Do you remember SK-II‘s “I Never Expire Campaign” from last year? Part of SK-II’s ongoing #ChangeDestiny campaign, it was one of my favorite brand campaigns of all time because of the focus on dealing with something we all face: age related pressure. The brand is back again with a new campaign – TIMELINES. I’m thrilled to be a part of the new campaign and get to share my own story!
It’s interesting, really. The American dream changes and evolves and I love how it’s completely different for everyone. I love that while twenty years ago, all women were more or less expected to go down a very specific cookie-cutter path, but things are so different today. You really can live life on your own terms… what is one person’s perfect timeline may be completely wrong for someone else.
When I think back to when I first moved to New York (13 years ago), I had four very close girlfriends.
One is now married with two kids on the Upper East Side. Another is the same, but in New Jersey. Another moved to Florida… she also got married and has two kids. Yet another moved back to Boston and completely restarted her career, changing fields in her mid-thirties. Something that was once terrifying but is completely doable. She’s single and navigating the Boston dating scene. And then there’s me. Single (the horror!), attempting to date, but right now pretty focused on work and my new baby (the podcast!). And that’s okay. All of these situations are okay, there isn’t one “right” timeline!
For the latest campaign (the trailer is linked above or you can watch it on Youtube), SK-II and Katie Couric aim to inspire women around the world to create their own timeline. Rather than living a life that is in line with everyone else’s expectations, we should all aspire to live a life that leaves US feeling whole and good. There are five videos total, profiling four women from around the world (New York, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo) and one hero film that combines the four cities.
The videos are incredibly moving and I would encourage you to watch them all.
The films are all beautifully, artistically shot (and I love Katie Couric) but the message is SO powerful. The New York video resonated most with me the most as I know what it’s like to move to New York and put your career and professional ambitions ahead of a more traditional timeline. It also struck a chord when she said that marriage is not a top priority right now. Women all around the world, no matter the city or country, face huge amounts of societal pressure, but things have changed so much. We are able to challenge social norms and do things our own way. Our lives will probably play out pretty different than our mothers’ lives did and that’s okay.
For me, I have never really cared about having kids.
It’s never been a hard no but it’s also not a priority, if that makes any sense. Finding a partner to share life with IS a priority for me; but I could care less about a big wedding or a house in the suburbs. Life is all about compromise so who knows how my future partner will feel but if I had my way, I’d find my person, settle down in Brooklyn, and live a lovely “just us” life here where we have a lot of animals and maybe a house upstate, lead vibrant lives in the city, and support each other in our careers. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
There’s also the self-imposed pressures.
While I’ve never cared about having children, I worry that I will change my mind and someday in ten years I will wake up and be sad that I never did. Right now it’s hard to imagine that being the case but the fear is still very real. Both of my sisters have kids and they were all together in Minnesota last week and it tugged on my heartstrings a bit, seeing them all together with the kids and wondering where I fit in. (That’s silly and irrational, I’m the cool auntie but the fear is still very much there!)
And while marriage is not a necessity, it’s still a subconscious thing. All of those romantic comedies we watched (and still watch) take their toll, making us feel like the real happy ending involves meeting “the one,” falling in love, and getting married. I think that’s the other reason I love this campaign so much. It defies the norms and challenges the ideals we’ve built up in our heads since childhood!
We all have our own timeline.
The importance is to live a life that leaves you feeling good on the inside; rather than what’s in line with conventional norms. It isn’t just about romantic norms though; it spills over to all areas of life: careers (and reaching a certain level by a certain age), finance (shouldn’t I have bought something by now?), friendships (the comparison trap // feeling alone and not having a close circle if your friends have moved away). Those are all just thought starters but I’m so curious to hear your own stories with regard to timelines. If you feel comfortable, please share in the comments!
created in partnership with SK-II; photography by Trent Bailey.
Great message, Grace! ❤️ SKII does really good campaigns. 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
They really do!!!!
I turned 37 a couple months ago. I’ve been single for the last 10+ years, never married, and I don’t want children. Even if I *did* want children, I feel I’m too old for that now. I’ve passed my prime. I don’t want to have children later in life and be 50 when my kid is 10. I grew up in a very strict, traditional, and close Italian family and when me and my older sister were kids, all of our family members were young – my aunts and uncles were in their 20s and my grandparents were all in their 40s and 50s. So, taking this into consideration, it’s no wonder I feel I’m already too old to have children. But right now, I don’t want them anyway. Will I wake up one day in ten years’ time and regret this choice I’ve made? Possibly. Just like you mentioned in your post, it’s entirely possible. Am I content with my lot in life? Yes and no. Although I love being on my own most of the time, there are still days when I’d really like to have a partner. The thought of having disappointed members of my Italian family is constantly on my mind. All of my younger cousins are either already married or planning weddings while I’m still here, alone and childless at 37. Just typing this out is making me want to cry. The last thing my paternal grandfather said to me before he died was “Are you married yet?” (he had just woken from a coma and wasn’t sure how much time had passed by since he’d last seen or spoken to me). Yes, I’m probably a huge disappointment to members of my family – particularly the older ones – but there’s not much I can do about that now. All I can *really* do is be thankful that I’ve got my health and go on living the rest of my life.
