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What It’s Really Like to be 30 and Single

Posted Aug 04 2013 5:48pm

cat lady

The older you get and the more unattached you are, the more people will assume something is wrong with you. People meaning anyone. Single friends, married friends, parents, family, co-workers.

What are you doing wrong?

You’re dating the wrong people!

You’re not doing things the way they should be done.

Have you tried….

You know what you should do…

Perhaps it comes from a place of concern or worry. For what, I’m not so sure.  That I’ll never find happiness? That I’ll end up alone forever? That I won’t start a family? That I won’t get those sweet tax breaks from the government?

Mostly, I feel perhaps people projecting their own insecurities. If you’re single and THEY’RE single there must be a common denominator so the questions may SOUND like “What are you doing wrong?” but what they really mean is “What are WE doing wrong?”. If they’re in a relationship and they have questions they haven’t been able to ask themselves, perhaps they can ask you to get their own answers. “What do you see in him? When was the last time you had sex? Do you even want kids? Did you ever imagine your wedding?” If it’s your Mom….she just seriously wants grandkids and wants to stop pretending your dog is a baby.

I’m not doing anything wrong nor is something wrong with me and I can’t be the only one who feels this way. And I’m also kind of tired of feeling like it. I’m living my life as honest, fun and good as I can. I’m not sitting up at night wondering “where it all went wrong!”   I know exactly where things went wrong. It’s not some crazy unsolved mystery. That’s why I’m an adult and a human being and I’m allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. And like anyone who has friends and family that love them, your journey will NEVER ever go without ridicule, scrutiny and criticism. Not only do I question my own decisions, I know without fail, someone else will too.

A common trend I see among the Singles, is your relationship status will always be up for discussion. Even when you’re not in the room. I can’t imagine if the roles were reversed, asking newly weds “Are you guys SURE you should be having kids so soon?”  ”Are you really going to move to the burbs?” “Do you really think that car is the best to start a family with?”

If they want kids right away and they want to live in the sticks, that is seriously none of my business.  Because they’re making choices and decisions that is best suited for their lives. Single people do not get the same luxury of making choices without question.

As if being single has less value of decision making because you’re the only one you have to worry about. Clearly, I must be confused. When I wanted to move to New York and started looking at apartments and jobs, I was met with “what are you running away from?” “why would you pick up and leave all your friends and family?” “You’re gonna have a really hard time there”.

No journey goes without question.

That’s not the issue I have with being single and making my own choices. It’s this crazy paradox we carry as Singles. You’re viewed as weak because you’re unable to find a partner and ‘move on to the next part of your life’. AND…..here’s the important part…. you’re viewed as being very strong because you CAN do things alone, which leaves you open to the firing squad of scrutiny, because you can totally take it, right?. This is the part I have an issue with. I’m not stronger or weaker because I’m alone. I live day by day, just like the next human.

But Dez, I’ve heard you talking about being alone and not enjoying it. I’ve heard you complain about being single.

Yep. You’ve definitely heard it.

I’m not a fugg’n robot. It is absolutely hard being alone. But it’s not harder than being with someone who isn’t right for you.  Or knowing you still want to figure out what you’re all about before jumping into a relationship.

Venting and complaining is something that comes with the territory of friendship. It’s in every single Friendship Agreement. You will share feelings with each other.  As is waiting for the rebuttal from friends, however harsh it may be.  So if I vent about a bad date or a lonely night… it is met with a ‘fix it’. You know, the suggestions you need to fix things immediately.  We live in a ‘FIX IT NOW’ generation. We have the technology to do so, so why not?

Because you’re cheating yourself of the experience of growing and learning from it. Feel all the feels, my friend.

Depressed? TAKE THESE MEDS!

New guy is being weird? DUMP HIM.

My marriage is harder than I thought. DIVORCE!

My body isn’t the same when I was 19. SURGERY!

Life doesn’t always have to be hard, but not everything has to be solved immediately. Sometimes you just have to ‘heal it out’. Find what issues are deemed worthy of your personal analysis and go for it. Learn what you can be comfortable with and accept the things that do not come naturally. Embrace. No matter how long it takes. I would never want to compromise my ability of becoming emotionally mature. That is what makes things easier to deal with in the long run.

For instance if your married friend was just venting about how her husband can’t pick up his socks, or he’s bad at listening or how much she can’t stand his mother. You are not going to question her past choices “Are you sure you married the right guy?”

Because she’s venting, dummy. You can’t make her second guess all of her past choices that led up to this moment of frustration. She’s just letting it out…like a normal human being.

But again, not always a luxury Single people get to enjoy. God forbid you vent about anything related to dating. “You have really poor choice in men, you should try….” “When are you gonna learn?” “You should’ve never done that thing you did 6 months ago…”

I won’t undersell marriage. It’s a huge lifetime commitment and is the right choice for so many people. But it is a choice, that you deemed would work well in your life. Regardless of how others felt. You did what was right for you, AMEN!  Just like any of my choices to grow, love and learn. Being alone is a choice, at least for me.

