There's pressure to get married.
"Growing up, I had always expected to find the person I'd want to marry when I was in college. After I graduated and realized that is nowhere near on the horizon, I had a hard time adjusting to the notion that I didn't find *the one*. It's been a few years now, but I've come to really enjoy taking time for me and not placing added pressure on myself by having to find someone to spend the rest of my life with. I'm still young; I have a lot of time ahead of me. Why should I have to feel that I need to be married now and that I have to have kids in the next five years?"
There's pressure to have babies.
"I am currently feeling an extreme amount of pressure to have a baby!
"I'm 24 and have been married for four years. It feels like the questions are nonstop, no matter how many times my husband and I say we're both going to finish college first! It makes me feel like I'm living my life incorrectly because I'm not fitting into the ideas other people have for me.
"I try to remind myself every day that I'm living MY life, and the only 'checkpoints' I have to hit are ones set by ME. It's definitely a daily struggle."
So much pressure to have babies.
"I'm nearing 30, and I'm in a long-term relationship, which means — you guessed it! — I get asked about whether or not we want to have kids allllll the time. When I say that we don't, people either try to argue with me (???) or they insist I'll 'change my mind.' Honestly? This used to bother me a lot. But as I work on other enriching things in my life, like mentorship programs and volunteering at animal shelters, the outside pressure to have kids I don't want feels less urgent. There are other ways to express my nurturing side in the world and other ways to enrich the lives of other people!"
There's the pressure to get married and have babies.
“I feel the age pressure every time someone asks me if my boyfriend and I will get married — which, first of all, that is a VERY personal question, casual acquaintance! But even though I'm 30 and should be thinking about getting on with the whole marriage/children thing, I feel at my core that I'm just not concerned and that my own pace is great. So I've come up with a catch-all answer for those ‘So when are you doing the thing?’ questions — and it's ‘We're on a path. Now let's talk about YOU.’ Because people love to talk about themselves."
And if those twin pressures weren't enough — add homeownership!
"At 32, I feel the weight of expectations that by now I would have been married, had a few kids, be living in my own home with a college degree, and with good credit history. I have NONE of those things...and I'm happy."
—Natalie Christina Strong, Facebook
There are a lot of "shoulds" out there.
"Being in a long-term relationship in my mid-twenties and being pressured to 'marry' or to 'have kids'...like, maybe we don’t want to do any of those things? I stopped listening to the 'shoulds' a long time ago."
But the good news is there's plenty of time.
"Feeling the pressure to live under everyone else’s timelines — moving out of your parents' home, getting an ace career, meeting the one, having a family, you name it. Just because I don’t do things in the ‘right’ order or choose the ‘conventional’ path doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or that I can’t be happy or successful. People need different things at different times to blossom into their best version.
"I wish more people could understand (truly understand) that everyone is different and think and feel in their own way. I’m 28, I work hard, love hard, enjoy life, and trust that I will end up where I’m meant to be in my own time."
Trust yourself and make your own path.
"Growing up, I remember my family saying that if a woman wasn't married by the time she turned 30, she would either have to 'settle' or become an old maid. Now I'm very single and 29 years old. I'm also the maid of honor in my much younger sister's upcoming wedding this summer. In fact, the wedding is exactly three months to the day before I turn 30. (My sister is 23.) But I'm both happy FOR my sister AND happy with my own life! I have a cool job, live in a fabulous city, have a tight-knit group of amazing friends, do a ton of meaningful volunteer work, am a fur mom to a sweet rescue cat, travel a ton, and have time to pursue my own interests. Most importantly, I've learned that you don't need a partner to have a full, happy life!"
Because you get to define what comes next.
"I wondered for most of my twenties if I would meet the 'right person,' though I always felt at ease and confident that I could and would make my own happiness with or without a partner. Now, at 32, I am married to exactly the right person. And now that people have started to ask us about children and 'what's next?', we join together in agreeing and gently reminding them that we're exactly where we want to be and 'what's next' is for us to decide and share in our own time."
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.
It’s tough out there for us ladies, but we have the power to overcome and define our own stories. What pressure have you felt, and how do you rise above it? Join these women and SK-II in telling the world #INeverExpire!
Thumbnail images courtesy of Getty.