Dating in Your 30s When You Want Children

How do you date when you’re 34 and you know you want children? Not when you have the feeling of ‘well, if I find the right guy and the timing lines up,’ but the unexplainable feeling deep in your gut that motherhood is a life experience that is a very much a part of you, even if you haven’t gotten close to experiencing it. Well, I’m 34, I know I want children, and I can tell you it’s tough.

It’s tough to keep this deep desire hidden, closeted away because you know that  rationally, it’s weird/awkward/too soon and quite frankly, somewhat unfair, to bring up kids and family in the first six months of a new relationship. That’s a huge question to bring to the table when you’re just starting to get to know someone. Obviously, the very basic question of if you both want to marry and have children should be addressed. But you can’t quite talk about it at length without feeling like an intense weirdo. At least I can’t.

So how can you let the natural evolution of getting to know someone happen? How can you just play it cool? Is there even a point to playing it cool?

A few of my close friends have children or are pregnant, and for so long, our life paths were linked up – we could commiserate when we hated our jobs, or celebrate when one of us got engaged – but now, things have shifted in a big way. I can’t understand what it’s like to be married for a few years and perhaps hit a snag, or what it’s like to experience that fugue state, first year of new motherhood.

Sometimes I wonder where I went wrong – how did I get to be 34 and so close to that danger zone when I know I want children? Thirty-seven is when fertility seems to decline in a major way (according to a good old Google search). Okay, let me be honest with myself. I do know what happened. I was in a six year long relationship and I let time slide, not quite realizing how all that time spent would affect my life down the line.

While people say “You have time!,” they don’t really get it. Sure, I have time to have a baby, but there’s all that other stuff that comes before baby – getting to know someone, letting your relationship evolve and finally getting to that point. And then, you hopefully want a year or two of experiencing married life without a new baby…so no, there isn’t time.

So, what does one do? All I know is that motherhood will be a part of my life. And if I don’t make it naturally in time, there are other options. Adopting and fostering are the two that come to mind.

I think about the idea of motherhood as a concept a lot lately. It can mean a lot of different things that aren’t conventional. It’s about taking care of someone – imparting knowledge, helping bring someone to their highest potential. And there’s a lot of ways to do that.

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How to Travel Into the Unknown World In Your Thirties

I’m writing this from Tokyo. It’s officially 2:30 am here.

I say “officially” because I just came in on a flight (two flights) from New York, and in my mind it’s 1:30 pm, so things are a little messed up right now. I was able to sleep on the flight for 8 hours (amazingly), but I can probably still sleep again now, even though my body thinks it’s the afternoon. I’m pretty adaptable like that.

So I’ll keep this brief.

This trip is something I’ve been planning for a few months now, and I kind of can’t believe I’m here. Literally, my mind doesn’t feel like my body is here. It’s a flaw that I have that when good things happen to me, I sometimes can’t accept them. I’m working on that. Also, technology is so advanced now that I can connect to anyone through my computer in milliseconds and not be so far away. Well, I am far away, but it doesn’t FEEL like it. Of course, there’s that whole language barrier thing, but I didn’t have to deal with it much at the airport today- I’ll encounter that way more tomorrow when I journey outside into the unknown in daylight- so it doesn’t yet feel like language is an issue. The flight to Tokyo from Chicago was 13 hours, so I know I’m not in Kansas anymore, but sleeping through most of the trip made Tokyo feel like a hop, skip and jump away.

I spent the past few months kind of unsure about getting here. I’ve never been to Asia, and I haven’t gone on a big international trip for more than 6 years. And I certainly haven’t gone on a solo international trip before. It’s funny, the whole point of this trip was to go to this completely foreign country all alone and explore with no plan, and be free. But then, a bit before I left, I began to feel anxious about going alone and having no particular plan. I mean, I know where I’m staying and have a trip outline, and I’m meeting some people here and there, but I haven’t filled my days full of manic activity- I just kind of want to be solo in a foreign world.

