This Is The Dawning

I’ve never really been one of those “my clock is ticking” girls.  I like to think it’s because I’m very grounded and understanding of the fact that the Universe probably knows how things are supposed to shake down and thus I patiently wait for the pieces to fall where they may.

But in reality it’s mostly that it takes far too much effort getting all up in a tizzy about things which I have no control over – like other people falling for me.

And as I approach this next birthday (less than sixty days and counting) I feel like I am totally owning who I am.  It’s like 30 is the age that I was always supposed to be.  While other people feared 30, wondering if they were where they “planned to be” at this point in life I rather embraced it.

That’s sort of how I’ve gotten away with not feeling the pressure.  In high school I planned out so many aspects of my life to come, foolishly thinking at age 17 I knew what I wanted for the next 60 years.  As soon as I realized that the life I planned wasn’t actually gong to be what I wanted, I made it a point to never really let myself mentally settle into any routine.

While my friend were dating and marrying and having babies, forging careers and opening businesses and buying houses, graduating school and creating names for themselves and moving away, I was floating along in a very happy but very not tied down existence.  I suppose in my mind 30 was going to be the year I’d finally start settling into entertaining any thoughts of a future.  Just entertaining the thought mind you, not actually putting it into practice.

Until the past few weeks.

Sitting at the birthday table
Photo Credit: Getty Images – John Dowland

It isn’t just the woman who heatedly informed me that I needed to start thinking about having kids NOW if I wanted to enjoy them at all or be a good enough Mom to not be “too old.”  And it isn’t the shrinking pool of available bachelors kicking around the Portland area (I used to joke that the good ones are all taken or gay…it’s not so much of a joke anymore!)

It’s the realization that somehow at 30 there’s a different mindset in the men I date.  Somehow it’s either the 22 year olds who want to “date an older woman” without going too far into cougar territory or the 38 year old that’s finally decided that they now want to start entertaining serious thoughts about their future.

I surveyed a group of guys ranging in age from 24-38, and the answer was resoundingly affirmative that men around the age of 30 do not date women around the age of 30.  Sure, they WILL date them, but when asked idealistically what they preferred it was dating a woman who was at least 3-5 years younger than them.  Yet most of the men in their early 30’s preferred dating even younger, 28 being the average “high point.”

Problem with this when you are a 30 year old woman who is finally starting to entertain thoughts of the future is you are either dating young guys who have no thoughts of that or men in their late 30’s that are hoping to get started on marriage and kids as soon as possible.

I don’t think I’m ok with either of those situations.

How about you – do you prefer to date older or younger?

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