Because of our current family situation (me living in Denver, Jason living in Phoenix), we've had to delay expanding our family. And I've actually started to panic about this, because Cyrus is a whole 15 months old and I'm not pregnant again! (Another norm in Mormon culture - when child A turns 1, mom should become pregnant shortly thereafter). And I'm almost 30! And we want to have four kids! And I'm so old!
And then, last Thursday, everything came back into perspective for me. For the past three months, I have been attending a Stroller Strides class here in Denver. On Thursday night, a few of us got together for dinner and some time away from babies. All of these moms have infants, most of whom are younger than Cyrus. Throughout the course of the evening, I discovered that, not only was I the youngest mom there, but I was the youngest by quite a few years - in some cases, a full 10. And, not only did these women all have young children, but most were still planning to have more.
Huh. Oh yeah... As far as the rest of society is concerned, I am still young. I'm not this ancient, time-waster who waited too long to start my family.
Before I joined the church, and, truthfully, before I started dating Jason, I really thought that I wouldn't even get married until I was 28 or 30, and who knew when I would have kids. But being around all of these young Mormon moms made me forget that there are lots of ways to live life. Sometimes, I do wish that I had been able to start my family earlier, but that just wasn't in the cards for us. I wasn't in a place to get married, much less have kids at 21 or 23 - that just wasn't me.
There are lots of things I like about belonging to a community where people follow similar paths. It makes a lot of things easier, especially when many of those paths are not followed by mainstream society. (Abstaining from alcohol and coffee, for example). But, as I've recently realized, it is important to have my social circle extend beyond this community, if for no other reason then to help me maintain a broader perspective on the different ways that life can be lived.