However, even though I fly more than 50 times a year and I still felt mildly anxious leading up to this particular trip- so I know travel fear can happen to anyone. I think this kind of fear stems from fear of the unknown. I like feeling prepared, and my plan to let go of things and remain less planned out caused me anxiety. Worries popped up in my head about about not bringing the right items and forgetting something Very Important and not knowing the language and missing some Very Important Sightseeing Places. I worried about feeling judged for not seeing things that were Absolute Must Sees.

But you know what? None of that matters. I’m here. I made it. I took a 13 hour flight, plus a 2 hour one plus a layover. And no one who matters is judging me…except for myself- the harshest judge of all, of course. And all that ever mattered to me was to stay open and loving and in flow. I just wanted to let go and let life come in. So I’m damn well going to do that as best I can. And of course I’ll probably feel afraid again, and things might be weird and foreign sometimes. But I have to remember that it’s not about the plans or the places. It’s not about the Perfect Itinerary or the Perfect Day. It’s not about the Must Sees or Must Dos. It’s about being in this very different place at this very particular point in my life right this second. It’s about breathing the foreign Tokyo air into my lungs and seeing how it feels. It’s about going. It’s about staying. It’s about the new. It’s about this moment.

So don’t be afraid to travel. Don’t be afraid at all.  You may feel fear but it’s okay. Go anyway. Grab the moment. And let go of everything else.

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I have no idea what this subway sign means. But I like it.

Why Global Entry Will Rock Your Traveling World in Your Thirties

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: If you fly a good amount (more than 4 or 5 times a year) and don’t yet have Global Entry, apply right now!! It’s amazing, and will save you so much time and hassle at the airport. I promise you will love it.

I use my Global Entry everywhere I go, including domestic locations! It’s not just for global travel- having Global Entry INCLUDES having TSA Precheck!

Once again, because this is a major selling point for everyone, including myself- Global Entry INCLUDES TSA Precheck!!! This inclusion is a wonderful feature. TSA Precheck is $85 for 5 years, and Global Entry is $100 for 5 years. Here’s why Global Entry is a WAY better option than TSA precheck:

For $15 more TOTAL over the span of 5 years, with Global Entry you:

  • Will be able to go through the very fast and easy precheck line at security NINETY FIVE PERCENT of the time, versus sixty to seventy five percent of the time if you only have TSA Precheck.
  • Breeze through customs at almost any international airport on a special super short Global Entry line versus waiting forever in the customs line with TSA Precheck (because you don’t get any international perks with Precheck).
  • Get a government issued Global Entry ID card with your photo that you can use as your ID anywhere, especially at the airport. (It’s always nice to have an extra piece of government issued photo ID, plus, in my opinion, they treat you better at the airport when they see you have that special VIP card.)

When you have Global Entry and you go through the TSA precheck line, you:

  • Breeze through a faster security line and get to your gate faster!
  • Avoid those stupid millimeter wave machines where you have to put your arms up!(We don’t know what that radiation really does and I like avoiding it).
  • Leave your shoes on!
  • Leave your liquids in your bag!
  • Leave your computer in your bag!
  • Go without those silly plastic bins that are always missing! (at most airports)

Here’s how to apply for Global Entry. It’s very easy.

I swear I don’t work for them and am getting no ad money out of this. I wish. I just love my Global Entry so much.

Also, here’s another blogpost I wrote last year about Global Entry, in case you want more info: Why You Should Get Global Entry In Your Thirties.

Enjoy traveling like the rockstar that you are! And have fun!

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Line next to me in Vancouver airport without Global Entry

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My line in Vancouver airport. No one ahead of me and I waited only one minute 🙂

Ambition in Your Thirties

Do you think your career ambition has declined in your 30s? According to a study by the Families and Work Institute, which this article Why You’re Losing Ambition As You Age elaborated on, workers begin losing their ambition to get promoted or seek out more responsibilities around age 35. The researchers attributed this decline to people having children.

It makes sense – having children is like having a second job. Duh. Your time and energy is devoted to raising this small person (or people).

But what if you don’t get married or have children? Does your career ambition also decline in your mid-30s?

Though I’m not yet 35, I’m pretty close, and while I don’t think my ambition has declined, it has changed. It’s morphed from me seeking external measures of success to me seeking a deep desire to be fulfilled in my work. Since I’m a writer, that means pursuing interesting ideas and projects for stories and working with people who share a similar vision. Making six figures and owning a home is still exciting to me, but I see those things as secondary benefits to doing something in my life that feels uniquely suited to me and that benefits people.

