Last night a childhood friend posted a status on Facebook that said something along the lines of. "Apparently 25 means being surrounded by engaged and pregnant people." This status had over 100 likes and 20 some comments that said things like, "we're having more fun!" and "follow your dreams and have more fun doing it!" and my personal favorite "27 looks like divorce" (OUCH!). While this is not the first statement I have seen, read, or heard from a fellow female my age, there is still that tiny part of me that questions my life choices and whispers, "Am I doing it all wrong?"
I can't help but feel shamed by the 11,000 Buzzfeed articles about what I should be doing in my twenties. Because I have not travelled to 50 different countries, started my own business, learned to play an instrument, and mastered a foreign language apparently I am a failure and shall be placed in the shameful corner of women that are doing it wrong.
And then again I can only assume that these publicly proclaimed exclamations of having WAY more fun without a husband or small humans to tote around stems from a similar place of insecurity. Constant relationship changes to "Engaged!" or "Married!" alongside adorable (okay, probably annoying) explosions of baby pictures is probably like a smack in the feminine face - with a similar feeling message. You're doing it wrong.
So that's the catch, right? No matter what, as a woman, you always feel like you aren't right, that your decisions are flawed, and that you are failing social media and the rest of the world by either having or not having weddings and cute babies by age 27.
Here's my two cents: We have been sold a lie. From babyhood on, as females, we have been told one giant, enormous lie. We cannot, I am sorry to say, have it all. No one can. This seems to be particularly hard to stomach for our generation because we really just thought we could make it happen - but we cannot. History and society and culture for all of time has dictated that no matter what women will probably feel at least a tiny bit guilty or shamed or wrong if they choose to work instead of have a family, wait to have a family, or have a family and still work. Women are also likely to feel judged or less than in the eyes of the women listed above should they choose the opposite. The women who have families in their twenties or choose to stay at home with their kids will probably feel a tiny bit guilty or shamed or wrong for not being better "feminists".
You see, there is no winning. All we can do is support one another and let go of the who is right and who is wrong.
Despite the little nag of insecurity I felt after viewing the said Facebook status, mostly I was just inspired to ponder the changing definition of "fun". While traveling, building a career, getting drinks with friends, and living with girls instead of the same boy for forever and ever do sound great - my kind of fun has morphed into a walk around the neighborhood with my incredibly spirited and sweet 2.5 year old son. Fun is staring at my daughter's face for like 45 minutes straight and marveling at her pure and utter perfection. And mostly, fun is carving out a couple of quiet hours post 8 o'clock to sit and enjoy my husband on our back deck.
Is my fun more important than anyone else's? Nope. Does my fun sound horrible to someone else? Probably. But I've taught myself to love the life I have 90% of the time (because, I am human, and sometimes being a wife and mom sounds far less preferable to the independent life of a single woman in her 20's). We cannot have it all, we cannot be it all. We just need to be okay with that. At least 90% of the time...