Today I am 35 years old.
It’s such a strange feeling to be at an age that previously seemed so old. I have never felt younger and more alive. It seems that I am a contradiction of my own beliefs and that’s the way I like it.
For the last few months as I approached my 35th birthday, a milestone, I started to contemplate my life as bit more – as if traveling and blogging hadn’t fuelled my over rampant introspection enough.
The reason I left to travel was because of my age.
At 32 I had the financial means to travel or put a downpayment on a home.
I knew it was my last chance for one great adventure before I had to settle down and have children. I was afraid to lose my independence and this was one last act of selfish rebellion.
I had to do it before I had children, the next logical step in life.
I have really never wanted children.
But that clock would start ticking any time soon, right?
In Central America I met so many other women in their 30s all feeling the same thing. Finally at a point where they were comfortable with themselves and not ready to give it all up for a family.
I was no longer alone. Others felt the same way. And not just a few. There were many.
While age seemed to be such a big part of my life at home, it was invisible on the road. I had good friends both 15 years younger and older than I – friends because we had similar interests not simply because we were the same age.
That was over two years ago.
And while I still haven’t felt even a murmur of the fertility clock I know my time is running out. Before you protest I know there is still time, but years pass so quickly.
I admire people who are brave enough to announce they don’t want children. I’m not there yet because I don’t know.
In 3-5 years I won’t have that choice. And that scares me. What if I make the wrong decision?
I’m running out of time.
I always knew my life would be unconventional, I’m cursed with becoming bored far too easily.
But there are always consequences and mine may be that I never have a family. But at this point I’m okay with that because my life is now better than it was 2 years ago, 5 years ago even ten years ago.
I had no idea my life would turn out this way.
Although I guess saying “turn out” is really misleading because it is far from over.
I feel so lucky for everything that has passed in the last few years and proud of myself for taking the leap into the unknown.
I may be 35 but this still feels like the beginning.
Happy Birthday, Ayngelina! Now the countdown to 40 begins! 😀
Oh that’s a grim thought!
Seriously, 40 is awesome…. I’m not joking. It was the best year of my life, and 41 is pretty rocking so far as well! Look forward to it, celebrate it! It’s not to be dreaded….
You sound like me last year. My honest opinion? You don’t want kids; like me. As soon as I decided not to, I became incredibly happy and free. I thought about it for 15 years before finally coming to it. If you wanted kids, you’d know by now.
I’m not there yet where I can say I don’t want them. I guess right now I’m open to either possibility.
Happy birthday! I know exactly what you mean. I turned 36 this year and similarly do not have any sensation of any ticking internal clock. Some of my friends accept me for who I am and that I am fairly sure I dont want kids, others presume Ill change my mind (will I?) and some try and make me feel like there is something seriously wrong with me and my life will never be complete without children.
I am so happy that I don’t have anyone who tries to tell me there’s something wrong with not having kids. That must be really tough.
Frustrating more than anything! It’s hurtful of them to suggest my life will be incomplete without them!
First things first ; happy birthday!! I do agree that you may just have had second thoughts about kids as it is programmed as ‘the thing to do by 35’. Well if you’re happy with how your life is going and all of the great adventures awaiting, that’s the right path! Enjoy!!
I remember thinking as a teenager I’d have to do it by 30, maybe I can just push it back to 40?
Happy birthday! I know how you feel… I turn 41 in 10 days. I decided to sell my condo and travel when I was at my 20 year high school reunion and I haven’t looked back. I didn’t want kids, haven’t since my late 20’s and haven’t regretted it for a minute. You’ll probably know when the time comes if it’s right for you.
Wow what a big decision but SO exciting. I don’t regret for a second leaving everything two years ago, it was the right thing to do.
Oh wow, this totally resonates with me!
Thanks Tash, hopefully we cross paths soon!
Happy Birthday, lovely!! I feel the same way you do. It feels like just the beginning. :)<3
SO much ahead of us, who knew life started in your 30s.
Happy birthday! I hope that you’re doing something fun for it. Too bad it’s on a Monday /:
I always say that I don’t want kids, and just want to travel.. but I’m not really sure either. Glad to know that someone else thinks like this (no matter what the age different is!).
I’m starting to think a lot of people think this way.
I love that we both posted birthday posts! I also love that even though we are a decade apart, I consider you such a great friend of mine. You are fun, hilarious and I admire you so much. Cannot wait to travel with you again. Your life is awesome and I may very well be writing a similar post 10 years from now!
We have a lot of traveling together to do in the next ten years!
Happy Birthday, Ayngelina! Hope you are celebrating in style…as all good 35 yr olds should! 🙂 I am 36 in a few months and I feel exactly the same way about children – I’m not feeling at all ‘ready’ either but I know that it’s something that at least needs to be considered, probably sooner rather than later.
No easy answers. Although, I think finding a wonderful person that you WANT have children with is almost as difficult as the decision itself. Conundrum!
You are right, at this point it’s not really a decision to make because I’m not with anyone and I wouldn’t do it alone.
The happiest of Birthdays to YOU Ayngelina! I am one of those people who has always stated “I don’t want kids”. For many a reason. But oddly, the more I travel, the more I think about it, and my stubborn ways have allowed me to change my thinking to “I’ll reconsider the option of children at 30”. I think you’ve led exactly the life you want to lead – and who knows what 5 years will bring – as long as its happiness!
True I definitely have 5 more years, we’ll maybe not definitely but probably 🙂
Happy Birthday! I never wanted children, but I didn’t NOT want them either. Then at 30 the clock started ticking. I had my first at 32. One day you might look at a baby and think – I want one of those, or you may never think that. So just keep travelling and wait and see. You do not need to make a decision.
I’m kind of leaning to NOT wanting them but I’m just not convinced I’d always feel that way.
Happy birthday! We’re both Cancers! I love your honesty in this post. And just remember, whatever path we choose in life, none are “right” or “wrong,” what’s most important is that it’s the right choice for you.
ps – I don’t believe in just a birthDAY, more like a birth week and month 🙂
I would love to have a birth MONTH. I’m doing it!
