Probably the most surreal experience I've been going through lately is that the people around me, people I consider to be in my age range, are starting to have kids by choice in their endeavor to start or grow their family. Now, objectively that doesn't sound weird. I was born in the 80s, it's now the 20-teens, and that means that even if I were born in 1990 I'd be 24 now, which is about wen that starts to happen (for those just turning 24, it starts with marriage and goes from there usually. Sometimes in reverse though.)
It's a strange feeling, and it hits at odd moments. For example, last night I was talking to my sister on the phone and while we were talking her five year old daughter was trying to do the "I'm not in bed because..." routine. Listening to my sister tell her daughter to get back in bed, listen to her music, and stay there just kind of hit me. I mean, at what point did that happen? I've never even conceived of my sister being on the parenting end of that conversation, and that is with her having had this beautiful girl for 5 years now.
That is my sister though. She's older than me, and she's always had her head screwed on straight and known what she wants - including a family. Where it really gets weird is that it is starting to happen with friends too.
It's in stages, it always is, but I have one pair of friends that are at the youngest stage but they look good enough together that I wouldn't be surprised to hear about wedding plans in the near future (and I'm fairly sure she'll be the one proposing) and honestly think it'd be a smart match for the pair of them. I have three other sets of friends who are happily married. Two of those couples are pregnant right now. And by right now I mean due dates within the next 4-5 months.
This doesn't effect me directly really, but it is still a weird thought. Before my next birthday one of my friends will have a new born baby. Already it's had some ramifications. One of the friends is no longer GMing a game in preparation for not having time as he'll be a dad. That doesn't change how weird it is to think that all of that is coming up.
And through it all, even if they're trying not to say anything, I can feel the eyes of my own family wondering when I'll be getting engaged/married. Perhaps one of the weirdest things of all is realizing that in what feels to be just a few short years from resigning myself to the fact I'd probably never have a long term relationship that I'm now in one that - depending on when you claim it started - is like 4-8 years long. So yeah, 'just a few years' ago that other thing happened.
It's strange though. I can't say that enough. I never pegged myself for growing up. Still not sure if I like it.