I’ve been having a hard time lately. I’ve had a hard time reconciling my ideas of what my life should be like with what it actually it. I’m overwhelmed by all the things I am not. I had a very specific notion of what my life would be like, and specifically what it would be like now. I’m thirty-four. I work at a job I don’t like. I rent my apartment. I don’t have kids. I’m still not over my parents’ divorce. I don’t know if my husband and I are on the same page about the future.

In my twenties I had the luxury of looking at people who were more successful than me and thinking, well maybe in time I’ll be like that. I held onto the view that people just keep on improving with age. But that’s not true. Now time has passed and all those things I’m not can’t be blamed on time. I didn’t go to an ivy league school, I didn’t work for the UN, I didn’t get in with a high paying company, I didn’t write a book, I didn’t have kids. I know there’s still time but it’s harder now to change direction. Now there’s less time.

At our last fertility appointment, the doctor assured me that the good news is that I’m within the fertile age bracket. You’re 34 great, the fertile period is until 35. I felt reassured. Then I remembered, I want two kids. By the time we are successful, even if things go well, I will be a “mature mom” with my first. Admittedly, sometimes I look at the women who are older than me at the clinic and think smugly to myself how good it is that we started when we did. I think to myself, no wonder they’re at a fertility clinic at their age. And yet, I’m 34, I’m still not pregnant. It will still take time, then I need to actually go through nine months of pregnancy and have the child. If we have another that will still be a couple of years after…

We started trying at 32. I felt proud that we’d left enough time.  We didn’t wait too long. The doctor said age definitely wasn’t the issue. This was true but it might be in the future. I don’t keep improving with age. Not with fertility, not with my career, not with my mental health. Everything just seems to keep getting harder and harder. I don’t have the boundless energy and optimism I once had. Now I know that things don’t always work out. I know that I’m not the cream of the crop. I know that time just keeps passing and I keep standing still.

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