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Children Having Children

Starting from around age four, I used to slap on my mother’s only-in-New-Jersey clip-on earrings and shove both of my thighs through a single leg of my boxers—creating a pencil-skirt militant enough to make even Hillary Clinton do a double-take. I was going for a look that screamed “streetwalker…but with a great health insurance plan and her very own corner office!” I would then parade around my house declaring that I was Oprah Winfrey and demand my poor family members to sit down to an in-depth interview.

“All pre-approved questions! It’ll be great PR!”

“The lighting’s like a dream, you’ll look twenty-five again!”

“Come on, it’s sweeps-week, for Christ’s sake!”

Though my family failed to see the budding dynamo of daytime talk in their midst, they saw—with great ease—the years of inevitable therapy in my future if I continued to question which side I, as the interviewer, should sit (“I really do look better from the left”).  Hoping to diverge my interests elsewhere, my parents introduced me to a series of age-appropriate activities—to no avail: I flat-out ignored my first play-date for most of the afternoon; I won the never-caught-a-single-ball award at the end of the T-ball season and didn’t even deign to attend an informational Boy Scouts meeting due to my lack of interest in “eating leaves”. Clearly, I’ve been tirelessly chasing maturity from a very young age.

A few weeks ago, while doing anything but homework, I was assaulting the newsfeeds of various social media websites. I was developing early symptoms of carpal tunnel from feverishly scrolling through misuses of “there”, “their” and “daddy never loved me” when I was taken aback by pictures posted by two high school acquaintances: one of an ultrasound and the other of a new engagement ring. Casting away the thought of how blissful it must have been to live in the time when high school remained firmly in the past, I stared at the computer screen baffled. Had the reality of adulthood finally crept upon me? Why was the baby in the ultrasound a spitting image of my grandfather? And why would anyone accept a ring with a diamond that looks like cubic zirconia’s trashy cousin?

English writer, Cyril Connolly, once said, “There is no more somber an enemy of good art than a [crib] in the hall”. Or as my mother, in simpler terms, once said, “Yes, I’m going to another John Mayer concert—spend your twenties having children and tell me how fun it is!” Hence, I don’t intend to even entertain the idea of marriage or children until aged forty. I want to experience enough of life to have lessons to teach my children. I want to be in enough realistic relationships to know when the right one enters my life. I want to live my own life—and preferably one free of John Mayer concerts while I’m at it.

We have our entire lives to get old. We’ll all settle down, find a spouse, go bald and get fat in due time—so, what’s the rush? I see more and more people my age planning their weddings and choosing baby names, willingly devoting their young lives to another human being and I have to wonder: do you even know who you are yet? The differences between who I was a year ago and who I’ll be a year from now is enough to prevent me from making any decisions greater in scope than whether or not to wear deodorant on a daily basis.

I’m aware of the irony of yearning for maturity as a child and shirking the idea of commitments as an emerging adult but I intend to fiercely enjoy the independence and spontaneity of my twenties: the only time in life when being self-centered is more-or-less acceptable. Maybe I’m afraid of getting older. Maybe I’m bitter that no one wants to have my child. Or maybe I just understand that my retainer-breath in the morning will ensure that I stay single for a long time. Regardless, the tables have turned and the four-going-on-forty year old within me is suddenly—and voluntarily­­a step or two behind an increasing number of my peers.

Someone call Winfrey, it would make a great interview.

Posted by on April 12, 2013. Filed under Opinions & Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.