Welcome to 35 🙂
I’m sure we’ve had this conversation, but I have never wanted kids either. That’s actually a conversation Scott and I had about seven years ago, and thankfully we both agreed upon, and I cannot tell you how annoyed I get when readers make comments on my site like “well, isn’t it about time you guys have kids?” or “you’ll change your mind!” Maybe I will, but most likely I won’t, but it’s my business and decision, you know? (For the record, I’m 99% sure I won’t change my mind. Ever.)
In fact, I loved this article in the NYT last week:
And lastly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
It’s good you guys are both on board with the same thing. I hope whoever I end up with feels the same way…once I figure out what I want.
It is amazing how travel can transform you and make you feel young. In fact I can almost feel myself getting younger the longer I am out. Even my attitudes get younger.
I definitely feel younger than before I left 2 years ago – rather odd.
HAPPY BDAY! We love kids but we don’t know why our friends and family think that having kids is a “bucket list” item. haha. We’ll let the “pros” handle that. Otherwise life is just as fulfilling and engaging when you discover the world. We’re there with you 🙂 xoxo
Thanks so much, at least you started off loving kids – honestly I don’t even like to be around them.
If you have never really wanted children I say no – dont have them. Tick tock or not. Here is a good measure – when you find someone that you can unequivocally say you love so much that you wish there were more of in the world – then go make more of that person. That person should also be able to say the same of you! Otherwise dont give children another thought. Enjoy life as it is!
Wow that’s a tall order, but a clear one too.
This is such a transformative time in your life–time just to enjoy for yourself no matter what the future may hold, it’s all about doing anything and everything that brings you joy in this moment, this present. Being mindful of the present is simultaneously the most amazing gift and the most amazing challenge of our lives. Happy birthday to a fellow adventurer–may your 35th year bring you all that you wish! Happy travels!!!
Thanks so much, and you bring up a good point: instead of worrying whether I’ll ever want kids maybe I just focus on where I am today.
May you have a great year ahead!
Thank you David!
I’m so happy that you’re happy, Ayngelina. 🙂 I’m one of those that knows I don’t want children. It had been sneaking up on me for years but it felt so wrong to admit it. 🙂 Now I can and I feel such peace of mind. I know things can change, and that’s OK, but at 37 1/2, things are good just the way they are. 🙂 Happiest of Birthdays!!! XO
It’s really comforting hearing so many people assertively choosing not to have kids, I guess it’s no longer the default.
Happy birthday Ayngelina!!!
Personally, I want to have kids, but only with the right guy… perhaps if you meet the right guy, you’ll want to have kids… and perhaps you don’t, nothing wrong with that (there are already too many people in the world ;-))
Hope you can eat a nice dinner for your birthday!!!!!
Well the world is kind of over populated… 😉
Happy birthday! Mine was just a few days ago. I’ve a few years on you and have never been interested in having kids. Breeding is not the only way to live a fulfilling life! While I like kids well enough, I learned a while ago that I like them in the same way I like dogs and cats. Much less than I like freedom. I have friends with kids that are now teenagers and early 20s adults, and they are becoming interesting people. But it was a long way to this point.
This world is overpopulated in any case. Better to embrace oneself as an interesting person and leave the possible biological imperatives to people willing and eager to make those sacrifices. Travel beats babies by a large margin!
Is it weird that I like dogs more than kids? I would love to have a few dogs.
I don’t think it’s weird. I like dogs a lot more than I like kids. Dogs are cute immediately while babies vary between seriously ugly and not-so-ugly for the first month or two. Dogs can actually *do* things around 6 weeks of age, while babies take most of a year.
And people don’t get pissed if you put your dog in a kennel when you head out for the day. Or a week. 🙂
Yeah I don’t really like babies and I hate it when people want me to hold their baby. Why do I have to hold it? I can see it from here!
I’m thinking there are people out there who’d interpret a statement like “Why do I have to hold it” as being a pretty clear indication you don’t want kids.
All the women I know with kids had been baby-crazy for years before they had their own. Just saying…
Happy Birthday! Been a long time reader, but don’t post often.
I’m 30, and am still okay just traveling and not having kids. I do work with kids, so I think I get my kid fix at work.
I know the “clock is ticking”…but I’m still having fun traveling and enjoying life. 🙂
Do you feel like you want kids or are content with just work? I feel nothing.
Happy birthday! I think one of my favorite things about traveling has been that my friend group has expanded to become less about age and more about common interest: like you, I have friends on the road that span a much greater age range than at home. I know that I want children, and at 24, I still have time to sort that out–but I’m realizing more and more that I can’t put it off much longer if I don’t want to be struggling with fertility issues and finding the right partner and such. I suppose we’ll see what happens–like you, I’ve got a few adventures to have first! Hope you have an absolutely lovely birthday 🙂
I really envy people who know either way early on. I’m just not sure at all, but I do know that soon I won’t have a decision at all.
First, happy birthday!
Second, I think it’s better to regret not having children than to regret having them. There are many many people who have children without thinking about it and they should not have. They just did it because “that’s what you do” which is a terrible reason to do anything, much less make a whole new person. You should really only have children if you’re 100% sure you want them AND you have the financial and social means to raise one.
And you know, there’s always adoption or fostering or volunteering with children’s organizations like big brothers/big sisters, if you are feeling those pangs later on.
Personally, at 23, I know I don’t want kids. I have been adamant about it since I was 15 years old, still a child myself (I kind of hated most other kids because I was bullied quite a bit). If anything, it has only gotten stronger since I started teaching kids. Every time I think, “aww, that one’s really cute, maybe I want one like that” one of them will throw a pencil at my head and run away cackling, or I’ll have a screaming crying (for no reason other than his seatmate stole his pencil) 6 year old to deal with and I’m just like, “HA! nope, never!” My close friends have long accepted this about me, although some of my family still insists I’ll change my mind. (I’m 99.9% sure I won’t.)
I’m glad to see so many fellow childfree people on here too; we’re usually quite a traveling bunch. Even if you’re just sitting on the fence, at least you’re THINKING about it, which is more than alot of people.
It really does seem like more people are contemplating it rather than just choosing it because it’s the next stage in life. I still haven’t hit the adult/boring portion of my life so maybe that’s why I don’t know.
Happy birthday Ayngelina! What a beautifully honest post. You couldn’t have put it better, though it really is only the beginning… ENJOY it and every beginning x
Thanks so much Frankie.
