Babies are awesome. They poop all over the place and cry when they don’t have boobs in their mouth. But, seriously, the opportunity to watch an infant grow up is quite miraculous. What’s truly amazing is how fast newborns learn. The last time I was around a kid that young I was seven watching my sister turn into a person. I barely remember that.
This time around I have the fortune of watching a good friend’s child grow from a blob of barely conscious to a real person. What I miss in between monthly visits, I catch in short clips posted to YouTube. Yes, he has his own Facebook page. At six months old, he recognizes faces and smiles when you smile at him. He’s just beginning to crawl. Everyday he does and learns something new.
For parents and anyone who spends time around kids, this comes as no surprise. Yet what amazes me more is how much kids can grow and change in the span of just six months. When we become adults, six months is nothing. But at the same time were aging all the same.
Now 30, I check my face in the mirror daily to examine any new lines. At 20 I recall looking into the mirror one drunken night and not recognizing myself. The past nine years that same woman has stared me down each morning, yet a few fine lines have appeared in her forehead. The corners of my eyes are still wrinkle-free, knock on wood, and I’m told I look young and “have good skin” – whatever that means. Still, one can’t avoid aging. It’s happening. And every six months that pass are another six months where I could be learning and growing in a healthy, positive way, or one that’s not so positive. The change is inevitable.
I’d like to start examining my life in six-month spans instead of years. A business is measured quarterly and years just seem to allow too much time to pass before reflection. The year as a unit of measure hurts us because, if we’re lucky, we’ll have about 100 of them, with many of those years before or after our brain is successfully serving up and processing information while our bodies can move at our leisure. That isn’t a lot of time. Right now, I have 2-3 years until I have my first kid. I’d rather think of this as 4 to 6 half years. What do I need to accomplish in those 4 to 6 half years? It’s less frightening to think of time in this measure. At least personally.
I think it’s harder as a woman in business (specifically one who is considering having children) as this majorly effects one’s career roadmap and planning. Clearly women can be very successful in business and have children. But men don’t have to worry about having kids until their late 30s or early 40s, if they don’t want to. But as a female, just when I’m starting to establish a serious career in my early 30s, I need to think about pausing to have kids. Yes, I can take the minimum amount of time off that is covered and hop back into the work world, but do I really want that? What’s more, as women tend to make less than men, it’s much harder to save money, and the time off to have kids doesn’t help.
In any case, I figure I have four to six more “six month” spans of time before kids. That’s four to six opportunities to build my career and get myself to a place where I can consult later in life if needed or have more flexibility. Needless to say, I’m freaking out. As usual. But probably more.