When I was a kid, if you asked me where I saw myself at 26, I would instantly say "Oh, I'll be a wife and a mommy."
Ask me at 20, and I would have given the exact same answer. Today at 26, I am not a wife, and I am not a mother. I am career driven, and like many of my friends--male and female--this holiday season we sit with grandparents or even our parents, they will look us squarely in the face and ask us, "When do you plan on getting married and having kids ... you're getting older you know?"
And we will have no answer for them.
While many of my colleagues are parents and have beautiful children, their path is slightly different from my own. Which prompts me to ask about myself and other single, childless friends: Have we decided to trade in the baby pacifiers, and play dates for exotic trips and business meetings? If we base our decisions on the ideologies of marriages from yesteryear, we are all overdue for a life-time commitment.
I recently took a moment to sit back and think. I looked at all the women around me who are slightly older than I, maybe five years max and noticed it seems their careers have come first. I have many wonderfully talented and utterly beautiful female friends, not to mention my very handsome male friends who are well into their 30s, have no mate, nor even a significant other. But they do have an undying commitment to their career development.
In a brief conversation with a dear friend, who has been chasing her career since her early 20s and landed a wonderful position she has dreamed but that is only one step in the bigger picture, she talked about a recent date. The gentleman she was with said to her, "When you stop putting your career first, and start putting more energy toward your love life and a family, then you will get it."
As we grow older, become more successful and watch marriages around us fall apart, it seems easier to fight for your career and push matrimony to the back burner.
Dustin Young a 26-year-old behavioral therapist believes that "times are very different; people are more independent, especially when it comes to their careers as opposed to years ago, when men were seen as the sole bread winners and women were homemakers. (Today) women feel like they do not need to settle. As far as being single, I am single based on my own issues and faults. I'd rather not be with someone right now, because I don't feel like I am where I need to be mentally and financially. I don't even want to date, to be honest. I will date; I like spending time with women, but I don't want something serious. I can't put time and attention into someone else. That will steer me away from my ultimate goal, which is being successful.
For so many of us, we have begun to look at marriage as an optional achievement and a successful career as the ultimate goal. But down the line when it is all said and done, we'll have the career, we'll have the success but lack the love. The question then will have to be: Was it all worth it?
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