Kids, like most things in life, will happen if they are meant to. No sense trying to squeeze them in somewhere if you’re not completely sold on it. And you can always consider adopting an older kid who can at least carry their own backpack. 🙂
Can they also carry mine?
Firstly, happy 35th! I remember when I was at Uni, and the thought of thirty seemed like a terribly ancient age. Now that 30 is behind me, I still feel about 18 😉
I also suspect this will be a post that Vera is going to be popping along to comment. Neither of us wants kids. I just don’t see the point of giving up so much of my life, never have, never will 🙂 But it’s an entirely individual decision of course, and if you want it, go for it. If not.. don’t! (I am so full of helpful advice…)
The only reason I feel like I’m in my 30s is because it’s so much better than my 20s. I hope it keeps going that way.
All the best for your birthday from France, Ange:)! I am always interested in these children-or-not-discussions, because it seems to be a bit of a taboo to not want children, but I have little doubt that I’m happiest without that kind of action. Luckily, I had and have the best role model ever: my god-mother LOVES kids, though she never had her own (she’s been mostly single, too), but she’s involved and part of so many familys (throughout the world) that she does not have the time to regret not having her own. I’d take a bullet for her anytime, and I don’t think I’m the only one. So if you ever should regret not having kids: it is by far not the freaking only way to have a family and be a mother and all that!! If worst comes to worst, we’ll just move in together, dye our hair purple and get us a nice big batch of cats;)So you have a great day now, and just be awesome and happy, cos that’s what you’re here for (and the rest of us, too), anyway:)!! *Vera
I almost think it’s one of those things that you are afraid to regret when you are old and wonder who will take care of you. Maybe my sister can have kids, although she is 30 and still hasn’t had any either!
Happy birthday, lady! I’m there with you on the kids. I never really wanted them, but when I was younger I figured I would want them… eventually. Because doesn’t everybody want kids eventually?
Well, I have yet to experience anything resembling a biological clock. And, frankly, I hope it stays that way. I would hate to turn 40 and be desperately unhappy that I don’t have kids. As it is, I’m really happy with how my life has turned out — even if it’s not at all like what I imagined it would be.
Based on how many people I have talked to that do not want to have kids I wonder how many people didn’t want them 20 years ago but had them anyway.
No need to panic yet. When I finally felt clucky I bought a book with some depressing title like “Pregnancy After 35”. Then I just happen to mention my “advanced maternal age” to a French doctor. He gave me a French “pish” and said that in France 38 is the new 35. Yay!
But as you know, I ended up with a baby anyway. Life has changed but it’s still an adventurous traveling lifestyle!
No biggie if you do or if you don’t. Just don’t panic!
So that means I have 3 more years? No pressure 🙂
Damn it. Thought you were going to get me pregnant. I can’t think of anything I want more than to carry a kid around in my belly for nine months. I am crushed, blog wife.
A blogger baby? How frightening.
Happy birthday! It sounds like you’ve got the right attitude about everything – enjoy the moment, you’ll know what’s best for you…
I hope so!
I totally feel the same way and you’ve said it so well here. What if it’s too late? But at least you’re on the journey and you’ll work it out as life unfolds. Happy Birthday! Here’s to another unforgettable year lived your way.
There’s nothing worse than the feeling that it could be too late.
I never made a conscious decision to have kids or not, but when I was in a (I must say rather unstable) relationship and had to come off the pill we decided (he being older than I,and having come to terms with not having children as the result of a previous marriage) that we’d take it as it came. When it came turned out I was extremely fruitful, which made up for his shortcomings in that department, and it was the best thing I ever did, but that, of course, is me. I didn’t know until I was pregnant how good it would feel, and I didn’t know until after my baby was born how empowering and fascinating it would be. Boredom isn’t an issue with young kids – they keep you mind and body alert like you wouldn’t believe, so if the time ever came when you wondered more about that, don’t worry!
On the other hand, I believe that if I hadn’t had kids I wouldn’t have angsted over it. I simply thought that “que sera, sera.” Life is rewarding and absorbing so long as you follow your instincts I think. Mine would have been different, but I hope it would have been rewarding in a different way.
And of course, someone is going to say that you can travel with kids. There are, as you know, several bloggers who do it beautifully. Might be more of a challenge, or a different kind of challenge, but still very do-able, and you would see the world through different eyes.
Finally, already wished you happy birthday on FB, but no harm in repeating it. Wishing you a successful and very happy year , wherever it takes you :=)
Thanks so much, it’s actually comforting to hear someone who had them can imagine being happy if things had gone the other way.
Good for you! just wait! Turning 40 is EVEN better!
I certainly hope so!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! No matter what choice you make I am sure it will be the right decision. Plenty of time left for you yet 🙂
Well a bit… 🙂
Always inspiring to see people embracing their age rather than complaining about it. I agree with Turtle up there – just enjoy the moment. Que sera, sera and happy birthday to you!
Well I say embrace what you can’t change! But seriously other than the kid thing, I think 35 is WAY better than 25.
You’ll know when the time is right, but I totally understand about the ticking clock. I’m starting to feel it myself.
Do you feel the ticking? Or not at all?
I think I’d feel better if I knew. I just don’t know.
Your attitude is spot on, darling. Keep on doing what you’re doing – loving life and what you do and the rest will fall into place.
Sounds cheesy, but I firmly believe it. Happy birthday 🙂
You are such a positive person, thanks for all the kind words.
Thanks for sharing. This really made me smile.
I came to travel relatively late at 24 but I feel like I’m still very new to it. I can’t foresee myself stopping any time soon without a damn good reason, haha.
Congrats on the milestone. Here’s to many more years of adventures on the road 🙂
There’s no sign of slowing down – not yet anyway!
Happy Birthday I’ll be sure to drink a bottle of cheap wine on the streets of Cairo in your honor… okay no I lie. I don’t wanna get arrested.
The funny thing about life is that sometimes we don’t know what we want, but it will make things happen for you if the moment is right. Everything happens for a reason… so if in a few years from now you don’t have kids it’s for a reason down the road. Hope you don’t think to much about and enjoy your birthday. Then again you are talking to one of the most dramatic people on earth & know I would have no clue what to do.
