First thing—I am so grateful for this super strong cup of coffee I brewed in my brand new coffee pot!!! It is the little things….
On to the script: So if you haven’t figured it out, I am from the South. There are things I love about being southern bred, some things I can take or leave. Either way, being a southerner has shaped who I am. Now before I really get started, this may happen no matter your geographical origin. I can’t speak for the Midwest, East Coast ( although I lived there) or West. All I can speak from is my view and experience as a Southerner.
By age 30, many Southerners have children and/or are married. Sometimes it is part of God’s plan for their lives. However, more than often than not, the family is produced because of the thought process, “well, I have reached the have kids/get married” part of life, also affectionately called The Timeline.
Let’s talk about this good old Timeline. What do I mean? I am talking about the social benchmarks people use to measure whether or not they are progressing in this thing called life. It is the “I need to be married by 25, have kids by 28 or I am not doing life correctly” type of thinking. I recently rejoined Facebook after a five year hiatus. I have seen people post their wedding pictures, only for people to comment “now it is time to start a family”. I have seen where people changed their relationship status and if they are over 30, people would leave comments such as “it’s about time”.
The Timeline is an unspoken ( sometimes spoken ) rule that you MUST hit such benchmarks such as marriage and kids by a certain age, or something is wrong. At best you are just selfish, and at worst no one wants you or you are gay. Now someone from the South may not verbalize that they may have some “concern”. However, comments such as “bless your heart” or the questions “when are you going to have some kids/where is your man or woman?” will be a dead giveaway. In the South, it is very much part of the culture to rank family over education and career. To be honest, If we never left Arkansas more than likely my life would be totally different. It is no telling how many kids I would have. Its a fact you conform to the culture around you.
People have the right to live their lives the way they want to. When I see comments floating around social media such as those mentioned above, it tells me that people really don’t respect an individual’s choice not to follow the timeline that so many people conform to. It also tells me that people unconsciously think that people should automatically conform to a totem pole of values. For some, getting married and having kids “at the right age” is their highest accomplishment. Since they have produced a family, they have a sense of purpose and that purpose is the highest purpose you can ever attain. If that is your train of thought, or better yet, your family is in fact your God given purpose, then do you—but don’t push that on other people through nice nasty comments. Children and marriage isn’t the end all be all for everyone. Some people’s purpose does not revolve around a marriage or family AT ALL.
I just want to challenge people to really try and respect individuals who chose not to live their life traditionally and vice versa. If you are happy where you are, be happy! Don’t rain on someone’s parade with side comments just because they may not be on the path that you think they should be on because of their age.