Thank you so much for sharing, Vanessa. We are the same age but I also want to stress that I think things are so different now that 37 is definitely not too old to have kids, and I don’t think you’re past your prime at all! Really appreciate you sharing your story – I am so sorry that you feel like a disappointment to your family… I have been there as well!
I think about the same things as well. I’m still very young and I constantly worry about where my life will take me, if I’ll ever accomplish the career goals I want to accomplish or if I’ll change my mind completely about marriage and kids and end up building a big family. I don’t know what’s gonna happen but the last thing I want to do is follow the norm and do what everybody expects me to do as a woman.
I totally agree, thanks Marta!
I love this campaign and the message of this post! There is so much pressure to have things “figured out” by a certain time in life. To get married, have a family, and have a career you enjoy. I struggled with severe depression and anxiety for most of my teen years and early twenties so at 30 years old, I feel as though I’m almost just starting to live my life. I feel as though I am just now starting to discover who I am and what I want in life. In some ways this period of self-discovery is magical and in other ways, I worry that I missed out on big life mile markers because of my mental health issues. But at the end of the day, I would much rather be mentally healthy and happy than have accomplished any of the things I was “supposed” to by this age. I’m finally enjoying my own company for the first time in my life and I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything.
I completely agree. So much pressure on all sides. And being able to enjoy your own company is such a great feeling!
I love this Kelsey! And I can totally relate to this timeline (and feeling like I got a bit of a late start) for similar reasons. I really “found myself” and became the best version of myself around 28 or so. I am 38 now and feel nothing but gratitude for the life I have, the path I am on, and being me.
For the record I am not planning on having children, and am not actively dating, though I am open to the idea of a long term partner if I meet the right person.
Grace, thank you for this insightful and intimate post. There is a quote I like applying to all areas of my life and most decisions I make. “You can have anything, but you can’t have everything.” For every direction we go in life there is a path we didn’t take and that is okay and inevitable. I think it is about being honest with yourself about your priorities and values and staying true to those.
Kelsey, I am 30 and your comment resonated so much with me. I feel exactly the same way. I am trying to make up for lost time almost. And it can be lonely feeling like you’re behind and missed out on your 20s or that you are experiencing your 20s…at 30. I’m sending some encouragement your way!
I’m getting married in 3 months. I’m also 32. I know that’s the norm nowadays but about 6 or 7 years ago, all my girlfriends were in serious relationships and one by one they all got started getting engaged and married. I’ve always been the single gal since I can remember and although I’ve had relationships in the past, none were ever serious. At some point during all these engagements, showers, and weddings, I started asking myself what was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I attract someone who would want to be with me and hopefully marry me? After the second wedding I participated in, I decided that it was just not a priority for me. I was going to get my life in order and if someone came along and swept me off my feet, wonderful! If not…that’s ok too. I’d always been asked why I was single because I was personable and had a good job and that my clock was ticking and definitely wasn’t getting any younger! I love being Asian but the pressure of being married was intense. I did the dating thing for about 3 years and in that time period I learned to love myself and what compromise truly meant. Honestly, it was when I wasn’t looking that I finally found the man I was going to marry. I’m grateful for the lessons that life taught me while I was single. I was able to move up in my career, get my own place, buy my own car, and I’ve never been more content in life. I’m glad I didn’t overwhelm myself with finding a partner and getting married just because everyone else was. I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason, and I truly believe I needed to learn more about myself before letting someone else in. Timelines be damned!
I love this so much, thanks for sharing!
How did you end up meeting your husband? Just curious. There’s so much pressure to date online and I feel like that’s fine for some ppl but for there these things tend to happen when you least expect it/aren’t ‘hunting’ for it. Thanks for this post!
I’m almost 38, have had 2 miscarriages and experiencing a lot of anxiety about whether I’ll ever be a mom. Timelines are definitely on my mind given my age. I am really trying to let go of the idea that everyone should have kids by a certain time or a certain way. It’s hard when it’s been drilled into me that I’m already too old and my time has passed. I know it hasn’t, but overcoming that constant pressure is tough. I’ll keep trying though!
