You have children. I don't. That's OK.
I'm not sure when I decided. I guess it was sometime in college. Or it was as I approached graduation with no viable male prospects to make a "Mrs." of me. I didn't want to follow the typical--or what seemed typical--pattern of the Southern girl: graduate, get married, have kids, be a stay-at-home mom. I felt "above" it all. But I wasn't. Because, as I later realized, there is no hierarchy of adult womanhood experiences.
Let me explain.
I went to a small, private, Christian, Southern college. There is a continuing joke that women attend this college in order to get their "Mrs. Degree." outwardly, I scoffed at this. Inwardly, I wondered if I would meet my future husband in the student center or the cafeteria or while crossing the nicely-manicured, grassy mall. When, after several unsuccessful relationships, I realized that wasn't going to happen, I convinced my husband-desiring self of a better life: one of urban living and post-graduate degrees.
And so, off to graduate school I went. In Syracuse, New York. Not exactly the urban jungle I longed for, but it was a new place to explore. Much to my surprise, I started dating and was soon engaged to a boy from back home. A boy who WAS moving to the land of my urban dreams: San Francisco.
But just because I was getting hitched, that didn't mean I was going to let myself become a mom too quickly. Discussing children was off the table until I turned 30, which is in less than a year.
During all of this time, as I've been moving around the country, earning degrees, and eventually settling happily into a job at financial start-up, I've watched so many other friends get married, have children, and become stay-at-home moms. And you know what I've realized? No one way of "doing life" is better than the next. Some of my friends have beautiful children, others are single and happy, and still others are pursuing rigorous careers or doctorate degrees (or both!). I think it's beautiful that we're all different.
Besides, if all of my friends had followed my same path, who would be there to give me advice when the time comes for me to have little ones?