I found an old photograph of my mom. I was unloading boxes with my father in his new home and he laid a pile of photo albums next to me. "What should we do with these?" he asked.
My father is notorious for throwing things away without thinking twice. "I need to simplify." he will say. I can't blame him, losing her was the hardest thing he has ever faced. These days whatever he thinks will make him happy gets my vote. With time he has learned to ask us before tossing something that could be considered a 'keepsake'.
I turned 30 this month. In the picture my mother is 26 and pregnant with my older sister. The day after my 30th birthday I read an article on medium about another 30 year old woman in San Francisco who is injecting herself with gonadal-stimulating hormones and freezing her eggs.
Is this what I am supposed to be doing? I thought as I tried not to cry.
It's no surprise to probably any woman reading this that I imagined myself married by now. Listen, it's not like I have spent my post college years focused on finding love. I took the career route. "You can't stop me", I thought as I boarded a plane to New York City to chase my dreams at 22. But of course I have thought about it, a lot, actually.
Life just seems more fun with someone by your side. Most of my friends are married, some have children. Those that aren't married seem to be living the modern couple life-- sharing rent with a significant other and talking of marriage but not, you know, "trying to rush anything".
"That's the result of societal pressure" one man I loved said to me.
Is that really it? Am I just conforming? Or do I really want that?
It's scary, turning 30. Don't get me wrong, it is also liberating, it is almost as if I have been waiting for my 30's to get here since I was in kindergarten. I was practically born 30, an old soul. But it is terrifying. I am a single woman who needs to start thinking about freezing her eggs and getting tested for the breast cancer gene. Yikes.
I don't really think about kids. I mean I do. I love children. When I see pictures of my mother I think, "What a gift that I look like her, I'll be an adorable pregnant person." But I don't spend my evenings imagining myself running around the house chasing after three year olds. That seems really advanced. Like adult stuff..and remember, I am only 30.
And then I see pictures of me, at age 3 and some sort of excited weird warm feeling comes over me. Oh my gosh, what if I got to have one of these little people? What if I could give her all of this love I have inside of me?
And then there is the freezing of my eggs. Is that what I have to do to have that? Does the reality of being a modern day single woman mean that I have to, alone in my apartment, inject myself with hormones and put my eggs in a cooler to ensure that I can have children? Or is it more simple than that? A solution. Technology. Just evolution without so much emotion?
I think I need a cocktail.
And then there is the divorce, and the infidelity and Ashley Madison. And I vow to never get married because I refuse to ever let someone do that to me. What if I get sick like my mom did, will they leave?
Will anyone really ever promise to be there and then deliver? Are men of my generation capable of that? Do I even need it?
I just don't know.
Maybe I should freeze my eggs just incase.
Crap, societal pressure again. No? Yes?
It's really foggy up here in my 30's. The hope and the fear and the excitement and the heartache. The choosing someone. The discovering you were wrong. The having to start over. The learning to forgive yourself. The old photos of my mother. Time.
Do you think I could just call her, just once? I would be brief if that means I could ask her just a few things. Only a few. I would say, "Mom, do you think I should freeze my eggs? Is that really necessary? Do you think someone will love me soon? I know that I don't need anyone, but it would be nice. Is this what it feels like to be a woman?".
I guess this is what it means to be a woman. The joy and the fear. The excitement and the apprehension. The then and the now. The now and the what if?
These are just some of the many thoughts that come with being a woman. It's still pretty exciting even with the freezing of the eggs and the marking of single on my tax forms. It's all about perspective, right? There is still so much more to come.
and I guess, at the very least, I'll always have the photograph.