Dear 100 Hour Board,
I need to know if anyone else feels this way and what positive ways of thinking I could replace this with.
I'm graduated and single. I can't predict when I'll get married but there's a chance I might serve a mission which would mean not soon. And I feel like I'm wasting time or missing out. Specifically, I feel like I'm missing out on years that I could have been married and I feel like I'm missing out on having sex. If I don't get married until I'm 40 or something then that's a long time that I won't have had with a spouse and with a romantic relationship. I don't want the part of my life where I'm the most attractive (pre-slowed down metabolism and wrinkles), where my sex drive is the most active, and where there's less stress about having kids bc I'm close to or past 32 (where female fertility drops a lot), etc. to be spent alone. If I don't get married until I'm 30 (about 5 years away and if I serve, more like 3 years of actually looking to date and marry) then I'll really feel like I need to start trying for kids right away instead of getting some time with my spouse and then having kids. I've heard that sometimes after people are doing better after serious mental illness that they still feel upset about the years they lost to mental illness. And I'm scared I'm going to feel that way when I get married. I already feel that way. Yes, I traveled. Yes, I got my education. Yes, I have a job I like. Yes, I can randomly go out with friends or plan trips with them. But I have wanted to get married since I was a teenager. I want a romantic relationship. I want to have sex before I'm 50. I want to be able to spend some time with my spouse before having kids. I want a best friend that I can be happily married to. And I'm just getting older while others are getting married. What do I do?
-somewhat small and very sad
I want to assure you that your sex drive and ability to enjoy sex will still be around even when you're old. I've heard plenty of women say their sex drive actually increased in their 30s, and there are a lot of studies showing that senior citizens are having sex more frequently and more enjoyably than any other group. Don't think that your sex life is going to be lame once you're past your 20s. It's just not true.
I do totally understand wanting to have time with your spouse before you have kids. However, I think it's worth pointing out that you don't know that you would have gotten that even if you were married at 19. For all you know, you could have had a honeymoon baby by accident. You could have been married for less than a year and then gotten the impression to have a baby even though you still had two years left in college and that seemed like a crazy idea *cough cough*. Maybe you would have had that time with your spouse that you wanted, but then didn't have children until your 30s anyways because of infertility, health issues, or financial trouble. It's very easy to think of ways that your "ideal" life could have turned out. However, even if one aspect of your ideal life came true, other things would go completely different from what you planned.
This advice likely seems cliche and insufficient, but I really do believe that the best thing to do is to focus on the aspects of your life that you are grateful for, and to cultivate more of those. It's okay to spend some time validating your feelings of missing out on good life experiences, but don't let that get out of balance.
As the Board's most avid proponent of embracing single life, my gut feeling is that you shouldn't serve a mission and should focus on dating and finding a compatible life partner. Hold my root beer, kids, you might not get this from me ever again.
If I'm reading your question correctly, you're 25 and female, you have a degree and a career, and you want to be married and have kids.
Then go for it. Make a dating profile, say you're looking for a serious relationship and don't have kids but want them, discuss your future plans with the men you go out with, find that sexual and emotional and social connection you crave.
I'm over society telling women that the plan you have scoped out here is something that "just happens" because that's malarkey. Serving a mission would indeed mean that you would miss out on prime dating years. Your concerns about fertility and skincare are somewhat overblown, but the crux of your question comes down to living a life that makes you happy.