On December 12, I will turn 29 years old. One year away from 30.
Back when I was a confused 21-year-old with an underdeveloped brain, I pledged to myself that I would be making six figures by the time I was 30. I was going to be the head of some huge company or have my first book published.
Then I got older, and I got a little more realistic, and my priorities changed.
Now, as I reach 30, what I really want is a child.
But my husband Danny and I know that it would be completely irresponsible to start trying to have a child now.
Danny and I are both artists with debt to our names. We have been at our careers for a while — I’m a writer and run the site Jewess, while Danny is a stand-up comedian and podcast host — but we haven’t seemed to crack that financial code where we can comfortably live in LA and save money.
In short, we’re broke millennials.
While some people can go to school for four years and start making a decent income straight away, we don’t have that luxury. The cliché is true: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
LA is one of the most expensive cities in the country, but for our careers, we have to be here. It’s either here or New York, and we tried that. We were way worse off there.
Sometimes we fantasize about moving to Phoenix or Las Vegas, where huge houses rent for less than $2,000 a month and we could maybe even save up and buy something in a few years.
And then I think about how few opportunities I would have to meet important people, and how nobody there is in my industry. I know it would be a huge loss. Plus, I love the weather in LA, we have lots of friends here, and, as Orthodox Jews, we can thrive. There are many synagogues and kosher restaurants.
What comes with all those things, however, is very expensive rent, and we have to live with roommates to afford our home. In fact, throughout the seven years Danny and I have been together, we’ve always had roommates. I enjoy having less rent to pay as well as never being alone in the house, but I don’t want some creepy person from Craigslist renting a room from us when we have a little baby running around.
LA is expensive for pretty much everyone here, and when you add in the costs of kosher food, a home in a Jewish neighborhood (which starts at $1 million where I live), synagogue donations, and the ever-lingering threat of having to pay our kids’ Jewish school education one day, it gets to be pretty overwhelming.
Whenever I bring up all these issues to family members or rabbis or people in my community, they all say that a baby brings blessing. We will be OK.
I am religious; however, I am also a realist, and I know that God won’t just put thousands of dollars in my bank account when I get pregnant. I have to do at least half the work to get there.
I’ve known people in our position who’ve had kids, and they’re struggling to pay for their children. They are miserable. Their marriages are torn apart by it. Danny is the most important person in the world to me, and I don’t want having a kid with him to end up being a negative thing.
So, for now, we wait.
I have to keep in mind that it’s only an imaginary pressure I’ve been putting on myself to get pregnant before 30. If it happens at 31, or 32, and I don’t have so much debt, and I’m mentally and emotionally in a better place, isn’t that the dream?
As for now, I’ll keep feeling those butterflies in my gut when I see a mother at my synagogue with her newborn baby. I’ll feel so warm in my chest when I see a father pushing his little girl in a stroller.
I’ll also feel hurt that I can’t yet have that, but I know that with some faith and hard work, I’ll get there.