Thirty, Single and Thriving
Two weeks ago on my birthday, I got the usual phone call I get every year from my Grandmother – “do you have good news for me?” she asks, and usually I respond with – “I have so much good news, just not what you want to hear.” This year though, I just gave up and told her that I don’t, because really there is no point. I then proceeded to listen to her ramble on about how she prays for me every day to find a “good Jewish husband”, one that does nothing but study the Torah all day. And as tempting as that is, I just found the whole conversation completely ridiculous and could barely stop myself from bursting out laughing.
Now, while I understand that her opinion is very ancient and she comes from a primitive generation, I still feel like my happiness shouldn’t be scaled by my single status. And while the consensus has been changing over the past decade, and most people don’t share her out-look, there are still too many people that pity those who are “alone”. It is still frowned upon if you reach a certain age and still aren’t married. And while most of the time it may not be spoken aloud, there is still a sense of shame to admit that I don’t even have a boyfriend.
For a long time I allowed myself to feel that shame and feel bad about it, I even convinced myself that I want and need one, that without one I could never be truly happy. But with time I understood that I was lying to myself, and that was even worse than society creating the consensus to begin with. It would have been one thing if I really felt that way, but I didn’t – I still don’t. My life is filled with so many things – writing, drawing, friends, family, traveling and more. And while a boyfriend would be nice at times, I haven’t felt like I truly wanted or needed one in a very long time.
One of the first questions I am always asked is something along the lines of “are you single?” or, “are you married? Do you have a boyfriend?” like the answer to those questions defines me in any way, or can tell the person asking something about me. And the questions only get worse with people that hear and know that both my sisters are married +2. And I will admit that for a while, it was a sore spot, and I would allow it to crack me. Voices in the back of my head would constantly ask – why me?
For a while, I would allow myself to wallow, to wonder what is wrong with me – why am I the single one? Why can’t I also find a good husband? Why am I so unlovable? I went on so many dates, chasing after something I convinced myself I couldn’t be happy without. I would allow the failure of those dates and short-lived relationships to affect my self-worth, to convince me that I will never find someone who could be with me.
After every new failure I would rack my brain for what I did wrong, for what I needed to change in myself so I didn’t continue to fail and scare away the men. Eventually I just convinced myself that I don’t want, and will never want to get married – and I really, fully believed it. Because why allow myself to want something that I was convinced and doubtlessly believed I couldn’t have. It was just a recipe for disaster – in all outcomes.
Luckily though, I am not one to allow myself to wallow for too long, or let anything or anyone make me feel weak and worthless. So I started working hard to get that nonsense out of my head. I would remind myself of all the good things in my life, of everything I had that made me happy. I would focus on doing the things that brought me joy and fulfillment, and instead of fixating on non-existent flaws and faults, I directed my energy to everything I loved about myself – why I wasn’t to blame for my dates not working out.
I strongly believe that my relationship status has nothing to do with who I am, at least not in the “normal way” of thinking. What it does say about me, is that I am a strong independent woman, who doesn’t need a relationship to be happy. I love my freedom and space, that I don’t owe anything to anyone. And while I can finally admit that I do want to find someone to spend “the rest of my life with” – and that I know that I am worthy – I am whole and happy with who I am regardless of my relationship status.
While I do feel like it would be nice to have a partner every so often, more times than not, I prefer my single life and cherish it. As a single woman I feel like I have so many more opportunities spread out for me, because I don’t have someone else to consider while making life changing decisions – like moving to London for example.
I don’t have anyone nagging me, or someone I constantly need to update about my whereabouts, and best of all – I get to keep my precious quiet time to myself without feeling bad. And if I ever need companionship – I have so many other platonic relationships – like the ones with my different family members and best friends, that fill me up more than any romantic relationship ever did.
If someone comes along, and it feels right to be with him, I won’t send him away for the sake of being single. But the fact is, that so far there hasn’t been anyone who is worth it. And my life is so good, and I love it, and I will only change my status for someone who will make it even better, not for just anyone.
There are pros and cons to each side, and neither is significantly better or worse – but right now my reality is, that I am single and have yet to find someone worth changing that. So instead of floundering over it, I choose to look at the positive side of it, and embrace it. I choose me. Because I may be thirty and single, and I may not have kids, but my life is no less better because of it.
Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.– Carrie Bradshaw
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