I’ve also seen this shift in many of my 30-something friends. I have friends in corporate jobs who are considering opening up their own businesses, presumably more fulfilling, but initially less lucrative. I also have friends who have decided to only work part-time as they raise their children.

So what do you think? Has your ambition for wealth, power, career success lessened in your 30s?

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Happy Mothers Day!

First off, I want to say Happy Mothers Day to my amazing, beautiful mother! I love you so much!

Second of all, I want to acknowledge and give a shout out to all the mothers out there who are working hard to raise healthy, happy children. I know it’s a lot of work and can be more than a full time job.

In my thirties, I see more of my friends than ever becoming mothers. My Facebook page is in baby boom mode- it’s as if suddenly at least half of everyone I know is pregnant or raising a baby right now. Luckily, I’ve felt my tolerance towards and even love of baby photos on Facebook increase ten-fold from when I was in my twenties, so it’s good timing.

I’m just coming from visiting a friend of mine in North Carolina, where I was staying with her and her two and a half year old. I knew her way before she got pregnant and followed her journey through that and have watched her baby grow into an adorable, amazing toddler. I know how much her life has changed as a result of having a child. So many things have changed from the simple…
-We have to make sure restaurants are kid friendly if we take her child with us (booster seats, other parents who understand, easy to eat food.)
-Pushing a stroller can be an uphill battle (literally).
-Car seats take up lots of space
– Nap time in the house is quiet time for all of us (or else)
-Early bed times
-Early wake up times
-Way less alcohol

And then the complex:
-I asked her if she was going to visit New York this summer and it just made no sense and was to hard to visit with a two year old- even though she loves New York and used to always visit.
-She wants a house with a back yard and lots of space for her child- city living doesn’t work for her anymore.
-Her entire daytime routine is extremely structured in order to give her toddler specific structure (early wake up, grandma comes over, nap time, play time, early bedtime, etc).
-Kids need to be watched at almost all times. It can be a 24 hour job.

I give mothers everywhere extreme kudos for all the work they do and totally understand that being a mother is a full-time job that’s a lot of hard work with no pay (not in dollars, anyway). You lovely ladies deserve lots of love and kudos!

One last side note for all the amazing ladies reading this who’ve chosen not to have kids- your choice is so absolutely valid and I completely support that too! I have many friends who’ve made this choice and I fully support them. Not everyone wants kids, and that’s beyond okay! Have a great day anyway 🙂

I love you!

I love you!

Unwinding During the Busiest Times In Your Thirties

I’m just coming off of the busiest and most hectic time of year in my line of work. The auto show season has come to a close and many tradeshows I work with are popping up and winding down. Yet my mind still whirls. It’s hard to come down from both the highs and the lows of being extremely busy and mildly crazed.

I remember one tactic I used to have to handle work stress when I felt like I had no time to calm down was to try to find a small amount of time in the middle of the day- sometimes just 10 minutes- and let my mind go completely blank and peaceful. This wasn’t part of the standard meditations I do- it was a separate time or two during the day sometimes during a quick work break. I’d just take a “vacation” in the midst of the busyness. My mind would let go.

This practice has been too long forgotten from my days, but I thought of it again when I was having an anxious moment at the airport yesterday. I was thinking about all the tasks I had yet to do, even though there were less than usual. I hadn’t gotten enough sleep, and an annoying negative loop was playing in my head. And then I suddenly remembered my 10 minute “vacation” practice of thinking about nothing in the midst of stressful times. So I stared around the airport and said ‘screw all these tasks i’m thinking about. Screw them all.’ And I simply smiled and observed the terminal.

Nothing happened. The world didn’t end. I slept on the flight. The tasks happened later and it was no big deal. When you find yourself needing to feel tense and busy out of habit, try taking a ‘vacation’ from wherever you are. Say ‘screw it’ to all the tasks and worries in your mind for at least a few minutes and try to smile and simply go blank. Just observe.

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Don’t let the habit of feeling busy become a need. You never need to feel tense. Just let go.  It’ll get easier every time.

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