Dear Amy: I am a woman about to turn 35 years old. I have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. He is a wonderful, caring and nurturing man who will stick with me through thick and thin. He'd be a wonderful dad.
Neither of us have ever had children. We have had many discussions about our future: getting married, living together, and having kids.
We have ideas, but no plans.
My problem is that not only am I getting the: "Tick Tock your biological clock is ticking" pressure from friends, but I am putting a lot of pressure on myself to hurry up and have children because of my age.
I have many fears about this. I have had failed relationships with other men I thought I would spend my life with.
I don't want another failed relationship, especially with children involved.
I would like to live with this man and be married before having children.
I feel like if I were still in my 20s I could take my time (thank goodness I did wait while I was in my 20s).
My therapist says that fear of my advancing age is NOT a good reason to have children. I'm glad she helped to put that in perspective.
If I stay in the present moment, I realize that my life is beautiful. I feel lucky, am not fearful, and can enjoy my life as it is.
When I start to think into the future, I get scared of missing my window to have children.
Will you please give me your prospective?
— Can't Wait Forever
Dear Can't Wait: Your therapist knows you. She is encouraging you to breathe through these anxieties and learn to live more in the moment. That is fantastic advice, and a life skill that will help you through many challenging times.
However, when it comes to having children and family formation, timing is actually a primary motivation for most of us. When we're in our early 20s, we tell ourselves, "I'm not ready." Later on, we do feel ready, and whether that is the "tick tock biological clock" talking, the weight of our other relationships and experiences, or because you've met "The One," the drive to have children before it's "too late" (however we interpret that) is very real.
Does your guy have similar impulses to yours? If so, why not get started? Can you two turn your ideas into plans?
My own perspective actually dovetails with your therapist's: You never know what will happen next. Even best-laid plans might fall by the wayside. That's why you should always try to recognize and cherish the lovely little moments while you're experiencing them.
Life is not a straight, smooth, and narrow path. A mature, balanced, self-actualized person learns how to roll with it.
Dear Amy: Recently, shortly after my 75th birthday, my wife and I got on a plane to visit our 32-year-old son, who lives at one of the fancy watering holes on the East Coast.
He has a financial business but has yet to make his mark. Nevertheless, he has a taste for fine dining.
One evening he took us out to a restaurant that has great food and equally elevated prices, where he was recognized by the maitre d' and proceeded, as the grand seigneur, to order special dishes for the table.
During the conversation, he said he had eaten there "hundreds" of times in the past six to eight years.
Well, the check arrived and was presented to him -- and he proceeded to push it across the table to me.
I was speechless, but I paid without comment.
How would you describe our son's behavior, considering the circumstances and his extensive history at this establishment?
I would describe it as "disgraceful."
Am I off-base?
— Daddy Not Dearest
Dear Daddy: I agree that the circumstance called for your son to pick up the check. His lack of generosity is embarrassing.
If I were you, in addition to being upset and disappointed, I would wonder about your son's debt load.
It sounds as if he is living an extremely extravagant lifestyle.
Given that he has yet to "make his mark," are all of his meals paid for by others?
Watch out -- he may start pushing more bills your way.
Dear Amy: A tip for people who hate being told to "smile!"
I had a (male) friend whose girlfriend once said, "Smile! It'll make you feel better."
He said, "No. It'll make YOU feel better."
Dear Lynne: Bam!