I used to think the term “biological clock” was a joke. There are some women who just know they were born to be mothers. I am not one of them. While I know that I want to have children, I never had a plan for when I would have kids, what I would name them, and what my future husband would do for a living. I thought the “clock” only meant that women who raced to the altar were suddenly and without warning, timed. These days, I am reconsidering not only my approach to the clock but also my approach to life.
My new awareness of my biological clock means I’m hyper-aware of time passing. As a person who used to only focus on putting one foot in front of the other, I’m suddenly getting anxiety over the years that remain between now and when I can no longer have children. I often feel as though I am the little white rabbit of Alice in Wonderland, “late for an important date” running around in circles trying to find a destination with a clock ticking that more resembles an episode of 24 than a simple pocket watch.
Right now, I am not in a place to even entertain having children or getting married, but I am feeling pressure to do both. Is it society’s expectations that cause me to feel this way? Or do I only have myself to blame?
I used to laugh at the jokes about the biological clock. “I’ll never be one of those women,” I would think. And that may be what I’ve been most wrong about. You get to an age when you realize how fragile life is and it’s a lesson that you can no longer ignore. It shifts focus away from the comfort of having plenty of time, to an urgency not to waste any.
The reality is that the only thing we have control over is our approach to life. Time will almost always betray you. There will never be enough of it to spend with your loved ones. Things will almost never happen when and how you want them to. But they will happen. There is a reason that patience is a virtue, why most things require blind faith, and why you can only get to a destination one step at a time.
I’m learning to be as forgiving of myself as I would to a friend. I do not look at any of my friends and consider them failures for any goals they have not yet met. I consider them beautiful, fabulous, strong, courageous and successful for doing the best that they can. Although I may not have experienced the milestones that my clock leads me to believe are important, I have achieved many things I am proud of. And even more importantly, I am still writing my own story; clock be damned!
Stephanie grew up in the Southernmost part of New Jersey. She works in customer service at a software company and is a pro at boardwalk arcade games.