And don’t let anyone tell you which issues you should work on. You figure that shit out on your own. If you’re in tune with your mind and body, you ALREADY know what you have to work on. Of course, take it into consideration. I mean, it is usually coming from someone who cares about you.  Take heed on any type of substance/alcohol abuse issue  or something life threatening.

Because you DO have to be extra tough to deal with the fact that people may not understand your choices. Being single (as a choice) isn’t treated as an ‘alternate way of living’ or at least it’s not for women. You DO have to listen to endless amounts of unsolicited advice. That isn’t Single specific, but it’s just one of the many variables we encounter.

Myths about being 30 and Single:

- You’re out bang’n a bunch of people and don’t want to settle down.

- You’re traveling the world looking to bang a bunch of people because you don’t want to settle down.

- You’re sad a lot.

- You’re main objective is to look for a partner.

- You have 100 cats. (this one is only half false)

- You hate happy people and married couples.

- You hate not having  ’Plus One’ on wedding invites.

- You have a drinking problem.

- You stay home alone a lot.

Inaccurate, all of them. Being single is NOT a free pass to bang everything with a pulse. Sure, that’s one of the appeals of being unattached, the ability to make a physical and sexual connection with whom ever you like, and you certainly can! But even I know sex with love is way better. Also, my day does not consist of planning my life around finding my newest partner.  We do not in fact, hate happy couples. In fact, that is a very good sign to see successful happy couples around. We’re not all bitter mutant ninja turtles (that’s what I like to call my cynical single friends). We like being happy! We like being around happy people!

- The whole bed and ALL the covers.

- Saying yes to everything you get invited to.

- Spur of the moment….everything.

- Sometimes, you gotta go grocery shopping at 7am or 9pm because no one is going to get your food for you.

- Going to weddings alone. BUT being able to stay super late and dance will the wee hours because there is no ‘honey, i’m tired can we go?’

- Pets. When you’re the sole person in a pet’s life, you are their everything.

- Financial emergencies, and no one there to help you.

- ER visits, all 400 of them, are mostly done alone.

- Never being afraid to go out alone, ever.

- Going out to dinner at that new place no one wants to go to. Getting the weird looks, but ordering another glass of wine anyway.

- Putting your name and your name alone on presents you searched and paid for.

- Eating nachos in bed watching the millionth Sex and the City rerun.

- Being absolutely and horribly bored.

- Not being invited to couple’s outings.

- MAYBE developing a little bit of a drinking problem? But as long as you wake up in your own bed, amirite?

- Walking and public transit….everywhere. Sucks.

- Taking your cat to the vet because you’re the only one who can.

- No one to talk you out of your 3rd leather fringe jacket purchase.

- Discovering a new hobby and finding out you’re really good at it.

- Being the only single person at almost every event.

- ‘Seeing anyone?’ Always comes before ‘So what do you do for a living?’

- ‘You still single?’ The question you will hear from Nana every time you call her.

- Unsolicited advice from anyone and anything, anywhere, any time and always.

- Christmas time…is very hard.

- Yes, sometimes you do get lonely.

- Being solid with who you are, haters be damned.

Awhile ago, when my wedding was no more and I made the choice to move on (after the pain subsided) to chin up and on to better things and new adventures. My best friend told me something that I will never forget. ‘I admire you. For not giving into the pressure of getting married or staying with the person who wasn’t right for you. All your friends around you were getting married but you still never felt like you had to follow suit.’ She went on to commend me for not being afraid to take a risk in hopes of a brighter future. And for not settling for something that wasn’t for me. That is how I will continue to live my life, regardless how much scrutiny I endure, which is more than enough. That’s really the hard part: You’ve accepted to be yourself whole-heartedly, now others just have to learn to accept that too.

I like crying it out in the privacy of my own apartment. I like over analyzing my thoughts about why I did what and when and how. I like being sad when I have to be. I like being happy and celebrate the good things in life. I like not having to explain myself or feel like I need to justify my actions to anyone. I’m a good person with a good heart and I trust I do the right things. Ok, SOMETIMES I get in trouble, but that’s not too bad. The hell, I’m learning too. Being single nor being married means we’ve figure out our lives. Or even that we’ve figure out THIS part of our lives. I’ll never understand the judgement bestowed upon people who are all just trying to figure it out. We’re all learning, we’re all in a new phase of learning at every moment of our lives. It’s like yelling at a baby because they haven’t figured out 2+2 yet.  They haven’t experienced their lessons and mistakes yet to understand 2+2! And seriously, don’t yell at babies. Then you’re just the assh— that yells at babies.

Being single is a journey all it’s own, as is being 30. So now I have to do both at the same time. Double edged sword, perhaps. You’re on a path of self discovery and maybe it’s a blessing that I get to to do it all alone. I don’t have to have a partner to influence or compromise my decisions. I can be purely me, every day, all day.

And for me right now in my life, that’s the right choice.

TL; DR: Being 30 and single is awesome AND it sucks sometimes. Just be yourself and let the haters hate.


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