I know for a fact I want kids… I want 4 of them. I keep saying at 35 (9 years from now) I’ll be ready to settle down. Then I read this and see you at 35 & think… hmm maybe 35 is young to settle down.
I said when I was 21 I would have kids before 30 and then at 27 I said 35 and now I’m saying….
Happy Birthday! I want to give you a big hug now. All the best and happiness! <3
Thanks so much!
You are not the only one. I am one in your passion. I will soon follow the same path. As soon as I earn enough money, I will be a traveling nomad as well. Cheers!
So good to hear!
Happy Birthday Girl… until our paths cross again! : ]
By the way, that Hodson guy sounds creepy.
Happy birthday!! Great post! And as a fellow 30-something traveling spinster myself, I know exactly what you mean! Never thought my life would turn out this way either but wouldn’t change all my travels for anything. Not going to lie though,that clock thing scares me too. One day at a time!
Perhaps it would be an issue if it didn’t scare us. I rarely think about it but every once in a while it pops up.
Thanks for sharing your birthday–and your incisive thoughts about the odd ways and places that travel and age intersect. Onward!
and upward 🙂
What a heartfelt post. I’m 35 too, and moved out to Barcelona from Edinburgh last year – I suppose in some way to evade the ticking clock altogether. I haven’t found many people my age in Barcelona, though. They all seem to be travellers in their 20s, so it’s hard to make friends who are going through a similar stage in life. But bah, who wants a conventional life anyway? If I did have kids I’ve always suspected I’d be tearing my hair out. I’ve never really wanted them, either. Getting a puppy soon – much more excited about that:)
Exactly I’d rather have this issue than be contemplating my life as a canvas for boredom.
“Spinster”, hah! Me and my best friend used to call each other that with glee 🙂 We dreamed of traveling the whole world together in our “spinster” years. But now I’m married and she’s still happily living the “spinster” life nurturing a very expensive hobby — photography and traveling! I’m secretly jealous of her hopping from one exotic place to the next but hey! when life give you lemons … 🙂
I’m still trying to convince her to do her own blog about her travels but she insists on just making one sole person jealous (and not the whole world), ME!
I love being my age, I really do. I have to wear night cream and colour my grey hair but otherwise it is SO much better than my 20s.
I’m just not ready to give it up yet.
Happy birthday! That whole kids subject is a tough one. We, especially as women, are raised to believe we will have kids. It’s just what you do. But it’s not the right path for everyone. I’ve known since I was a teenager that I didn’t want kids. I left myself open to the possibility that I might change my mind, but it never came. Instead I was more and more certain that I wasn’t meant to be a mother. Some people understand, some people think I’m crazy, some people still think I will change my mind even though I’m already in my 30s and married to a guy who also doesn’t want kids. Chances are if you really wanted kids, you’d know by now, but that doesn’t mean you absolutely don’t want them or wouldn’t make a good mother. I think the best thing is always to go after your own ambitions and keep pushing yourself towards the life you want, and things like kids will work out if it’s meant to be. Or that life you’re going after will eventually confirm one way or the other if having kids is even something you want. And if you do decide you want them at a point when your body tells you no, you can always adopt. There are so many kids out there in need of a good home. Right now you’re living the life you want, you sound happy, and that’s all that matters.
I guess if I met someone who didn’t want kids I wouldn’t be crushed. The only issue would be if I met someone and it was a deal breaker, then I’d have to decide as it would be unfair to him.
I’m not seeing anyone so I can push that decision off for a bit!
I wish more people would give having (or not having) kids more thought like you’re doing. There are so many checked out parents because they thought they *had* to have a kid after getting married.
I have a very low tolerance for most kids. I want a munchkin, but I am perfectly content at nearly 28 to have a cat as my only child at the moment. My life is barely together; there’s no need to make it even more stressful.
You’re my blog mentor 🙂
You are too sweet. I’m dying to get a dog, but traveling would make it difficult.
Happy Birthday for two days ago!
I love this post, by the way. It’s really honest, and very straight-to-the-point…even if the point is not really knowing what the point is, to an extent.
I’m a firm believer that everything that we experience in life happens for a reason, the ole’ “que sera sera” so to speak. There are no mistakes in life, just things that we learn and grow from. Going against the grain is never easy.
I agree I think I may be forcing a decision when I really should just let it happen as it happens.
Happy birthday, Ayngelina! This was such a resonating post, especially when you said that in a few years you no longer have the choice to have children. This fact scares me, too.
I’m happy I wrote about it because I’ve realized it scares a lot of people.
Happy Birthday! I’m not quite at the point where you are but I can imagine how you feel. When we’re young it seems so simple to do what everyone else does… marriage, kids, a steady job… but as you get older you realize how much of a sacrifice all of that can be. Good luck with you’re decision; you still have time. Go out and celebrate your birthday!!
Oh I will!
What I love about this is that you show that you put thought into the whole having kids thing. I love it because you are designing your life and taking control, but also because more people should so actively consider becoming parents like that. Anyway, have fun on that final climb up hill to 40 🙂
That’s not funny!
I’ve met so many amazing women in the last 8 months that are all in their 40s and 50s and have the heart and souls of an eighteen-year-old. None of them are ready to settle down and have families and age is something that really gets blurred when you have this kind of life – I’m 25 and some of my best friends are now 30 years older than me.
I used to think I didn’t want children but this journey has definitely taught me a lot about myself and I think I probably do want to get married and have kids one day. The only thing is – I can’t imagine ever finding a guy I’d happily settle down with (I’m so picky), but I *can* imagine finding a girl I could probably do that with (probably due to the hundreds of incredible like-minded women I’ve met). I also think I made the decision that I definitely want to be a mother one day and if it hasn’t happened by the time I’m nearing 40, I’ll look into adoption as a single parent. 🙂
Then again, who knows? This lifestyle has also made me pretty impulsive and I change my mind an awful lot from week to week.
Happy Belated Birthday, btw. 😉
I have always known I wanted to settle down with one person. Traveling alone was great but I’m ready to share it with someone, and even make some compromises if they have a traditional job. But the kids thing, I didn’t figure that one out.
At every age you do not feel that old like you thought you would be when you were young…makes any sense? It keeps on feeling great, just the beginning!