I am so sorry that you’re going through that! Hugs.
So true! We all have our own timelines. The sooner we realize the happier we will be. I was just talking about this with my cousins yesterday.
Thanks Natmari! xx
I love this campaign and post. Thanks Grace! I find myself stuck in the comparison trap and worrying about not having close girlfriends a few years after college since they all moved away and I didn’t. Even my boyfriend lives two states away. I feel like I “should” want close friends but honestly most of the time I’m happiest on my own and enjoy having friends who I can travel to visit on the weekends without having to deal with the daily drama of living with/near close friends. And I want to live with my boyfriend in the future, I’m just not ready yet. But I definitely get caught up thinking that I’m weird or antisocial or not living my life “the right way”. I’ve never really thought about this as being a part of my own personal timeline, but I really like this idea. Being “on my own” in my early 20s is definitely a different timeline than I thought I was “supposed to” have but I’m certainly enjoying it!
I love this! I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that as long as YOU are happy with your own choices, you’re on the right path. 🙂
Love this. I’ve never felt super pressured to fit timelines for romance since graduating college. I wish I had a boyfriend but I’d rather feel stable with a job.
Getting laid off last year was not part of the plan and the struggle to find a new job that I actually want has definitely been wearing me out. I’m almost 32 and should not still be living at home, taking shitty jobs that have no relevance to my passions.
I keep telling myself that things will work out when they’re supposed to but it’s hard to keep that belief when nothing ever really has.
Oof. I’m so sorry. That’s really tough. I was laid off several years ago and it ended up being one of the best things that ever happened to me. I really do believe that everything will work out, but I have been in your shoes and I know how demoralizing it can be. Sending you a big hug from Brooklyn!
Hi! I’m also 32 and single, and know what it’s like to be laid off. Once in my mid-20s with a company downsizing and 2nd when I was 30, a great company I loved filed for bankruptcy. It is incredibly difficult but I think anything worth having in life is hard and worth the fight. I’ve been at my job now awhile and it’s not perfect but I’m in a pretty good spot after really pushing myself to find my dream job. I’ve been single through it all and though it hasn’t been smooth I’m glad I turned it all into a positive and I haven’t let the setbacks drag me down. Use this time to really get to know who you are. Push yourself, it’ll help you grow and evolve. Get coffee or have a phone convo with anyone whose LinkedIn profile seems interesting – network as much as possible. You will find what you’re passionate about in work and the rest will fall into place but don’t let the struggle take over. Always be willing to try new things to figure out what you want out of your career Xx
Right here with you! I’m 30, single basically since college and live at home (in Manhattan, so saving lots of money, but still…)
I’m working part time, but not where I thought I would be by now and having a hard time watching many of my good friends get married, have kids, and move away. I think it’s great when we admit that life isn’t always Instagram perfect and give each other support and help with networking etc in a community like this 🙂
Love this post! How do you fit SK-II into your skincare routine with the Bader cream? I love both products but have been stumped on the correct order.
I don’t use them together.
If I’m doing Dr. Bader I use only Dr. Bader but if it’s a retinol or vitamin C night I do SK-II before. Basically anytime I am not using Dr. Bader I use SK-II as a step before serum and moisturizer!
Grace, thank you (as always!) for your honestly and genuine thoughts on real topics, struggles, hopes and dreams. It’s so refreshing to come to this corner of the internet every day and feel connected to your blog this way. I love how approachable you are on the subject of timelines, being fully aware that you are living the life you want to live while understanding women everywhere are all on their unique journeys. Some bloggers say these things but it feels like it’s the “right” thing to talk about…and I find you to be such a breath of fresh air and so relatable. I, too, have never felt a desire to have children or become a mom and I feel so lucky to live in a time where this is becoming more acceptable. Like you said, many of us will end up living lives very different from our moms and that’s ok! I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that valued being happy and healthy without the pressure on me to “settle down” and have children, especially as I head into my 30s. That being said, I do want to find my person and live a life with them – just like you. I just wanted to say thank you for writing this post, it’s really nice to take a break from the Nordstrom sale posts (lol) and feel like I’m chatting with a group of really wonderful women, all building a life that makes them happy.
I agree with every word of this!!!! Thank you!!! Also your sponsorships/partnerships are really so genuine and it shows. Love this!
thank you. xo
Aw I so appreciate this Emma as that’s what I strive for, even if we are just talking about something more frivolous. I’m going to screenshot this comment for the next time I’m feeling tired and over it!!!!
