After the ball drops and glasses stop clinking, when the hangover fades and the wave of the new year inspires for better goals, the dread of another birthday looms over me like a dark cloud in a shape of a clock quietly ticking as it creeps closer.
“Oh my God, I’ll be 28 this year!” I texted my sister one morning in January, as if it’s news to both of us. Of course I’d be 28, that’s how math works. That’s how age works. Even Benjamin Button had to be subject to it, although his body did math backwards.
Growing up, I’ve been led to believe that 30 is (one of) the big number(s). Older women would make jokes about “not being in the calendar anymore” when they hit 32 – since a month has 31 days at the most. It’s when things start to go downhill…
Most of my friends talked about goals. I want to have this when I’m 25. Be that when I’m 27. Then finish all of these when I’m 30. Travel. Weddings. Kids. Businesses. Degrees. Licenses. The goals are different but the timeline is always the same, and most lists end at 30. Or 35 at the most.
I’m no different. I have a “travel bucket list before 30” listed above my desk. I keep a running list of “things to do before 30” in my private journal. I think of the goals I want to reach by the time I hit 30.
That’s in two years.
Every time I check on these lists, I feel like a failure. I’ve only probably crossed off two or three out of the hundred things I told myself I should do. I want to hit pause. Stop the clock. Maybe even rewind. I need more time!
Then I thought about why I am so obsessively afraid of 30. Why do I feel it necessary to do all these fun, exciting, independent things before I start a new decade? Even if I stop thinking of other people’s journey and not compare them to my own, what is it with 30?
As if it was a sign from the universe, my period tracker app reminded me that my bloody buddy arrives tomorrow.
If I could come up with a list of 30 reasons why 30 is such a deadline, the words “biological clock” would be written in big, bold, bloody letters thirty times.
Is there a ritual I can do to pause it? Like standing in front of a mirror in a dark room with a lit candle in one hand and my favourite brand of birth control in the other, saying the words “Carrie” three times before clicking my heels. Then I’m good for another three years.
Or is there some sort of Daylight Saving Time we can observe for women who desire motherhood, but know full well they are not yet ready to spring forward to the responsibilities just yet? Time still moves forward, but the uterus hibernates for a set time, saving your eggs and your periods.
The Venn Diagram of the things I want to do before I have mini versions of me running around, and the things I won’t be able to do until those mini versions grow old enough to fend for themselves will be a circle.
Perfectly round like the clock that silently ticks, watching me year after year. Waiting for that day my female body becomes a host to a new generation. For the day I miss a period, and not worry (or be ashamed) about the choice I’d make.