We were talking about the likelihood that friends of Raj's who are dating would get married. I was giving it a much higher percentage chance than Raj was. He explained that, the particulars of this couple aside, guys don't actually want to get married.
Wait, what now?
No, they DO want to get married, it's just that they'd like to put it off. A lot. Ideally, they would be 26 and single forever. Or for 20 years or so to properly enjoy it, then get married. But they cannot deny the reality that time is linear, they continue to age, and priorities shift toward marriage and family once (if) they accept that they are no longer 26 and never will be again.
I discussed this with some other married or long-term coupled women who agreed with my take: being 26 and single forever sounds exhausting. Sure, being young and single was fun. There are parts of it that we miss. But on the whole, we are happy to have the relationship aspect of our lives pretty well settled. Not that there isn't effort or thought that goes into our relationships, but at least the Who part is figured out and there's none of the agnoizing about Does he like me? Should I call him? What does this MEAN?!?! that we do not miss.
I actually like being in my 30s. I feel like I've aged into my personality. That said, I'm not at all anxious to enter my 40s. In fact, if I could stop time for a decade or two, I could happily pick this. Married, childless, and 35 is pretty great. I'm sure eventually I'd be ready to move on, but I feel pretty confident that it would take several years. It's not that I don't want to have kids. I do. I'd just like to put it off. For a long time. I like our life so much and enjoy the freedom that we have to up and do things on a moment's notice. To travel with only a couple of backpacks. To sleep. Sleeping is my favorite.
Unfortunately, just like Raj couldn't stay 26, I can't stay 35. There are biological realities. Even if we go the adoption route, there's the matter of how old we want to be when we enter into parenthood.
How do you know when is the right time? (Please note: Raj and I are in total agreement that right now is not it.) Biological clock aside, what motivates people to upend their lives when they really like the lives they're already living? When it aint broke, essentially. Or does it really all boil down to time? And if you could stay at one age or in one phase of life, would you? What would you choose?