Check this post out: http://www.prolificliving.com/blog/2010/11/30/the-path-to-fulfillment-to-have-or-not-to-have-children/
(but hey, when you have kids you can start blogging about family travel LOL!)
Thanks Emiel, and Happy Birthday, Ayngelina. As you may have seen, Emiel shared my post about children. When I wrote that, I was about your age, and now I am older and have only become more firm about not wanting children and in complete peace. And I am more in love with traveling and growing my business and living my life. Whatever you do, don’t do it because the biological clock is ticking in your ears. Not the best decision making device! Good luck!
At 32 I can completely empathise with this. I too am happier now than ever before, and am forever changed by my life of travel. It is a rare gift to be able to say that so freely, and even if motherhood is not the right path for you, at least you can feel proud that the path you have chosen has been so full of courage and truth. And in my opinion, you still have plenty of time to change your mind about parenthood, be it a biological decision or adopted. Just keep on trusting in your path; it will continue to lead you to joy 🙂
I think people feel compelled to share what they have learned with children, maybe now that I have the blog any semblance of sharing is already accomplishes.
Happy birthday, Ayngelina! Your blog and the story that you are still creating are always an inspiration!
Let’s hope it’s going somewhere good!
Happy Belated. You reminded me, with this post, of that wonderful thing about traveling that I had completely forgotten about (since it has been so long) – age almost doesn’t matter when making friends abroad!
To be fair I’m back in Toronto for my 35th perhaps that’s why the kids thing is on my mind because it’s never there on the road.
Happy birthday! You seem so happy to be where you are right now (and rightly so), I imagine things can only get better for you; with or without a kid. I personally never felt like I wanted kids — but then again, I was also adamant I wanted to spend my 20s single so I could travel without being tied down, and last month I got engaged, at 23 (and I’m also still traveling). And now I’ve decided I do want kids someday, because I want that experience with my future husband. So all I’m saying is, don’t worry too much about these things because life will end up surprising you sometimes anyway 🙂
I have definitely never felt like I wanted to have kids, I see people who gush over babies and I don’t feel that.
Happy Birthday Ayngelina!
Happy birthday, Ayngelina!
I chose to have kids later in life (36 for my first 40 for my second), but only because I finally met someone that I could imagine having children with.
Having kids doesn’t have to be like everyone says it is – you don’t have to settle down (whatever that means – usually it means a house, mortgage, a job, kids in daycare). Bah to that.
That said, choosing to have kids is such a deeply personal thing that I don’t think anyone is qualified to tell you why or why you shouldn’t have them. It’s something you have to decide for yourself, deep down.
Do you like kids? I have never really liked them either. People say it’s different when they are yours and I’m sure if I had them mine would be the most brilliant humans to walk the Earth. Ha
Oh no don’t say spinster as I’m older! I had Savannah at 36 and still have plenty of breeding years left so don’t fret if you decide its for you.
(I will not be using those breeding years mind you!)
I’m just kidding, I don’t think I’m a spinster at all! And good to know you’re done 🙂
I’m also 35, but as a guy the thought process is a little simpler.
Question 1: Do I get a ridiculously impractical sports car? As a traveler with no real job, this one takes care of itself.
Question 2: Do I get an 18 year old girlfriend? Anyone who’s talked to any 18-year-olds recently knows that this question is just as easily dismissed.
And that does it for any long term decision making until I turn 40.
Haha, but even at 50 you could have kids, your ovaries aren’t shriveling up – eww that’s a weird thought.
Wow, for a minute I thought *I* had written this post!
Today is my 35th birthday and I left my comfy life in the US behind last December. I too was on the brink of buying a home…had my realtor and mortgage guy and everything lined up ready to go. I stopped and thought, wow, this isn’t me…this isn’t what I truly want. This is the American dream I’ve been fed but never really wanted for myself. It was shortly after that reevaluation of my life that I was on a plane for the unknown.
35 must be a magic number. 30 didn’t bother me. 35 isn’t bothering me per se, but it’s definitely making me stop and think wow, it’s now (or pretty soon) or never for thinking about the family and kids decision. I still don’t have that deep-down-desire to have kids of my own, but I think I feel similar to how you feel. Will I wake up one day and regret not having a family of my own? But I don’t want to make a decision to have kids based on a possible future regret. I’ve never operated that way and never really want to. I don’t really have any big regrets to date, probably because I accept the consequences of my decisions and try to learn from them, knowing that living life means lessons learned and am thankful for each one. But the kids thing, wow, it’s a big one.
Although, now that I’m an ESL kindergarten teacher, I get my fill of kids all week long, which is kind of making me feel better about my decision to not have them 🙂 I love those munchkins, but I do value mega-amounts of alone time.
I apologize for taking up so much space for rambling. You really struck a chord. And this is the first time I’ve seen something posted that hits so close to home. Thank you for sharing such a personal and thought-provoking post.
I hope you had a wonderful birthday!
I appreciate ALL your ranting. I feel similarly, I have no issue at all with my age. I love where I am with my life but I can’t turn 35 without at least contemplating the baby thing.
First of all – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! 😀
Second, I remember having an argument with my college boyfriend once when he said that 35 was old. I told him it wasn’t, that it was still incredibly young! I think it can be relative though… I look back at pictures of my parents when they were both in their mid to late 30s, and they were still dragging my sister and me along on road trips and the occasional adventure. Since I was older, my mom would even sneak out with me and we’d meet up with one of her friends to try the street food and exotic fruits in the mercadillos of Central America (my dad’s never liked the idea of eating street food there). In conclusion, you’re however young you feel! 🙂
I know exactly what you mean about getting easily bored though. I’m the same way, and am actually one of those odd people that truly relish change… (and just to clarify, relishing in change does not mean relishing in instability).
I’ve never really wanted to have kids growing up, and my mom somehow understood where I was coming from, which I think really helped. My husband and I (thankfully) are on the same terms… absolutely no kids now, but I suppose we’ll also see where we are in the next 5 years.
It can definitely become a difficult topic to talk about, especially if you don’t know if you’d ever want to have children (or a child) but like you said, there are a lot of women out there that feel the same way. Here’s a really good article about whether or not to have kids that I read last year:
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 🙂
The good thing is that no one close to me thinks its weird, perhaps they all just assumed I’d still be here at 35 continuing to be indifferent about children. You’re the second person to recommend that post so now I have to read it.
