Today was a hallmark birthday for me. I turned an age that the numerology folk call the master number. The master number is one where both digits in your age are the same. Such as 11, 22, and for me, 33. It's hard to believe that I am 33. What happened to Sweet 16? I remember that day like it was today. Except my 16th birthday was not the day after a U.S. Election. My mind trips at the thought that I'm now old enough to be the mother of a 16-year-old had I been 16 and pregnant.
Every birthday has been different but this one was bittersweet. The first thing that was unique about it was how tearful I almost got when telling co-workers that yes, it was my birthday and not an attempt by the pranksters trying in good fun to get management to buy me lunch. On the surface my life is full and fulfilling. There are many things I'm grateful for. I don't want to be 16 or 21 or 25 again. What made me reflect more and celebrate less today was the reminder of the life stage I am now in. When my mother was my age she had a 10 and five-year-old. She had been married a dozen years already, and she and my father were homeowners for the third. So understanding the vast lifestyle difference between my mother and I at 33, had my heart mourning my birthday.
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Despite how much things have changed there still is an innate sense in the world of the right time to be living a certain way. People don't marry as young as they did back in the 1950s, 1960s, and even the 1970s. Still, to realize how unrecognizable my life is compared to my mother is daunting. Many of my fellow 30-something friends are single and child free so the social pressure is off. Even friends and colleagues who are married with kids and share my generation are hip and fun and don't pressure me either. My parents and relatives have never ever asked when I will settle down with someone to create a family of my own. So again, there is no pressure on me. Pop culture actually celebrates the liberated single. I came of age in the Sex and the City era. Even then, Charlotte was my favorite modern woman archetype. She was the socialite who was the most committed to being committed to the white picket fence existence. Like Charlotte, I always wanted kids.