Thanks for sharing your story! I felt the same as you, reading + replying to the comments on this post, like I have this amazing group of virtual friends (or as we say on the podcast, my fake friends!!!)
Grace, I began following you this summer after I discovered the Bad on Paper Podcast, and like every 20-30 something, I’ve had my follows of social media/bloggers that I follow, but I have to say, that I love the content you put out there. It’s so original and MEANINGFUL, beyond just the clothes and must have shoes. THANK YOU!
Like you, I never felt a strong desire to have a baby the way many others do. I love the idea of parenting and seeing a person through developmental and formative moments in his/her life, but the baby stuff I could do without, and sometimes I think I would rather focus on the development and formation of MYSELF instead! My husband and I often talk about how our lives would look if it were just us and our dog… and how that doesn’t look so bad to us. Like all women in their mid-30s, I think there’s pressure from everywhere (and judgement I might add!) for not having a baby at this point in our lives. Because I’m also living with lupus, I know that extra precautions, plans, and time are needed for me to even begin TRYING to have a child. I turned 34 this year, and out of fear the biological time left for children, my husband and I decided that we would at least medically prepare for myself to have a baby… just in case we decided we were ready in the next year or so, we can begin trying right away, without wasted time. I’ve recently had some set-backs and some health risks, requiring to take new medications (which always comes with new potential risks) that I now wonder… is it even worth it? is this something that I even want? If I don’t have a baby, I can go back to school… hell, I would even get my PhD! For me, I suppose I’m still struggling to decide my choices, my timeline. Once I do, I just hope I find peace with it! I do know that hearing other woman’s stories about the choices they are making in their lives makes me feel less alone about mine.
Oh my gosh I’m so happy you found me via the podcast… thank you, and thank you for reading/taking the time to comment! Loved hearing your story, thanks for sharing!
Grace, thank you so much for posts like these. It helps so much to hear a voice of another single woman in her late 30s when it feels like everyone else in the world is partnered up. I’d love to find a partner, but he’d need to complement my life as is—I don’t need someone to complete me. As far as the kids, I don’t know! I always thought I wanted kids, but as I get older (I’m a year younger than you), I’m less sure, but like you, I don’t want to wake up 10 years from now and regret it. I’ve gone back and forth for years about whether or not to freeze my eggs…
It’s so hard to know how we will feel in ten years!!!!!
Thank you for this post! I love everything about it. Women, even in 2019, still experience immense pressure to fit into the box of wife and mother. Some of the pressure is from society and some is from the individual. I want to live in a world where everyone has the freedom to live her own unique story with no questions asked. Pipe dreams aside, I am a happily married 37 year old woman with no children. For the most part, people have stopped asking my husband and I when we are going to have children because I think they’ve figured it out that we’re probably not. But about 2-3 years ago, the questions were relentless. Even though I’m a strong, independent woman, the questions coupled with almost everyone else I know having children made me question if something was wrong with me. I knew I never wanted to have children at a young age, but I thought when I turned 35 I would suddenly be ready. I know now that was my silly type A personality talking. As that time drew nearer, I became more anxious because my feelings hadn’t changed. My maternal instinct had not kicked in like it was supposed to. About a year and half ago, I finally admitted to myself and my husband that I’d be happy with “just us.” It was quite liberating. Although it was a big revelation to me, it was no surprise to anyone I knew. I love being an aunt to my nieces, but nothing about me really screams maternal. Since then, I have been so much happier because I allowed myself to live my own story. The more stories we hear, the better.
Thank you so much for sharing your story Kathy!!!
I relate to this so, so incredibly much (and it gives me hope of meeting a guy who feels the same, everyone I meet is either unable to commit or wants to settle down ASAP and have kids sooner rather than later).
oh the timeline…I don’t even know when I created “the timeline” but I have one, and in trying to meet all the milestones I’ve set for myself I wonder what I’ve missed part my life. I distinctly remember wanting to be the family that had 2 “power parents” and the kids could talk about how Mommy was on a business trip and Daddy was in a big meeting. Well, my timeline dreams have come true, and it is hard. What isn’t getting the attention that it needs, my marriage, my family, my work, my self? But in order to try to fix the balance, do I have to give up on my timeline, my the goals that I set? Does that mean I quit my own dreams? Maybe this weekend I’ll figure it all out, but most likely I will try and fill my family tank, so it can hold me over while I’m back in the office on Monday.
Nikki, it’s like you’re writing about my life.
Thanks so much for sharing this Nikki. I hope you can take some time for yourself (even just a few minutes!) this weekend!!!