I hope you had a great birthday and know that I love this post. I’ve written on several occasions about not wanting children and the looks and grumbles I get. If you haven’t already, check out my post from May called, “My Give-a-Damn is Broken”. I think you’ll get a chuckle out of it and know even more that you’re not alone. I’m almost 38 and I don’t regret my decision not to breed at all. I’m confident that at age 83 I’ll feel the same way (God willing I reach that age). Whatever you decide, it should be a decision YOU are happy with.
I wish I were as confident as you. Up to this date I have chosen not to have kids and I love that I can choose – some day I won’t have that choice.
As someone who beat you to 35… Sigh. I still have hope, but I’m beginning to think that I should just accept that it’s not going to happen, and go live a simple life somewhere.
But do you want them?
Interesting perspective on turning 35. I am a couple years older than you and it’s amazing how much life has changed since I turned 35. No, you definitely aren’t alone in how you feel. Just make the best decision for you. And happy birthday!
My life has changed so much in the last two years I don’t even want to try imagining where I’ll be in two more.
Happy birthday! Kids aren’t so bad, but you have to know that you can emotionally and financially support them. You’ll know sooner than later if you can! Adopt if it’s later.
I definitely can’t support them financially on my own so I guess the decision is made for a while.
Happy belated birthday, lady. I’ve been thinking about kids lately too. Two of my close friends in San Diego are pregnant and more are going to be trying soon. That just doesn’t appeal to me right now and I’m not sure if it ever will.
It just makes me feel like this part of my life, which is so much fun right now, would end. I don’t want it to end.
Happy birthday. I’m a year and a couple of weeks behind you, and been thinking about the same things as I found out this week yet another friend is pregnant – which doesn’t leave many of mine who don’t either have kids or are trying. It all still seems such an alien idea from what I want my life to be at the moment. It’s great to read this though and see so many comments from other people who feel the same, and that whether we decide to go down the path of kids or not, it’s our lives and our choice.
I’m really happy for my friends who have kids and I know they want me to have kids but say nothing. I just don’t think that can happen any time soon.
Happy Birthday! I had a conversation with my aunt today about my need to travel. She tried making me feel guilty for not want to settle down. She doesn’t understand my desire to get out there and explore the world. She absolutely hates the fact that her son is following in my footsteps and has started to plan trips with me. She says we’re selfish. Some people will never understand.
I get the same guilt trips. It’s frustrating, isn’t it. My family members act as though I’m abandoning them, or traveling to escape from something. They don’t understand at all how much happiness it brings me and how alive I feel when I’m out exploring the world.
It’s hard for people to understand when what you want to do conflicts with their own choices. They believe if you do the same you also approve of what they did.
happy birthday to you! i hope this year is a wonderful one full of great memories & laughter.
you never know what life will bring you. stay open. stay true. you can have it ALL.
at least that’s what i tell myself every day 🙂
cheers – lola
I like that. I just have to figure out what my ALL really is.
Happy Birthday Ayngelina. Hope you have a fantastic year!
Happy birthday to the hottest 35-year-old I know! 😉
Oh you are the best!
From one Canadian to another,
happy birthday greetings from Saigon | Chúc mừng sinh nhật!
I hear ya! My family still gets upset when I tell them I’ve planned my next trip. I get the “aren’t you done running around yet?” They don’t get the travel bug we all get and they were hoping it was temporary for me. I used to want the “house and kids life” …then I discovered traveling. They want me to “settle down” but I feel like I’ve just begun 🙂
Also, I don’t ever feel my age and I’m glad you don’t either! It really is just a number 🙂
Feliz cumpleaños Ayngelina!!
I don’t know if how I define “settle down” will be the same as most people I know. Travel will always be such an important part of my life.
It sounds like you are listening to your heart which is always the BEST thing to do in this case. Don’t second guess yourself and you’ll have no regrets later.
I didn’t really want kids when I was younger and then in my mid thirties tried everything I could to have one. I was unsuccessful and now, I’m grateful for it. I have no regrets. 🙂
Wow Kristina what an incredible story, I guess things work out the way they should. At least that’s what I try to remember.
Oh Princess Bacon, ne te fret pas. Les enfants will come if they are meant to be. I’d sack away some ovaries if I were you though, just in case. 🙂
Funny, I actually looked into that one. I was seriously considering it as an option, since I’m also pushing 30. I quickly learned that its nothing 10K/year of freezer space can’t take care of!
Then, I remembered how many flights that could buy me!!
That’s really expensive!
I soooo feel you on this one, Ayngelina! My 35th birthday was HUGE, as it was right around then that I filed for divorce (after 15 years with my ex) and decided I needed to pursue the sort of liberating life I have now. It definitely felt like one of those “time to shit or get off the pot” moments, like I either needed to choose a different way to live or resign myself to the life I’d had. I’ve never once regretted that decision. Hope your birthday was fantastic!
Wow Bret and look at you now, so much has changed for the better.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AYNGELINA!!! =D
The more I read of your posts, the more we have in common!
I never dreamed of getting married or having kids. I’m happily married now, almost 7 years, and always get asked that question. And every time, I listen to my gut reaction to it. I’m just not interested.
It just doesn’t make sense to change my life for something that I don’t believe strongly in. Plus, if it’s too late, the alternative is adopting!
We can chat more in person! Perhaps at the Massive Travel meetup! Hope you had the most memorable celebrations for your special day!
It’s most interesting to hear couples decide not have kids. My fear is that I meet someone great and we disagree.
You’re never too old nowadays so don’t worry about it. Having said that, after five years of travel my parents have been laying a bit of pressure on me to settle down. But living your life the best way you know how has to take priority!
Happy birthday, by the way!
See it comes as you get older!
Happy belated Birthday, 35 is just the beginning of the rest of your life 🙂 Nothing to it…. For the question of having children I can say that I am one that can say now that it just was not meant to be for me and I have made peace with that. I am now taking the huge step into traveling also at at 36 I think it still is the beginning of the rest of my life and I intend to nake it better than the beginning of it, which was great by the way. So keep going and mostly keep having fun and an open mind.
