The Real Halloween Scare Is My Biological Clock

I don’t seek out thrills like haunted houses or scary movies or campfire horror stories because if I wanted to inflict unnecessary pain on myself, I’d hold Mom’s spot in a quickly moving Costco checkout line as she goes to find the cheese Danishes. Or I’d leave myself alone in the dark with my thoughts. Or eat spicy food. Any effort toward self-torment is superfluous.

It’s hard to be fazed by floating white sheets or glowing Jack-o-Lanterns when the terrifying concept of the biological clock women bear already exists. Recently, presumably to get into the spirit of Halloween, someone brought up, in conversation, the scariest thing I’d heard all season. He said it was irresponsible to (and that he would never) get someone over the age of 25 pregnant due to increasing genetic risks, regardless of technological advancement. I turn 22 October 14th.

Me: I’m… disturbed.

Him: Why?

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Besides the fact that he’d basically said I have a shelf life of three years? Men can remain fertile until they’re 60, so he’ll just have kids at 32, no biggie. Tough luck to women coming out of college who’ll be going on 23.

I recognize the absurdity in thinking about when I expire and see a restock of “fresher” goods that’re older than I am right now (25 vs. 22.) But I didn’t need more fuel to the internal dumpster fire of my feeling already like I’m running out of time. I haven’t even really considered whether kids will have a place in my life, and apparently even egg freezing isn’t something to bank on.

Again, it’s obviously valid for someone to prioritize having children. I don’t know whether that’s my goal, but “not knowing” possibly won’t be my luxury to have. So to come to terms with this mess, I’ve been thinking about what else I can contribute, because it certainly may not be my child-rearing.

Brainstorm of What I Offer Beyond My Breeding Potential

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  • I eat the soggy fries.

It’s a gift to share fries with me. For floppy, soft McDonald’s fries, I have an even softer spot in my heart. This is my most appreciated form of service.

  • My relationships.

Without my unsolicited affection, Cat would lose exercise from slipping out of my hugs. As for humans, Mom and I are unnervingly close, and she’s expended a significant amount of energy into raising me to be this brand of stupid. I’ve increasingly been supporting and showing up for my friends. I flourish in one-on-one conversations and am (hopefully) a good listener.

  • I try not to waste leftovers.

One of my rare redeeming qualities is that I’ll take the things no one wants, which sometimes gets stupid. You know how people check the eggs for defects before they buy a carton? Once, I took a carton other shoppers had left behind because of a single cracked egg. I felt dumb when I got home but also like I’d taken one for the team, and also like this was why I’m going to die early.

  • I’m great at staying in the moment.

I.e., I’m skilled at being tired all day and then putting off sleep at night because I want to stay present and not fall unconscious, even if that continues a cycle of pointless exhaustion.

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  • I value being understood and seen.

All I want, ultimately, is to be understood and to be seen by others. To really know and be known by someone else. So if I sense someone else shares this struggle or need for expression, I’m there for them. For writers, especially, I’ve worked (and work) on many projects to advance creative causes.

  • I experience more than my fair share of bizarre moments.

I guess this list is themed “taking one for the team.” Once, at TSA, I was searched for having flyers in my luggage—neither of the others with me, who were also carrying flyers, had been stopped—and then complimented for my packing skills. My teammate then said it seemed like these sorts of misadventures only happened to me. You get the energy you put out, I suppose, and if not me, then who? At least some readers can get a kick out of the stories.

  • Sometimes I compulsively organize for people.

Pointless organization is my forte. Sugar packets, someone’s laundry, the bread shelves at the food pantry I volunteered at—happy to not really help that much but feel at peace from it.

  • I’m always getting better.

While I consider myself more of an “okay” person than a good person, I’ve always thought I could be better. Every year I find more passionate, good, kind-hearted people who teach me how to grow into someone I’ll be proud of.

  • And if nothing else…

I’ll do my part for population control and be done with it. Sue me.

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Also, I decided my goal is to have this humor blog show up when you search “funny blogs to read when bored and on the toilet.” I will also accept “popular personal blogs to read” or “sarcastic blogs about life.” Thus, I’m including all of these phrases at the bottom of every post until at least one comes true.

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