I moved from the south several years ago, so even though I’m still in my mid-to-late-twenties, I feel much more behind on the “timeline” that is expected of me. I put so much of myself into my work that it has been the majority of my life for years. I’ve started finding a healthy way to be obsessed with work, but at the stage of life I am in, it completes me in an odd way. Though I’d love a husband and maybe kids someday, I feel like there is so much more out there for me on my “timeline” before I reach that point. I love this post and series so so much for making that seem like it’s not a crazy idea.
I am in the same boat! I am obsessed with work and that can make it really hard to focus on other things!!!!
I love this post and it makes me realize I’m not alone out there, but it’s still hard not to spiral. I had a boyfriend from high school through college (6 years), we were long distance in college and everyone thought we were going to get married. We grew apart and broke up and I’ve been single ever since (22). I’m turning 34 next month and sure, I’ve had things here and there, I haven’t had anything meaningful since. In my 20s all my girlfriends lived in NYC and I was the glue that kept all of us together, they are all married with kids and the last one is about to move away in September. I lost my dad in December suddenly and I think that’s made it harder… everyone is having these major life events – marriage and kids my family is shrinking. I don’t know if I want kids because I can’t even foresee that without a partner. Now I just feel societies pressures to find someone or move out of New York. I’m happy alone most of the time, but sometimes it’s just so hard. You are a great inspiration Grace and I find you incredibly relatable. Can’t stress enough how much posts like these are worth.
Thank you so much for sharing all of this Rachel, I really appreciate it. Sending you a big hug.
Grace!! I love this message so much! And stand behind it with you 100%. I admire you, my friend. You inspire me every day!
Aw love you friend!! xx
This post really resonated with me. I’m also 37 and single. While we have similar goals I differ with the desire to have kids. Right now I’m working on saving money to buy a house to foster adopt. I work in schools and see that there are so many kids who need good homes & I hope that I can provide that someday. It isn’t the timeline I planned for but no matter what we will all get where we are supposed to on our own time. Thanks again for sharing this. Sometimes it is hard not to be where you expected to be by this age.
I am so glad it resonated. And I LOVE the idea of foster adopting. (This is something I think about a lot, not for now, but if I ever get the desire to raise a child!) as a good option. There are so many kids who need good homes. The diversity of responses and stories being shared here never ceases to amaze me, I really appreciate you sharing your story.
Wow, this was such an empowering story and message that I needed to hear! Even though I am only in my mid-twenties, I have always struggled with anxiety, lack of self-confidence and low self esteem since I was a child. I always felt a huge pressure to fit in and follow societal norms. With social media so prevalent in today’s society, I found it negative for me because I would fall into the negative comparison trap and it just brought me down. I eventually got rid of all social media because I knew it was self-destructive to me. I was born and raised in a small southern conservative town so everyone I grew up with followed the “traditional timeline” and got married and had kids young. I have been judged and shamed for choosing to be single and instead focusing on my career. As a female in a male-dominated STEM profession, people joke that I am a workaholic and am “married” to my work. As much as I would love to find someone to share a life with, I finally realized that I cannot love someone else until I learn to love myself.
I’m so happy it resonated. xx
I just turned 40 in March. I was engaged at 30 and he ended it 6 months before the wedding (which was 100% the BEST thing, in hindsight I wish I’d ended it myself!). I enjoyed my new found freedom, travelling and spending time with my friends, working on my career. All my friends now have kids, and while I’ve always wanted kids I’m starting to come around to the idea that it probably won’t happen for me. And I don’t want them bad enough to lower my standards of what I’m looking for in a partner. That being said it seems like all of a sudden I’m 40, single with no kids and can’t figure out how that happened.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy – I have friends who are like family to me – they threw me a surprise 40th b-day party and 70 friends and colleagues showed up. So, I’m by no means alone – but sometimes I do feel like I don’t know where I fit in with my friends because our lives are so different.
This might sound weird and maybe a bit morbid but I think my biggest fear is having something extremely difficult happen (I get really sick, lose a parent, sibling) and I have no one in my life who is obliged (contractually by marriage or by long term commitment ) to be help me or be my support. Of course my friends would be there but I think a partner fills a different role in those moments. So, even if kids are off the table, I don’t want to be single forever. Crossing my fingers, and in the meantime am going to try to enjoy the freedom I have to follow less traditional trajectory.
Thanks for your post! Xo
Eeesh I don’t know if I’ve ever related more to a comment!
