard at times, when I know I really want to get married, but don’t like playing games and wasting my time. My friends try to understand but Ive always been career and travel focused and assumed the rest will come.

    Love this campaign and your views. Every woman gets to do their life how they want. I continue to get more comfortable with my life at this stage and embrace that I get freedom others dont because Im single.

    Thanks for sharing and being open and honest.

  45. Mary says 5.31.18

    Grace! I love this so so so much. This is probably going to sound silly, but I’m 22 and just graduated from college and I have never had a boyfriend. And it’s really not for lack of trying or interest, I’ve just never met someone who I felt like was worth the time. And personally, I’m fine with it. But I feel SO MUCH PRESSURE from my friends and my family!! I don’t even know why though because like I said, I’m only 22! But most of my friends have long term boyfriends and quite a few of them are actually engaged or even married. It’s so bothersome to tell my family why I don’t have a boyfriend because in my family and where I’m from (the south) it is just SO expected of you to get engaged right after college, get married, have kids etc. And although I do want to get married one day and have kids, I’m in no rush. I have so many career goals and plans that I want to accomplish, I feel like I’m just getting started! Anyways, thank you for this! You and your blog are such a bright and happy part of my days. As usual, love your charm and openness <3

  46. Kate says 6.1.18

    Feeling this. I got married for Love after a 2 yr engagement (we weren’t in a rush!) and now there are a lot of comments about being 32 and married with no kids. Whatever! My pupper is cute as shit and she takes a ton of my time (she’s v bougie) and I’m a workaholic. And proud of it. I work longer hours than my husband because I’m obsessed with helping my low income clients and this is the time for that, right now. I don’t want a baby right now and I have plenty of time for that when I am ready. It’s so gendered and stupid, and really trippy that women feel comfortable commenting on my age/uterus status?! Everyone should STAY IN THEIR LANE.

  47. Liz says 6.1.18

    I feel this SO MUCH! I am 30 (turning 31 tomorrow!) and am pursing a total career change and am taking post-bacc classes to apply to PA school in a few years. I am about to take a huge pay cut to work as a medical assistant, and take huge loans for school. I have talked to some people who couldn’t imagine doing that “at my age.” Even if it takes me 7 years from start to finish, I will still have 20+ years to work as a PA and help so many people. It’s tough to feel that I’m not where I “should be” in my career. But I figure it’s better to make the change now as I know this is what I want than to live the rest of my life working in a job that I hate. Cheers to all the strong women commenting on this post and to you, Grace for posting!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story, Liz!!! (And congrats on making the change… that’s really exciting.)

  48. A Girl, A Style says 6.5.18

    Amen! I could not agree more with this and was nodding along to everything you wrote. When I turned 30 I had a total third-life crisis because my life didn’t look the way I thought it would by that age (according to society’s expectations, but also according to the pressure I’d put on myself) and I felt like a failure. But now I’m embracing that things look different, and I don’t know how things will pan out – that’s the whole fun of it!

    Briony xx

    • Thank you so much friend. I so appreciate you commenting and sharing your story. I miss you! xo

  49. Haley says 6.14.18

    Thanks for reposting this as I must have missed it the first time. I’m 27, have one bachelor’s degree and will be starting a second this Fall. I have lived on my own and paid my own bills since I was 19. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 3 years this Fall and if I have to have any love conversations with family or people who don’t even know us about the fact that we should be married, having kids, etc, I might throat punch someone. I feel like I constantly have to explain the fact that we both had lives and other relations prior to meeting so getting married right away isn’t what we want. Why is marriage the end all, be all to commitment? The rest of your life is still the rest of your life and loving someone through that regardless of marriage for whatever length of time is just as valuable without a ring, maybe even more so because it’s a choice, not a contract.

  50. Kayla says 6.14.18

    I LOVE this!! I’ve been with my boyfriend since high school, together for 8 years now. Some of our friends are in long term relationships, constantly talking marriage and a few engaged already. We’re 25-26! My boyfriend and I are constantly being pressured by our family and we refuse to listen to them. We are happy, traveling (a lot…yay), and moving in together! We will take our time and enjoy our lives before we have to make those marriage/children decisions. I’m lucky to have him by my side on this crazy journey.

  51. Elizabeth says 6.14.18

    Im 31, turning 32, and married. Having started my career as an attorney later than most, I hear career timing pressure and family planning pressure from all sides. I decided that my career was important to me and my self worth…

    I’m headed to start the process to freeze my eggs next week- While I know it’s not a guarantee at all (emphasize that!), it at least gives me a potential chance at a future which I may or may not decide to have. Here’s to hoping things will work out ‍♀️