Did you always know you didn’t want kids or did it just turn out that way?
Sometimes you come across a blog post that manages to explain how you are feeling better than you can youself!! Happy birthday! I celebrated by 35th birthday in Africa in the middle of a 15 month career break and felt exactly the same. I turn 38 next week and have somehow returned to the life I wanted to change – working long hours in an office, stressed over unimportant things. I am now resigning and going to start paving my own path in life…something I started 4 years ago but should never have stopped! So keep creating your own path in life, I salute you!!
Thanks so much, it’s just what I needed to hear on my birthday.
Happy Birthday! I have been thinking about what to say since yesterday because I have strong feelings about this (that all come from love)… I was never ready to have kids, but it happened and I am so, so grateful that it did. I was worried about pregnancy and labor, that I wouldn’t be able to handle all the responsibilities, that I wouldn’t be able to travel much, or that I would have to sacrifice a lot. All those worries were totally unfounded. It’s not about “having babies.” I know you didn’t ask for advice, but I would throw in that if someone is sure they don’t want kids, that’s fine, but if they are in the middle, I would say from my heart that they should go for it. The love is something so powerful and special, it gives you a different perspective about your own parents, family, yourself. Just as travel is a life-changing experience, so is having children. Luckily, they can go together 🙂 And btw, I have many friends in their late 30s and early 40s having kids. 🙂
I appreciate that you were so thoughtful about your response. I know having kids makes you biased but I appreciate your support and insight.
I got so caught up in commenting about having/not having kids that I forgot to tell you how much I love your perspective that this is just the beginning. So true for any of us no matter what age because everything that happened in the past is over.
How liberating for you to own and embrace your childlessness. Thank goodness we have greater breadth of choice. Once upon a time, if a woman was ambivalent about having children she would probably go ahead and have them which perpetrated a grave injustice over all involved.
Please allow me to quibble with you about your word choice. You are hardly a “spinster”. A spinster is one who stays near near home and spins thread. You are a vibrant woman who moves freely in the world spinning yarns.
Your life is just beginning.
Thanks so much, I know I’m far from a spinster but let’s face it a lot of senior citizens are probably worried about me right now.
Happy belated, Ayngelina! Glad to have met you in person a few weeks back. I can truly relate to this post. Have you checked to see if travelingspinster.com is available? 🙂 — Michelle
Now that would be a good site!
Happy belated birthday! Hope you had a great time. I loved this post and have added it to my list of ‘Most excellent blog posts’ for June
Take care, Victoria
Happy belated birthday! Whatever you end up deciding about kids, it must be pretty satisfying to be able to say that as of right now, you’ve followed no one’s expectations but your own and ended up happier for it.
I hadn’t really thought about it that way Emily but you are right. Whichever way it’s on my terms.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m so glad I’m not the only one feeling like this. I’m 32 about to hit 33 and am desperately wanting to head out into the great blue yonder again. Everyone keeps telling me it’s time to settle down, buy a house, get married, have kids – I think I want these things, but I want to travel more right now. I’ve even considered lying about my age and pretending that I’m still a 20 something that can get away with this kind of behaviour! I’m so glad to find someone who is doing what they love despite what others think. Yay. Now just have to go back to getting rid of my crap, saving up and setting off overseas!
You know before I left to travel two years ago I had the junkiest furniture and everything a hand-me-down and I think it was my subconscious not wanting to commit to anything nice because I was going to leave it.
I can so relate to this post and wondering what is the right decision for your future self. Although I know I want children someday, now that I’m in my thirties, it seems so soon. I feel like I need so much more time, but (sigh) biological clock is a-ticking.
Happy birthday! 🙂
It feels like my twenties were just practice years and now I actually know what I’m doing.
First – Happy Birthday! Second – Have you heard of “Maybe Baby?” It’s a virtual coaching program that helps women work come to peace with their own answer to the question. I’ve heard great things about it, and thought I’d share =)
Ooh that sounds interesting, thanks for the tip!
Oi, your birthday is the day after mine! Happy belated btw. I just turned 25, but still have no clear path to follow in my life. All I know is that I want to keep traveling and not be stuck inside a grim building for 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, for 40+ years of my life. Currently, I’m designing a lifestyle where I can simply work four hours a day every day, while being outdoors to in something more effective and useful abroad the rest of the time. Hoping to start in three years or less, as soon as I pay off these $40,000 in debt. I’m excited for what lies ahead!
So far you follow your heart, and not biology or any other societal bullshit, you’ll be fine 😉 it will always be the right choice that way.
I would love to only work 4 hours a day, right now blogging takes up far more time.
Happy Happy Birthday Ayngelina (albeit belated now). Hope you had a fab day. As for the bio clock, totally know the feeling. I am 33 and I think (actually know) that my clock is dysfunctional or I like to tell myself that it is hibernating and will wake up to it’s full glory upon my uniting with Prince Charming. Or maybe not.
In the meantime…I.. just..am. Living and loving my life and it looks like you are doing the same. 🙂
Yeah I know, if I meet a guy who doesn’t want kids I’m afraid the alarm will always be on snooze.
I’m 32 and starting to feel some serious biological clock pressure. It’s tough. I think I’ve given up on the possibility of feeling sure about the decision one way or the other, and know I’ll have to make some kind of decision without feeling absolutely sure what the right thing to do is.
You need a cock to have kids love.
At least your honest in your title. The rest is not honest.
Your are old dear. You already made your choice. Because not making a choice is a choice. I’m willing to best you’ve had plenty of options and likely spent your twenties sleeping from one to the next. But you never settled for your equal. Hypergamy is a bitch. Both figuratively and literally.
Regardless of how you feel on the inside you have little to nothing to offer a man of means on the outside. You have passed your female expiration date. Your are likely infertile or cannot become pregnant without help from modern science. Even if you were given seed 2-3 x a day from the most virile strapping young buck you would still need to beg Lady Luck for results. And even then your chances of bringing a healthy baby into this would (as a single mom with your attitude) are greatly reduced.
You selfishly wasted your window of oppurtunities. Your Grandmother instinctively knew she had her youth to get it right. Yet this was lost on you.
Most telling was your choice to spend your money on a vacation instead of a down payment on a house. Your actions truly speak louder than your words.