First, I’m so sorry that happened to you – I went through a breakup around the same age (32) – we weren’t engaged but he had asked my father and then never proposed. It was pretty bad, but like you, now I’m glad it happened.I can really relate to that feeling of freedom and getting to live your life the way YOU want to and really invest in yourself. I have this amazing life and career and so many friends, it’s really cool.
That being said I can also relate being like wow suddenly I’m 37 how did this happen!!!! Losing a parent is my biggest fear. Second to that is getting really sick and being self employed and suddenly unable to support myself. So I think about that a lot (probably too much) BUT I also know I have two amazing sisters (and brothers in laws), and the best group of friends. So while they aren’t contractually obligated to help me, hopefully they would in a bad situation. Oof, way to get morbid, responding to you on a Saturday morning… just know that I FEEL YOU! xx
Grace, this is such a great topic. I was married at 29 , we both talked about having children on and off throughout the marriage. Neither one of us could agree on the right timing . Ultimately the marriage did last and I was glad to not bring children into an unhappy union. I’ve never regretted not having children , but always though it would be a natural extension from a strong loving partnership. I am a proud aunt and have close friends with children and it is a joy. It’s hard when you are younger, it seems like when you do meet someone, most of them want to have children. I would like to find a partner, but I have a great life with good friends and a loving family. I don’t feel the marriage pressure ( I think a lot of women do with or without the children issue)thing, since Ive done that. I always joke that I will take after my grandmother who was married three times ( the last one was in her 80”s! ). I have just two more to go! 🙂 A partner needs to enhance and support your life and I’m not willing to settle. I’m 57 , so looking forward to the rest of my life. Always keep learning and growing is something I live by.
Loved this post. The one thing that is really interesting to me is that it feels like the conversation really has not changed all that much since I graduated university 23 years ago. Back then we wondered if we should go for our masters, move to the city, what kind of job to get, would we get married, have kids, if we had kids, would we keep working or stay home etc. Sounds a lot like what I am reading here. What I can for sure is that I would highly recommend being open to what life brings you. Grab the opportunities as they present themselves knowing that you can almost always change your mind. I think most of us had 5, 10, 15 year plans but what most of us have learned in the last almost 25 years is that nothing is perfect and so much is fleeting ( the good and the bad). Many of of have married, some have divorced, many had kids, some did not ( through their own choice and not), some have had the same career, many have changed jobs a few times along the way…. Most of have lived through things that we never would have imagined all those years ago…. addiction of a partner, sickness and death of parents, losing siblings, debilitating illnesses etc. I guess my point is do not worry too much about where you will be in 5, 10 and 15 years and who will be there or not there with you, what you will or will not have then but make the most of what today offers you while working towards what feels right at this moment.
That’s really interesting! Thanks for sharing. You should read Jane Green’s new book, The Friends We Keep – everything you’re saying makes me think of that book!
Ordering that book now 🙂
This speaks to me! Your comment made me think of a very powerful mindset tool my therapist taught me: things don’t happen to you, they happen for you and it’s how you react to them, or rather what you do with what you’ve got, that is key in personal development and growth. Xx
I feel so fortunate to have a life I dreamed of, but also never expected. I’ve had good careers (onto my third now) and get to experience many of the things I’d hoped for (travel). I set goals and met them (Phd). I never thought I’d get married or have children. Coming from challenging family circumstances, I have a strong belief that if you don’t want children 100% then you shouldn’t have them. I’m sometimes surprised to look at my husband of 10 years and think how lucky I was to find someone so unexpected I had agreed to share his life with me.
That said, the timeline never goes away. At 45 I have no pressure to have children, those in my orbit with kids have teenagers now, but I do look at my parents and feel sad they do not get to have grandchildren (I am an only child). And I now consider the loss I feel that I won’t have grandchildren.
Being a privileged woman, or just a human, comes with choice. Choice always leads to what if scenarios. We just have to be grateful we have these opportunities, respect others and value the life we have.
Thanks so much for sharing. You are so right in that we’re lucky to be able to choose.
I love your posts on this and similar topics because it makes me realize that I’m in very good company as a single 37-year-old without children.
My feelings about kids are very similar to yours. I recently ended a long (10+ year) relationship. I get a lot of people expressing sympathy and asking when I will start dating. But I have to shrug. I’m at a good place in my career and am cherishing spending time on my own, getting to know myself again. I also very much enjoy the company of my dogs. 🙂 I have certainly felt the pressures from friends, family, and society to get married and have babies. It can be relentless. I once had a complete stranger at a professional event tell me that my “eggs are getting old” after I mentioned that I don’t have kids. That was special. Anyway, I’m at peace with my unique timeline and have enjoyed reading the comments from all the other awesome women on this thread. Thanks all!
