I rented "Grey Gardens" and am reading "Fear of Flying"—no wonder I’m so confused about what it means to be a woman! At 32 and 9/10ths years old, should I concentrate on procreating? Should I feel guilty for my jetset, unmarried lifestyle? Is it okay to enjoy life and travel? Am I on a slippery slope to spinsterhood? And is being a spinster all that bad? Will I regret not having children? Or having them? Am I being selfish for not getting married and having lots of babies? Would it be more selfish still to create children in my own image?
I love my life! I love traveling on horseback through the Brazilian outback and climbing the crumbling stones of Petra. I love champagne on the Riviera. I love my two cats—but then there’s all this confounded social pressure. Does the fact that I am single and have two cats automatically mean that I’m one raccoon away from becoming Little Edie? I wish I could contact my 40-year-old self and ask her what I’m supposed to do at 32 and 9/10ths.
Because this is the time! The crossroads! It’s babies or bust! You aren’t supposed to mess around with bad boys at 32 and 9/10ths. You’re supposed to be interviewing for the title of life partner. Time, TIME, is of the essence! At 32 you’re running out of it. That’s what they say. Cruel time is about to stomp all over your youth and ovaries. Not even Oil of Olay can save you from wrinkles and a slowing metabolism now. But would it be the worst thing for me to proceed as is? Going out to parties at night, traveling like crazy month to month, and not sowing those all-important seeds?
And what is even scarier—what if I DO sow those all-important seeds? I’m terrified of giving birth, of having this parasite feeding off me and rearranging all my organs inside me. And of caring for a rather uninteresting and totally demanding real doll who doesn’t even have the ability to speak or go to a toilet for the first two years. TWO years! Yeegads!
I just don’t know what my life is supposed to be about. I mean, I know what it’s supposed to be about, but I don’t know if that’s me. My friends and family don’t help—their stories run the gamut: young divorcees with children, single women with sperm-donor babies and adopted babies from other countries, fabulous second and third and fourth marriages, abusive husbands, children with mental disabilities, single women in their forties living la vida loca, swingers, sex pots and even a couple good marriages, some with kids and some without. All of these people are either happy or miserable without any defining formula to it. What seemed promising became lousy, and what seemed ridiculous became sublime.
So what do I do? What am I supposed to do? I wish I had more time. I wish I could just wait and see, just go with the flow. But women aren’t allowed to do that. Women have to think about these things at age 32 and 9/10ths. Whatever will be MUST be right now, at least it has to be in the works. I feel all this pressure. Stress! And why? Simply because my birthday is around the corner and I will be 33.
And that only gives me a few years left to figure this problem out. I don’t like babies but I love children. Babies scare me—they are just so helpless. And what about marriage? Will I be satisfied by one man for the rest of my life? And yes, I’m talking about SEX SEX SEX. What about passion? Romance? Will they last forever with the right man? What if I can’t find the perfect man? What if he doesn’t exist? What if he starts out perfect and changes? What am I supposed to do—have babies with an imperfect man?
Oh I am sooo confused. And worried and stressed. I want my carefree life to continue, but now it is possibly at the expense of something, of my ovarian duties. And what if I shirk them? What if I end up with a house full of fabulous foster children who need my love? Is that okay? I am just terrified that my forty-year-old self is going to want to seriously kick my ass based on the things I do or do not do right now.
I know there are no right answers, and that just makes it worse.