As a single man who lives directly on the beach in Los Angeles, CA (directly on the sand – the Pacific Ocean is my front yard and the LA skyline is my backyard). I earned 174k after taxes in 2012. I am the type of man this 35 year old spinster wishes she could have but never will because she is too old and waded in selfishness and irresponsibility too long. That’s why her boyfriend never proposed. He was probably a low income earner or loser but he, like many men, was smart enough not to pay full price for an old high mileage car past its prime.
I can doubtlessly tell everyone on this blog with full confidence assurance and security that comes from interpersonal experience the following fact: This selfish 35 year old spinster is DROWNING IN DEBT.
Debt. Student loan debt, credit cad debt, she’s got it, baby shes got it. And she’s not alone. That’s how these women mask themselves as independent successful and well traveled (they think this arouses and impresses a man which actually does the opposite). With other people’s money. Or. Borrowed money. Rarely if ever do they earn it themselves. Inheritance, male gifts,, credit cards, student loans and later divorce, child support and alimony are how these “independent” and “successful” females, more often the not fund their expenditures and excursions.
I’m not sure if you read my earlier posts but I’m actually not in debt at all. The reason I was able to travel initially was because I had paid all my debt and saved 20k to travel in Latin America. My father died when I was 5 and my mother taught both my sister and I to be independent. I live on no one’s money but my own.
I’ve known more post independent feminist women like you than I can count. All claimed to be independent. Yet once you get to know them or are filled in on the gossip you learn these women are not independent. They are dependent. Dependent on a man, their parents, credit cards, student loans etc. I’m putting all my chips on the table and betting you are one of them and are in debt. Your temporary Pina Colada lifestyle is setting all my the alarm bells dear. If you have money or a trust fund I’m totally wrong but have seen no indication from your blog you have free access to capital.
You have also proven your emotional irresponsibility by your actions. Another tale tell sign. Here are your words:
“At 32 I had the financial means to travel or put a downpayment on a home. I knew it was my last chance for one great adventure before I had to settle down and have children. I was afraid to lose my independence and this was one last act of selfish rebellion.”
1) You had the money to be responsible and independent (what you confuse with settling down) adult and spent it on a party vacation instead. Now you will become a renter until you can earn that money again while simultaniously working to pay the cost of living.
2) You say you “knew” it was your one last chance before you had to settle down and have children. This is called the Apex Fallacy. You took it for granted marriage and children would always be yours for the taking. Your not alone. Unmarried women in their 30’s are at an all time high and have increased with every census. While they wasted their 20’s they assumed marriage and children would be there for the taking provided by a dutiful male in their 30’s. Men have responded by refusing to get married. This has been reflected in every census study since 2000.
No man wants the women everyone else had when she was in her physical prime. For men, physical prime is usually between 16 and 26. There is a reason you don’t see very many strippers and porn star’s over 29.
You had your window to invest in a good nice guy husband and father. You, like most spinsters, failed to cash in your chips on the right table. Instead you wasted them at the track on all the wrong horses because it was fun and exciting.
You state “I was afraid to lose my independence”.
I have good news. As the years go on you will likely never lose your independence.
Your best bet is to drastically lower your standards and settle for that low income putz that commits to women past their prime and single mothers.
You waited too long. I’m sorry but it’s true.
I see you have resorted to censorship.
You claim you live on no ones money but your own. Ok fine. What is the source of your money? If you are not rich nor have a trust fund or inheritance and previously were living in a rented apartment with your boyfriend where does your traveling money come from?
1) Student Loans
2) Credit Cards
3) Federal Grants (taxpayer funded)
4) Pell Loans
6) Child Support
8) Insurance payouts
These are the true sources of 80%+ of female income in 2014. In other words women who live on no ones income but there own.
Actually I paid off all my debt and saved 20k to travel. If you read my site you would know that.
Michael… are you ok? You seem troubled. I feel sorry for you, having to carry round all these dark thoughts in your head. What a burden that must be. 🙁 I think someone needs a hug.
Well done on earning all that money though. You must be really proud of yourself. It doesn’t seem to have made you any happier though. You seem a little bitter in fact. Perhaps you could cheer yourself up by getting out and about and enjoying your Pacific Ocean paradise (with it being on your doorstep and all) instead of wasting time reading about other peoples lives, criticizing them and being nasty. Just a thought…
And you’re a Christian? Really? Did you miss the bit in the Bible about being nice and kind to people? Perhaps a Bible fell on your head as a child and made you forget that day at Sunday School?
Anyway… I really hope you get to grips with those pesky little demons in your head. I will pray for you little fella.
Ooh, and you may want to look up the difference between you’re, your.
Also, you say on your blog you’re (that means you are) a “happily married father”, but above you say “As a single man who lives directly on the beach in Los Angeles” – now who’s not being honest? Which one is it Michael????
Chin up. 🙂
So two years later, what are you up to???
I’m still traveling, although less so. Perhaps no longer a spinster as I’m now in a relationship, I’m trying to balance travel and a regular life at home. Still very much a non-traditional life but I’ve managed to settle down just a little bit!
Tomorrow I turn 35 years old and can relate to your post so much. Thank you for sharing this.
I just stumbled across this post after googling “What should I do for my 35th birthday” (because I’m at a loss and people keep asking), and found myself saying “YES! THAT’S IT!!!” while reading. Thank you for putting it out there…the idea that there is a struggle between finally getting comfortable with yourself and not sure if you want to give it up to start a family. I am struggling with this as well. It’s so refreshing to hear/see someone else say it.
Thank you so much for writing this artice. I was screaming to my computer, “someone understands me.”
While I was screaming to my computer, I was also reading out loud over the phone to my mother. She instinctively tried to find words to make me feel better, though I have repeatedly told her I do not feel bad. I am more shocked that I will be 35th and I feel amazing, accomplished and young.
In a month and a half I will officially be 35. I am trying to plan something exciting since it is a milestone birthday, though sitting on my couch would be excting after traveling this whole year. Thus this is how I came across your article. What to do for a 35th birthday?
Thank you for making me feel as though I am not alone in my thoughts about being happy and “selfish” at 35.
Now on to deciding whether I should travel or watch Netflix. In 10 years, my future family may make this decision for me.
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