Aw that makes me really happy to hear. It can be hard to get vulnerable on the internet but if it helps someone feel less alone then I’ve done my job. Also, if someone ever told me my eggs are getting old I would punch them.
Hi Grace! Thank you so much for a such a wonderful post; it feels so timely.
I just graduated from university a couple weeks ago, and while I am SO proud of my accomplishments, it’s hard moving out of the set timeline of school into the “real world”. For so long, there was such a clear trajectory: elementary school – middle school – high school – college. It’s funny now how my friends and I have been released with completely unique paths to take. Some are moving to Boston and London to work in finance, while others have one more semester to finish; some have continued on to masters degrees and I wonder if part of their desire is for the continued safety and structure of school(which I get!). I am trying to not judge myself too much for not having a full time job post-grad, based on some timeline I made up in my head. I have to remind myself that I have all the time in the world and that moving home, taking the time to find a position, and working a part-time, minimum wage job is no failure! It’s just my unique timeline.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience!!!
There is a saying that goes something like “life is what happens when you’re busy making plans”. I thought I had it all planned out — get married after college, have a few kids and move to the suburbs. I ended up living in NYC in my early 20’s then relocating across the country to TX. I met my now husband at 28 and we got married when I was 35. After two long years and some very trying times I just had my first child… at 38!!! I realize now that I put a lot of pressure on myself based on some imaginary timeline. My 20- something self would probably be horrified but I have risen up in my career, traveled to some amazing places and spend every day trying to be the most amazing mother to my son.
I love this! Thank you for sharing!!!!
Beautiful post lovely! So true!
x Lisa | lisaautumn.com
Thanks Lisa. x
I went to grad school after college and wanted to focus on my career before prioritizing finding a partner. I met my now-husband when I was 29 and got married when I was 31. I wanted 2 years of just us time before having kids but that turned into 4 years when I had some trouble getting pregnant and lost a baby. Now we have 2 beautiful girls and I’m looking forward to the next chapter watching them grow.
That’s wonderful! Thanks for sharing!
First, I LOVE that you speak out about your decision to not have children. I am 42 and do not have children. I believe that there were 3 determinate factors that lead to this decision for me. The first is exactly what your blog post is about-milestones. I have never been one to feel pressure to hit certain milestones at certain times. I never envisioned a beautiful wedding, a house with a white picket fence, and 2.5 children by the age of 30. Nope, I am much too practical for that. The second is that I realized from an early age that money was tight for my family. Therefore, I became very career focused. The last thing, in my opinion, is the most important one. I think that when one decides to become a parent, one should consider more than just the desire to do so as the determinate factor. How about asking yourself- Am I truly suited to being a parent? Am I patient or quick to temper? Am I more of a selfish or selfless person? Am I able to provide for my child or am I barely scraping by? Yes, these are tough questions but they are questions that deserve answers. I wasn’t sure I could tick all the boxes. Sorry this is so lengthy but I am just so grateful to have someone speaking out on the subject.
Thanks Rebecca. I totally agree. And for me, at this point in my life, I am NOT patient and I am very selfish. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Thanks for sharing your story + views on it!
So great, Grace. Isn’t it tough that we all “battle” our timelines. I think of those that got married early and get the “wow, you got married at 25..why?” It really is always something. I’m 35 and not married so I see feel the tugs. Thanks for writing this as a reminder to all of us to celebrate and be confident in our timeline.
You have a beautiful life- enjoy your “timeline”. 🙂
That’s totally true – there’s judgment no matter what!!!
I really resonated with everything you said. In my 20s I moved to LA, to pursue an acting & modeling career. I grew up in Michigan won a modeling contest, was the star of all the school musicals & everything came EASY to me…
Even in LA I completed the basic checklist quickly: get an agent, join SAG, book a national commercial, test for a TV pilot, book an indie film, co-star on a TV show etc…
Worked as a cocktail waitress at the hottest nightclub. Had a solid “click” of supportive girlfriends. Having so much FUN!!! The world was at my finger tips:)
After 10 years of pounding the pavement, dealing with rejection daily, it wore on me.
I QUIT ACTING. Biggest regret I have:(
I met a man, wanted an EASY life, we were traveling & looking at rings & houses & I thought YES, I landed a rich guy, we are going to get married & have kids & have a nice & EASY life…
There are so many reasons that didn’t happen.
I ended up as a reality quasi-famous Star, got some fan mail, then the series ended.
I got sober (for 2 years & 2 months)
Got certified to teach yoga ♀️.
I was a nanny.
I was a personal assistant.
I was a VIP hostess at a nightclub.
I got my real estate license.
I hadn’t waited tables in 10 years! But I needed to pay my rent, so…I started serving again.
At 38 years old I was so embarrassed.
My younger sister married a nice Jewish guy from a good family, had a 500 person Persian wedding.
And now has a 2 1/2 year old beautiful baby girl!
Now at almost 42 (July 20), I’m managing a high end fine dining Italian restaurant in West Hollywood. I’m engaged to a smart, funny & sexy, yet difficult New York Puerto Rican alpha MAN. We live together in a huge 4plex, BH~adjacent & have 2 rescue doggies, they bring me joy every day!
I’m an auntie & cannot wait for my niece to grow up so I can spoil her!!
Why do I compare myself to EVERYTHING & EVERYONE EVERYDAY?!
I have a pretty good life:)
I do yoga 3 times a week, I can sleep in, I go to reiki chakra sound baths, get massages regularly, have a healer, take bubble baths whenever I want, mani-pedis, my man & I cook together.
Thank you for letting me share, vent etc…
For what it’s worth, I’m going to get out of the RIGHT side of the bed today.
Cheers to health, happiness, love & success!!!
Thank you, more please:
My Goddess, my universe, my Mother Earth, my higher power, my Luna, my light, my guardian angels.
Thank you so much for sharing – it’s very inspiring!
Grace, I definitely needed this. My sister and two cousins are recently married, so the focus has turned on me as the “next one”. They’re all so excited about the four of us being married and having kids, but at 25 pursing a graduate degree, it’s the last thing on my mind. Everyone tells me I’ll change my mind in five years, but I know I don’t want kids. It’s campaigns like this that remind me I can do and be anything I want. Absolutely loved your perspective on it all!
Ahh that’s gotta be so hard! People have the best intentions but end up putting unnecessary pressure on! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Grace! I’m 47 and have been following you since Stripes & Sequins! I’m single with no children and similar to you, kids were never a hard no for me but not a priority. I definitely had the fear when I was younger that I’d wake up one day in a panic that I didn’t have kids, but that hasn’t happened – perhaps because I too am the cool aunt of an amazing niece and 3 nephews. Don’t underestimate how great and fulfilling that can be! I also believe what is for you will not pass you, so keep doing you and it will all work out. Keep up the great work! – Claire
Aw I love that! Thank you so much for following along for all these years!!!
I think even outside the idea of getting married and having kids, there’s pressure to have it “all figured out” at an arbitrary appointed young age. We let our 17/18 year old selves decide on our life’s career and feel “too old” to jump ship and change paths later in life, which is what I did.
I was a solid ten years older than my classmates when I went back to school for my doctorate in physical therapy. Having already had a career and a company, the thing I came to value out of starting over again was perspective. I didn’t care about perfection. I got pregnant and had my first child during school and was provided even more of a reason to carry on my DGAF attitude. Was it nerve-racking at times? Yes. But I’m happier having taken the leap, squiring the student debt, and having my children when I was ready versus waiting on or hurrying at someone else’s appointed pace.
We need to offer ourselves grace to change paths that no longer serve us and courage to buck the norms of what we see around us. Easier said than done, but find someone who’s done it and you’ll find a kindred spirit. They are out there, living their best life.
I could not love this comment more – you are so right!!
We talked about this a lot in our podcast episode with Aliza Licht; we are always getting asked if pivoting a career in your thirties is crazy or not and we always say the same thing: ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! Love hearing your story and think it’s so much smarter to go back to school when you’re truly ready (a good friend of mine just did that; she is 30 and in school to be a PA!)
Just catching up on your blog posts and I could not love this more! I grew up in the south, so like many of the other comments I remember being in my 20’s at my fair share of weddings and baby showers etc as the single friend, thinking when will it be me? Between 25-30 my family dealt with my mothers unexpected illness. This is something that was obviously not on my timeline for life, but impacted many of my choices (career mobility, relationships, and friendships). As someone else mentioned I’m grateful to have been able to be in a position to make choices for myself and my family at the time that I would never take back. All this to say I will be getting married in a few months at 35 and recently finished business school in hopes of undertaking a career change! I do hope that children will be in our future, but at this point I do not feel rushed because I can see that “my timeline” for things doesn’t really matter anyway and I believe there are all types of ways to create a family. I can honestly say I have never been happier and never been further “off course” from the imaginary timeline I set for myself at 18 or 22 or 25 or even 30.
Thank you so much for sharing your story – and “timeline!” Chelsea – loved reading this!